Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Trends for 2008

As the end of 2007 is approaching, we see consumer trends popping up everywhere. Some interesting -and less interesting- marco and micro trends from Adage. Meet the Renaissance Marketer and learn about the Brand Swarm.

Read all about it on

Monday, December 17, 2007


Tomorrow, Music for Life will start officially, when 3 radio announcers of Studio Brussel will lock themselves up for 6 days in a glazed house in Leuven. Just like last year, the action is for the benefit of the Red Cross. This year, Music for Life is fighting for potable water for everyone. What is the success recipe behind Music for Life?

Read all about it in this week's column.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sao Paulo

A new EU-regulation concerning advertising was voted last week. The regulation stipulated that programs can only contain 12 minutes of advertising an hour and certain programs towards children or movies and informative programs can only be interrupted once in half an hour. In Sao Paulo, the city mayor decided in a new 'clean city' law that as of January, all outdoor advertising needs to be removed. The regulations are there to protect consumers against an endless offer of advertising.
In Belgium, the existence of the JEP (Jury of honest and ethical actions in advertising) was questioned last week. It is my opinion that there is still a future for JEP, however it needs to evolve with our society.

Read all about it in this week's column.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Generation M

After the babyboomers, generation X and generation Y, the first signs of a new generation arise. This generation is born after 1989 and is the first generation that to be born with the internet. From SMS generation to generation M for millenium, mobile, multi-media, Msn, multi-tasking or even Mega Mindy. This generation knows what they want and they want it 'right here, right now'.

Read all about it in this week's column.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wii would like to play

As Christmas-time is approaching, a few of you might recognize themselves when I tell you my children want a Wii-console for Christmas.
Like the iPod a few years ago (or was it last year?), the Wii is expected to become one of the end-of-the year hits, on top of all child’s wishlist.

But don’t be surprised if your sprouts aren’t the only ones who want a Wii. Adults love it as well. Video-gaming doesn’t only appeal to children, as you already know. It is though remarkable how Nintendo achieved to fulfill the needs of casual gamers (which, in contrast to “hardcore” gamers, play in series of short time slices, though we all know how addictive games like Tetris or brain training can be)
But with the Wii, Nintendo went a step further than just casual gaming: with its motion sensing controller, the gaming experience is more intense. By making crazy movements, console-gaming has become more fun. The the Wii sets up a social experience and connects people in front of the telly, probably reflected in its slogan “Wii would like to play”.

The Wii widened the market for videogames: in contrast to the other consoles, which appeal to a rather male audience, the Wii’s customer demographics are equally female and male (while only 11% of the PlayStation 3 users are female). Not surprising, giving recent study by Information Solutions Group (ISG) that 76% casual gamers are female.
It is thus time that marketing managers realize that females are entering the main stream gaming market, and remove the babes section on gamers websites or promo-girls disguised in Lara Croft.

So don’t be surprised, if your parents show up a little more often at home to play with their grandsons and daughters around the Wii.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


How to explain the following paradox: consumer confidence is decreasing, confidence of entrepreneurs is up. Who's right? And how to explain this? Will the mortgage crisis in the US affect European economies and are we heading for a recession? Some pertinent questions, where it's important not to jump to conclusions.

Read all about it in this week's column.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Now the book

The readers of this blog have already noticed the announcement of my new book 'Het Merk Mens'. The book describes the paradoxes we find in our society today. Like a BMW on the parking lot of the discount supermarket Aldi, adult women over their 50ies riding a Harley Davidson or grand children learning their grand parents to surf on the net.

Fo more information on the book, go to or read this week's column.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Copernicus is dead

At the end of this month, the 26th Marketing Congress of Stichting Marketing takes place in Ghent. Topic this year is 'Marketing in a flat world'. How do brands have to behave in a global and ever connected world? The more global the world is, the more we appreciate local touches. Brands like Mc Donald's or Pampers have understood this and behave upon it.
Read all about it in this week's column.

