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Every Dog has its (bad) day

27 Feb

Gender identity, obesity, fidelity, and well, stumbling into one of your parents more intimate moments are issues that people face every day. The “Dogs have issues too” print campaign from Ireland/Davenport in Johannesburg, South Africa imagines our best friends in some of our worst nightmares with heartbreaking results.

Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer’s host, uses behaviour modification techniques to rehabilitate dogs with problems ranging from minor inconveniences to excessive barking, carpet urination, and aggression.

The need for help and support through emotional and behavioral issues is not a uniquely human one. This campaign does a great job of using some uniquely human issues to bring a sense of connection to these canines that I’m sure we can all relate to on some level.

Concept-wise, it doesn’t feel like we’re being sold the same idea four times. It’s nice to see a series use repetition with such a nice amount of variation though-out. This feels like a robust little campaign.

And you can’t deny the creative on these ads is great: each is a simple scene with a perfectly subtle amount of content. I bet you had fun scanning each one to find the issue at hand. Kudos to the art directors on this one – it’s hard not to feel sympathetic for these little guys.

It isn’t obvious whether they were able to achieve the dog’s expressions naturally or through the help of some clever photoshopping (although I suspect this is the case), but either way, the heart-breaking emotion on their little dog faces is the finishing, personifying touch on these bittersweet ads.

Post by: Christie Burns & Danny Prew

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Copeland Stupor Bowl XLVI Part. II

6 Feb

Jill’s Pick:



The vampire craze is a little past due. If Audi had run this ad last year during the Trueblood, Vampire Diaries and the Twilight hype they probably could have really cashed in. Not to say this is a bad ad, I actually really enjoyed it being a vampire lover myself.

In the ad, a guy is driving an Audi to a vampire party, he let’s us know he is a vampire by flashing his fangs. There are shots of the vampires partying under the full moon, enjoying blood bags, tree climbing, playing acoustic guitars, just as all vampires do. Problems arise when the Audi driving vampire pulls up to the party with the new LCD “daylight headlights” on and all of his pals are instantly incinerated by the “daylight.”

The song “The Killing Time” by Echo & the Bunnymen was a perfect fit for this vampire themed ad. And I really liked the addition of the #solongvampires hashtag, it shows that Audi is a forward thinking company and are really “with it.”

Overall it was a good ad and Audi’s new LCD “daylight headlights” could very well be the solution to the overpopulated bloodthirsty vampires!

Christie’s Pick:



This spot had it all: a Rocky-esque montage, zippy red car, relatable hero, the American dream, and promises of summer. Oh, and our hero is a chubby dog. I was excited to explore those ideas, and then I watched it again.

As I wondered what the title “The Dog Strikes Back” was all about, it played though until the awkward commercial-in-a-commercial ending I had conveniently missed the first time around. A little research later and it appears that the chubby dog is 2012’s answer to 2011’s cute Darth Vader kid. And that barking dog YouTube video that I ignored (but everyone went nuts for on Facebook) was the teaser for it.

The story stood on its own without the self-referential Star Wars ending. If I hadn’t watched it again (and again) I would have been so much more satisfied. The teaser with dogs barking iconic music from Star Wars had some relevance to the 2011 spot, and arguably some solid pop-culture cred, but this felt as cheap as “it was all a dream…”

Copeland Stupor Bowl XLVI Part. I

6 Feb

Whether or not we think these ads lived up to the same hype as the game still remains undecided. There’s no doubt that this advertising monster has grown to William Perry* like proportions. A whopping 84% price increase over the past 10 years. And an estimated viewership of 111 million+ fans. The cost of a 30-second spot during the game was $3.5 million, the highest price in history. With arguably as many people tuning in for the advertising as the game itself.

We’ve sifted through the sex, cars, dogs and babies to find our favourites from yesterdays big event.

Andrea’s Pick:



Sure, Clint’s raspy voice is irresistible, and this we-can-do-it spot is captivating enough to stun a room of nacho wielding, face painted fans into a quiet retrospective audience. But what’s best about this ad is simply the strategic headline. “It’s Halftime in America”. It’s a simple concept that says a lot. One line captures the grit and fatigue of a tough game, the encouragement of your coach and the motivation of knowing the game’s not over. The poignant wording enhances the spot but ultimately it’s the relatable emotional experience transposed onto a new subject that makes it so great. Simple ideas with great execution will always triumph.

