The Rising Cost of Entertainment

Source: This Is Money/HBOS

The squeeze on family budgets was brought into sharp focus by the publication of entertainment inflation figures for the entertainment and leisure pursuits of ordinary Britons. Some of the figures, particularly the cost of attending live sport are astonishing. When coupled with the rising price of fuel these bring the cost of a family day out up to frightening levels and out of the reach of many.

So what might this mean for brands? Well first of all giving your loyalists some kind of helping hand to have fun these days feels like a great opportunity. In the social sphere entertainment based rewards have got to be a great way to activate your community and to build size and scale.

Secondly it also stikes us that in a world rich with second screens and gaming consoles, creating shared family fun experiences to brighten up time at home is a big opportunity. ‘Gameification’ sounds like made up marketing babble and as such may be an offputting concept. However in a world where the price of fun is rising so rapidly, connecting with people through play looks like an attractive prospect.

With increasing numbers of people watching TV with Zeebox in their hands expect to see branded fun built into many major broadcast campaigns over the next twelve months.

Plato, Aristotle and the art of telling brand stories

Just to show that insights and inspiration can come from any source, I’m going to transport you back to the intellectual cauldron that was ancient Athens.

Sam Leith’s recent book on the lost art of rhetoric, ‘You Talkin’ To Me?’ draws heavily on the the principles of public speaking and framing of persuasive arguments from an age before Gutenberg let alone Google.

He isolates the three key elements of a persuasive argument:

Ethos – my credibility

Logos – the rational reasons for my argument

Pathos – my emotional appeal to you

These approaches and their combination are basically what we build for brands when we tell their stories, either via crafting content or working out how to build a plan to fit the consumer journey.

I saw a really inspiring presentation from an M&C Saatchi planner this week that also suggested that in combinations of two, these principles are great foundations for building brand positionings. His argument was that by using all three there is a danger of being all things to all men.

Anyway there you have it. Check out Sam Leith and his search for the perfect rhetorical argument and get a different perspective on your planning issue.

‘Super Bowl Super Social’ with The Guardian

Here is some of the most thought provoking creative work of the last few weeks.
The new BBH ad for The Guardian featuring the trial of the three little pigs is the latest of BBH’s ‘super bowl super social’ ads. These have been developed on the basis that investment in landmark content creates social ripples that reduce the need for high ATL frequency. So spend more on the ad and less on media, handpicking where and when it gets exposed.
So this gives us a super clever ad extoling the virtues of open journalism and a launch event in C4 News on 29th February.

The big question – how well did it do?
• 768k views on You Tube to date which seems to be flattening out.
• 8k tweets with a potential reach of 20m.
• Most popular with Men 45 -54.
• Almost universally approved by You Tube raters.
On the other hand there appeared to be no increase in searches for relevant terms.
So does Super Bowl Super Social work?
The gold old fashioned ABCs may help us work that out in this case.

Coffee: the irrational behaviour that defies austerity

To quote the Evening Standard on 3rd January before the news of the verdict in the Stephen Lawrence case broke,

‘New research shows that Londoners are more addicted than ever to their daily latte, cappuccino or flat white and are searching out quality coffees.

Sales are up overall by about 10 per cent (now twice the level of 2005) and a new wave of artisan espresso chains has sprung up in London despite fears of a “double dip” recession.

 About 35 independent coffee bars opened in London last year compared with 56 cafes belonging to big chains.’

However, they are increasingly second or third branches of bars set up by passionate “caffeine-heads”.

This suggests a couple of interesting things that we should take note of when planning for 2012 and beyond.

1) London (and the South East) is a market of its own and consumer behaviour is potentially diverging even more from the rest of the U.K. This poses some significant marketing challenges to national plans and national messages that underweight the area.

2) Routines trump rational behaviour: coffee breaks help people navigate their day. The product is over priced and potentially means that someone is having to economise on their lunch. However the sacrifice is deemed worth it by thousands of squeezed punters.

So when planning for tough times in 2012 don’t assume that people will react the way that you might logically expect in all categories.