Fons van Dyck is keynote speaker on the congress on Friday 30 November.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Tomeke tomeke

The most popular Dutch dictionary, het Van Dale Groot woordenboek van de Nederlandse taal, took up TomTom as a synonym for navigation system.
Just like Bic and Google, TomTom becomes a generic term for what it stands for. A brand’s dream! Certainly when you know that it is expected that the number of portable navigation systems in Europe and North-America will grow with more than 100% at the end of 2007. TomTom is worldwide market leader in this segment.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Last week, the Flemish newspapers reported on a study of In Petto, the Flemish Youth instance, and the VUB. The research investigated the degree to which Flemish youngsters find themselves happy. It was remarkable to see which finding of the study was highlighted. Some focused on the positive aspects, others titled the more dark side of our youngsters. It is clear that black and white is not inherent to our information age and nuances are demanded. Also characteristic of the information age is that no subject is left uninvestigated, which permits us to be better prepared then ever.

Read all about it in this week's column.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Marketing rocks

The music industry is clearly reinventing itself. Recently, Radiohead decided to sell his new album only on the Internet (see also below). Even more remarkable was the fact that people could decide themselves how much they paid for the album. The other 3 'historical' P's defined by Philip Kotler -place, product and promotion- also ask for a new approach in the Internet age.

Read all about it in this week's column.

T-shirt in a Bottle

Coke is making t-shirts out of recycled plastics. To make fabric, plastic bottles are shredded, distressed and turned into polyester thread. This fabric is turned into a T-shirt with little branding other than a small, red Coca-Cola tab on the bottom of the right seam.“We envision a world in which our packaging is no longer seen as a waste, but as a resource for future use”, according to Kelli Sogar, Coke’s licensing merchandise manager. With this effort, The Coca-Cola Co. approaches to the trend of invisible branding and Social Responsibilty of Business.

Source: Advertising Age

Monday, October 22, 2007

ALDI informs

An honest relationship is a solid basis for a good relationship. That is what Aldi must have thought when it started communicating about the expected price increases. For a company that is characterized as silent and closed, this is at least a remarkable action. Aldi first communicated in Germany, then in the Netherlands and last Friday, Aldi published an ad in some newspapers in Belgium announcing some price reductions as well as 'price increases if we really have to'. A positive act for the brand or not?

Read all about it in this week's column.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Benjamin R. Barber has published a new book called 'Consumed' or translated in Dutch 'de Infantiele Consument'.
In the book, consumer capitalism is under fire. Key thesis is that modern consumer society constantly creates artificial needs and makes consumers 'kidults', who prefer easy, simple and fast things. Is this a correct interpretation or too black and white?

Read all about it in this week's column.

JEP Campaign

Last week, the “Jury for ethical practices” (JEP), launched a campaign to promote its own body. Are these messages relevant for consumers? And do all consumers know JEP?

Building a b(r)and

Last week, rock band Radiohead released their latest album on the internet. Nothing new, except that fans have a lot to say in the purchase process: each decides how much he or she is willing to pay for it. A precedent in the music industry.

The music industry's business model is changing. The drop in revenue coming from records (whether be it from material or unmaterial formats) needs to be compensated by increased revenues from touring, sponsoring, merchandising... Ringtones can help, but also more "creative" ways have been developed to extort money out of the fans: during live performances, a band requested its teenage crowd to call a specific number with their mobiles so they could get a video of themselves at that performace and share it...

Apparently, new ways have emerged to milk cash out of the fans. However, it still remains unclear how the whole business model should be re-conceived. Recent events have demonstrated the artists and labels willingness and attempts to adapt: Sarah Bettens released her album through a newspaper, which required the newspaper to double its circulation. Madonna resiled her contract with Warner for a "360-degree" contract that including concert, merchandise and endorsement deals (and - who knows - video games...). And multinational record companies have dropped selling songs protected by digital-rights-management. Have they lost any hope in capturing value from online sales? This week Economist article provides an answer to that. Clearly, changes are undergoing.