Danny’s Pick:



The NFL celebrates a century of football with this visually stylish look back at the evolution of the sport and player safety. It comes on the wake of some controversy surrounding a recent rash of head injuries. It’s a stark contrast to the typical garish Super Bowl advertising of the day. Starting with the games humble beginnings in 1906, the yardage on the field reflects an exciting look at the decades past. Rightfully finishing in the end zone with a TD by the games most exciting return specialist, Devon Hester. The final line says it all “Here’s to making the next century safer and more exciting than ever”. A win in my books.

* William Perry. Former Defensive Linebacker a.k.a “The Fridge”

Pinterest, you’ve got my interest!

30 Jan

Guest post by former Copeland intern Stefanie Grieser

Blogging advice: Love it or leave it , a previous Copeland blog post stressed that regularity in a blog is key and in order to achieve that you must love blogging and “wholeheartedly believe in it.”

Well, I guess that puts me in the “leave it” pile. I did, however, discover something that gives me a happy medium. It’s this new thing called Pinterest.

As it turns out, I am not the only Pinterest fanatic. Apparently it’s the new “it” social media thing and is rapidly growing. So what is Pinterest? What makes Pinterest so great? And why is not just another social media sharing service?

Pinterest is an online, virtual pin board. It creates virtual links through images and videos, called ‘pins’ which can then be categorized, organized and shared on ‘pin boards’. I like to think of it as some sort of mix between a blog, Twitter and Flickr.

In today’s digital era, images and photos are far more likely to be shared than an article. There has been a significant shift in the power of visual content which makes the visual aspect of Pinterest very compelling, but that’s not the only factor that makes it so successful. Few other social networks have captured the combination of self-expression, content sharing and visual imagery in such asimplistic way.  On top of that, it is another great marketing tool that engages conversation, forecasts trends and drives product sales.

Pinterest Marketing

And why can Pinterest work for your business?

It’s focused. Like I said, pin boards are categorized by interests and the search functionality will allow customers to find products or services they are already interested in.

On the other hand, people also love to surf Pinterest and you don’t even have to be a member to simply browse. This allows customers unintentionally stumble upon your product. Can anyone say goldmine?

The photo has a link that redirects your customer back to your site where they can purchase the product.

It a social network (duh), allowing you to engage with your customers.

There is so much room for exploration and creative marketing campaigns!

Graphic Designers (Heck, even ad agencies), this one is for you. You can showcase your portfolio on Pinterest, provide a description on the piece, the concept behind it and any other information you might want to provide. The same goes for artists and photographers.

Restaurants and bakeries, you can upload photos of your dishes. NPO’s you can share your orgainization’s story through quotes and pictures to promote your cause.

LinchPinSEO’s infographic shares some more neat ideas on Pinterest marketing so check it out.

As a marketing student, I created a pin board that focuses on advertising and is my substitute to a blog. I have already pinned some of my favourtie advertisement work. My comment below the image allows me to explain why I enjoy (or don’t enjoy) a certain advisement or marketing campaign and credit the specific agency. The comment isn’t as long as a blog post of course, but doesn’t have a word limit either. I can still write a short blurb expressing my opinion. People can comment on my pins just like they comment on a blog and can also “repin”, similar to Twitters retweet function. It is a work in process, but feel free to check out my Pin Board!

All in all, I believe that this new social media platform has huge potential and room for creative, innovative, engaging and focused marketing strategies.


Is SEO now a complete waste of time?

17 Nov

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation is the mystic – or so the ‘gurus’ will have you believe – art of ensuring your website’s content is found organically by search engines and clambers to the top of search results. To clarify, when I say search engines, the efforts of SEO experts are generally focused on one search engine, the omnipresent Google. This is understandable as the SEO industry was born alongside Google and like the Pilot fish, has been swimming alongside, feeding off its oblivious benefactor ever since.

But has Google switched direction leaving the SEO experts out in the cold(water)? This may sound like a statement to bait a response – sorry I’ll leave the fish analogy here – but try typing ‘mobile phone’ into Google and what do you see? It’s probably something like this:

Google kills Search Engine Optimisation SEO

This is a screenshot from my desktop PC. The area inside the black tint is the full extent of a browser maximised for a typical 1024 x 768 screen, the green speech bubble is from the first organic result after web-traffic giant wikipedia which is nearly always going to appear first.