Besides its innovative pricing policy for the download version, Radiohead is also set to release a box containing several LP's, cd's, booklets and artwork. Price tag: 40£. Thus, on the one hand, songs available for download to anybody; on the other hand, value-adding merchandising, in line with what the most loyal fans would expect.
In any way, unconditionally agreeing with the consumer's demanded price once again shows how the consumer is getting has the final word.
Consumer empowerment: not only in the building of a b( r )and, but also in the pricing of its products… and record companies should realize that as well.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Marketers are returning to the great outdoors.

Outdoors Lion Winner 2007

Frustrated by the declining ability of television to deliver mass reach that is cost-effective, advertisers are putting renewed emphasis on reaching people when they’re away from home. Out-of-home advertising offers a wide and still widening range of opportunities for marketers to make contact with consumers, according to Millward Brown. But...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


50 years ago, the first satellite was launched and thus the official beginning of the space program era. Today, the world is more then ever into space ship programs and technology. Tomorrow, visiting the universe can be a dream come true for one of us, whether it is with Virgin Galactic or Q-music.
People are clearly looking for new adventures and discoveries. But not only in space, new paths are walked. Also on television and in the studies youngster's choose, we see a passion for science and discoveries.

Read all about it in this week's column.

Friday, October 05, 2007

New campaign Dove

After the succesfull campaign "Evolution", beauty brand Dove, has released a new campaign "Onslaught". The beauty-industry advertising is under attack again. See the campaign below.

Monday, October 01, 2007


In the new program on Radio 1, Peeters&Pichal, consumers can pour out their harts to the presenters. Small and large issues of our consumer society pass in review. Recently, a large multimedia and hifi specialist, was under fire when some consumers complained about the selling of used and returned products. Hard day for their spokeswoman or lucky that consumers care and speak up?

Read all about it in this week's column.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A brand for all tides

Last week, Janssen Pharmaceutica announced the loss of almost 700 jobs. In the past, the company was more than once ellected as most attractive employer of the year. Will this reorganization affect the image of the company? And how can companies and brands change the tide after a crisis?

Read all about it in this week's column.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Super market and employer market

In the US, marketing giant Procter&Gamble launched a new image campaign earlier this month. The campaign called 'My Black is Beautiful' is oriented towards Afro-American women. Interesting to see how brands communicate towards immigrants. However, not only in the super market, this is a wanted target group. If we want to be able to sustain growth in Europe, this community is an absolute necessity to fill in vacancies in the employer market. And thus, integration takes place in both worlds.

Read all about it in this week's column.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Private labels

Earlier this month, both Carrefour and Delhaize have launched a new private label. Co-incidence or not? Since years, retailers are more than simple distributors of products. They have become producers of brands. Why does Delhaize introduce a new private brand in the beauty category? And is it a wise decision? Read more about it in this week's column.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

World war

The economy is growing and companies are in search of new employees who can help to realize this growth. The thickness of the weekly Jobat and Vacature combined with the cry for help by several branches of industry make it clear: the ‘war for talent’ rages fiercely.

It’s clear that traditional formulas no longer function now that the ‘war for talent’ is starting to turn into a ‘world war’.

Read all about it in this week’s column.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Adland's Hall of Shame

Zorra, the forum that keeps a critical view on role patterns in advertising, has recently opened an exhibition on Second Life. In ‘Gender& Advertising’, one can see good and bad examples of the last 10 years. Earlier this month, Campaign, published an article titled ‘Adland’s Hall of Shame’. Is the advertising sector adapting itself to our times?

Read more about it in this week's column.

After Levi's

Two weeks ago, we wrote about the gay and hetero advertising of Levi's.

Now, I show you a new ad for the holebi federation made by VVL BBDO.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

King and Princess

Last week the 30th birthday of the death of Elvis Presley was celebrated and next week, it will be 10 years ago that Princess Diana unfortunately deceased in a car accident in Paris. Both personalities have only a few things in common, however they are both strong archetypes. Brands also strive to act upon one archetype, especially niche brands. But, is this still a valid strategy in times where the consumer has multiple personalities?
Read all about it in this weeks' column.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pink pants

Diversity is part of our society, but do brands already act upon it? Check out Levi's, who has made 2 versions of their latest 501 commercial, one with a homo and one with a heterosexual ending.

See the commercials below and read all about it in this week's column.

Heterosexual version

Gay version

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Vacation is a time to relax and let go of business as usual. But it is also a time where you can take some time to get inspired. During my summer holidays, I've read some very interesting literature from Mario Vargas Llosa, Koen Peeters and Dimitri Verhulst. Read my thoughts on these 3 books in this week's column.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Vacation is starting for most of us, so time to look back! That is what IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) did. They analyzed all effectiveness winners of the last 25 years. What are key lessons? Read all about it in this week's column.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Live Earth

The summer of 2007 will be bookmarked as the summer of Live Earth. Last Saturday, former vice-president of the USA, Al Gore, organised concerts in all continents to make the world more conscious about the climate change.
Kevin Wall, co-organiser and founder of SOS, Save Our Selves, stated: 'We have got to talk and make the whole world listen'. However, sceptics feel consciousness or attitude isn't the problem, but behaviour is. Who's right? Read all about it in this week's column.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Playground Werchter

Last weekend Rock Werchter announced the official start of the summer. The music was great and even the weather wasn't too bad. What makes that a simple grassland turns into an exciting playground for 80 000 people 4 days long? Seems like social is cool again. Read all about it in this week's column.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Last week Cannes welcomed the 54st International Advertising Festival. Seems like 2007 will go into history as the year that advertising found a conscience. Amongst winners, we see a lot of 'advertising with a message'. Think about Dove, Nike, Coca-Cola, Nedbank (see earlier post below) or the Belgian film winner from Zijkant. See the movies below en read all about it in this week's column.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cannes Grand Prix in Film category is ...

"Evolution" from Dove, made by O&M Toronto (see movie below)

Friday, June 22, 2007

3 Grand Prix in Cyber category

The Cyber contest awarded 3 Grand Prix for online advertising, viral and websites. Best website went to "Heidies", Diesel's spoof takeover of its site by two girls who supposedly hold a Diesel exec hostage. Other winners are Nike Plus and Evolution of Dove, which you can see below.

Cannes Grand Prix Winner Outdoor

BBDO Johannesburg and Nedbank with an inventive and useful use of outdoor

Cannes Grand Prix Winner Press

This year's winner in press category goes to Tide campaign made by Saatchi&Saatchi NY.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Here come the Chinese!

Prince Filip and Princess Mathilde are currently visiting China, together with some 250 representatives of Belgian companies, 3 ministers and more than 30 journalists. China has been a potential growth market for Western companies for years, but the inverse movement is also happening now. We see Chinese or Eastern companies entering our market. Most recent examples are the Indian airline company Jet Airways and the Chinese car brand Brilliance. Remarkably, these companies no longer limit themselves to the bottom of the market, but try to position themselves in the middle or top range. Read all about it in this week's column.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


The newest 'Pirates of the Carribean' is thé movie hit of the moment. In this third movie, we meet again with Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann and Jack Sparrow. How come the movie is such as success? Why do pirates appeal to our imagination? Not only on the big screen, pirates are hot. Also in the brand landscape, we see interesting pirates! Think about Apple and Virgin or Skype. What is their common denominator? Read all about it in this week's column.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Worlwide advertising code to be born soon

During a conference of the World Federation of Advertisers top advertising, media and marketing people agreed to write down an international and worldwide advertising code. Objective is to stimulate 'responsible marketing'. Amongst the proposals are a more transparent and faster handling of complaints, and a practice of honest and responsible advertising in all aspects of marketing communications.

Fair and honest

The new trendbook MOOD 07 made by Trendslator describes 7 core values: taste, feel, care, share, stay, heal and trust. Common factor between the different values is a decreasing need for the safe and known,and an increasing urge for honest, conscious and open interaction with ourselves, each other and the environment. Softer and more feminin values will become more important, feel good and fair are key! Care, connect and share are other important proverbs of our time. Read more about it on Trendslator .

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sgt. Peppers

One of the best known symbols of the Swinging Sixties and the Summer of Love, the yellow smiley, already celebrates its 40th birthday! This smiley know covers the new book of Mark Elchardus and Wendy Smits, "Het grootste geluk". The book tries to figure out how happy Belgians are and what influences our state of happiness. One important finding is that the more we experience time pressure, the less happy we are. Also, people living together or married, are more happy than others. Social integration and social contacts continu to make us happy, today just like 40 years ago!

Read all about it in this week's column.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Time for Diversity

Co-branding is a well-known marketing technique. The first co-branding dated from 1960. Today, a surprising co-branding takes place in the UK. McDonald's puts Innocent-smoothies in its Happy Meals. Will both brands gain from this collaboration? Research suggests that positive associations between both brands will be exchanged, while negative aspects don’t affect the other partner. Seems like a good recipe for a successful marriage!

Read all about it in this week's column.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

30 seconds

Over the last few years, several sources have announced the end of traditional advertising and the 30 seconds commercial. The latest campaign and sales figures of Apple provide proof of the contrary. Since 2006, Apple uses the same 2 characters in a simple white setting in its commercials. One of them is the personification of a Mac, the other more formal person plays a PC. In the commercials the benefits of Apple are stressed out. At the end of each commercial, Mac is the smart guy and PC the idiot. See the latest commercial below, or the whole series on the Apple website.

The commercials didn't harm the sales figures of Mac: in the first 3 months of 2007, sales went up with 36 percent, 3 times more than the market. The Mac-case shows that good advertising still works. Consumers are not averse to advertising, as long as there is a good story and original idea, that expresses well what the brand stands for. However, innovation is key, both in concept and communications channels! Read all about it in this week's column.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

House for sale

One month ago, one of my colleagues decided to sell his house. Besides putting his house on Immoweb, he made a movie he posted on You Tube.
The movie shows his family and their favorite activities in the living room, kitchen, bedroom, garden etc. One wonders what it's all about, until the following text appears 'You can't buy happiness ... but you can buy our house'.
The movie of the pink house is a great hit, after 2 days more than 1000 people viewed the movie. Some days later, some neighbor friends put a spoof version on YouTube, in which they friendly ask potential buyers of the house to paint it in another color. Some days later, Spotter, a competitor of Immoweb, decided to participate in the battle, and reworked the original.
Want to know the ending and key lessons of the story? Read all about it in this week's column.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hyatt launches 'personal style' hotels

Hyatt recently announced the launch of Andaz, the company's newest addition to its global brand portfolio.

The word Andaz means 'personal style'. In addition to a focus on personal style and independence, the new brand will offer a highly functional environment characterized by sophistication, innovative design, local identity, casual elegance and service that is attentive but not pretentious and without 'attitude'.

Besides the personal touch of the hotel, the brand will also be as environmentally friendly as possible, through various features that would include serving organic food and beverage, using fully biodegradable products and focusing on energy efficiency. As the brand develops, new hotel structures will incorporate ecologically friendly building materials and building systems.

The first Andaz will be in the City of London and is targeted to the new generation of tourists.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

De Kijk van Van Dyck: 'Planckendael'

Planckendael, the animal parc situated near Mechelen, has welcomed more than 100 000 visitors during the last Easter holiday and has thus doubled the number of visitors compared to last year. The nice weather is one factor, but the effect of 'Het Leven zoals het is Planckendael', the weekly TV show on the national channel 'één', clearly has had its effect too.

The TV show is the perfect example of excellent product placement: the presence of a commercial brand in a mass medium like a movie or TV show. More classical examples are the presence of Jupiler in 'De Kampioenen' or Toyota in 'Flikken'.

Vlekho Business School has researched the effect of product placement and finds that product placement is a valid alternative for classical tv-commercials, depending on the objectives of the brand.

Want to know more? Read all about it in this week's column.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Challenges for marketers

The importance of integrated marketing communications is illustrated in the top 10 of issues for senior marketers in 2007, published by the National Association of Advertisers. The top 10 is composed as follows :
1. Integrated marketing communications
2. Accountability
3. Aligning marketing organization with innovation
4. Building strong brands
5. Media proliferation
6. Consumer control over what and how they view advertising
7. Globalization of marketing efforts
8. Growth of multicultural consumer segments
9. Advertising creative that achieves business results
10. Attracting and retaining top talent

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

De Kijk van Van Dyck: "The bucket"

Brands heavily invest in their marketing-communications campaigns, but the small things in the services or products they offer are often at least as important as fancy ads.

Last sunday I drove home from the seaside, and stopped at my favorite gas station. Wanted to clean the windscreen with the spunge provided there for that purpose. It was however pretty dirty, with the result that my windscreen ended up more dirty than at the start.

The customer only sees one brand, that is shaped through (expensive) advertising, but also through a dirty spunge on a sunday afternoon.

Read all about it in this week's column.

Brands: Google most powerful brand

The second annual BRANDZ™ Top 100 Most Powerful Brands ranking published in cooperation with the Financial Times was announced today by leading global market research and consulting firm Millward Brown. Google has risen to the top of this year's ranking, taking the number one spot with a brand value of $66,434 million. This was followed by General Electric ($61,880 million), Microsoft ($54,951 million) and Coca-Cola ($44,134 million).

think BBDO's 20-something study of beginning 2005 already showed that Google was the brand youth said to be most in line with youth's personality. Also in the top 10 were Microsoft and Coca Cola.

Millward Brown and FT discern 4 major trends in this year's BRANDZ™ Top 100:

1. The rise of the East
2. Converging technologies
3. Delivering on Corporate Social Responsibility
4. Fast food brands react to health conscious consumers.

Read the full BRANDZ™ Top 100 Most Powerful Brands report here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

De Kijk van van Dyck: "It will be a warm summer"

With summer starting very early this year (at least in Belgium), a lot of you probably are worrying about what clothes to wear. This summer's fashion will probably be more vital than in previous years.

International Herald Tribune's fashion editor Suzy Menkes did not manage to see the underlying trends. She talked about the "delirious diversity of the summer dress".

However, that "delirous deversity" shows a quite consistent pattern:
- Vital colours: green and blue, and for those who dare yellow and orange
- Skin: naked shoulders, short skirts, deeper décolletés.
- Playful and sheery motives: especially flowers and abstract geometric figures

Read all about it in this week's column.

De Kijk van Van Dyck: "Maternity coaching"

A couple of law firms, investment banks and other employers in the London City are starting to introduce "maternity coaching". Financial Times recently covered this in an article.

"Maternity coaching" involves confidential one-to-one sessions before, during and after a woman's maternity leave. But it can also be delivered in group.

It's the emloyers' way of dealing with the costly brain drain of women from middle and senior ranks.

In the war for talent employers are currently in this is obviously another way of answering to the need of the 'new employee'. Research suggests that the work/life balance is highly valued by the new generation of employees.
In the 80'ies it were the "dinkies - double income, no kids" that built the succes of the law firms and investment banks. Now the talented youngster at those banks want to have kids, and spend time with them. Employers are forced to adapt.

Read all about it in this week's column (Dutch).