What this example shows is that three quarters of the available content space is devoted to ads. The organic – or non paid – links start appearing way down the page, below the initially visible screen real estate! This is fine if your digital marketing strategy is to ‘hope-users-ignore-everything-that-first-appears and scroll-down-to-find-your-result’. Good luck with that!

Is this indicative of a move away from organic search listings? Not quite – would you still visit Google if all you got was ads? It’s still going to provide relevant content to users, but the balance has definitely shifted to showing you relevant paid ads over relevant organic results.

The argument that Google is prioritising paid content is enforced if you look at your analytics. In October Google announced that for non Google verified sites it will no longer show you what keywords people used to get to your site organically (here’s a clearer analysis of the announcement). These ‘referer’ links are like gold dust for website owners and provide you with free keyword analysis with which you can further optimise your site.

Returning to the original premise. Is SEO a waste of time? Well, if your product or service is in a saturated or crowded market, and if you’re relying on your website’s organic performance in Google search results to drive business then there’s a good chance the answer is yes.

However, the good news, for the moment, is that SEO for organic traffic is still worth pursuing if your product or service is not in a fiercely competitive market. From my tests, search results for non saturated markets attract fewer, or no ads leaving plenty of space for your business listing to compete organically. A good SEO strategy will keep your content fresh, which will always appeal to customers and encourage repeat visits to your site. Additionally, if you buy  keyword based ads with Google, the cost of your ads is in part determined by the relevance of the content on your website.

Moving forward, to me it seems that to ensure your business gets found online you will soon need to widen your focus. Worry less about your placement in organic search results and start budgeting for keyword based ads. With Google starting to withdraw the freebies, the ad space is going to get more competitive. Unless you’ve Apple’s cash pile this means that the stakes are raised for every dollar of your online advertising budget.  Keyword analysis, online copy-writing, integrated marketing strategy and media expertise – to place, monitor and optimise the ads – are all going to be more important.

The free ride is coming to an end.

Some marketing advice for the Occupy movement

15 Nov

I walk through Centennial Square in Victoria everyday and consider the plight of the Occupy Victoria movement, now in its third month.

Initial curiosity on the part of the public converted some to supporters, others to respectful empathizers and others still to contemptuous pessimists and critics.

Gozilla plans to attack Tokyo

As the movement loses its momentum and heads towards an inexorable conclusion with the law (Occupy Wall Street was cleared out in the early hours today), I wonder how much has been lost through the lack of a good strategic plan going in.

Think about the current Occupy movement as a nascent brand attempting to get its message – or selling proposition – across to its audience:

WHO IS THE AUDIENCE?

They are targeting their message at big business, at the banks, at multinationals, at governments. But the real audience is us, the general public. What is most valuable to any new product is public advocacy. Fans and followers.

Their current tactic of entrenchment at all costs is starting to turn off their new followers and create even stronger antipathy from their critics.

Rather than do some quick market research to determine where their brand is losing traction and why, Occupy has decided to press on, audience be damned. This drags down the positive sentiment they have created over the course of their campaign.

The danger for the brand is that the audience will be less likely to embrace a return to the market when Occupy attempts to consolidate and build positive brand awareness next time.

They are burning through their consumer currency faster than they can raise it.

WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THE CAMPAIGN?

Occupy, we have been told, is not a protest but a process. That’s key. In other words, it is the opening act in a long-term campaign. But what do the long-term goals look like and what short-term metrics will measure the success of the tactics they’re using?

There are certainly short-term metrics they could pay attention to: Positive and negative press coverage, audience advocacy, social mentions, increase in occupiers, support of key influencers.

If they were paying attention, they would probably have noted that the campaign has peaked. The audience is starting to lose interest. Audience burnout or backlash is the very last thing this new brand needs.

WHAT ARE THE TACTICS BEST-SUITED TO MEETING THEIR GOALS?

Here is a critical process issue, because by not articulating specific goals, they haven’t been able to implement effective tactics.

“Occupy” is the tactic, not the goal.

But the occupation tactic seems to have its own goal: stay until they are dragged kicking and screaming out of the public areas they have taken over. In other words, carry on regardless of what the audience thinks; continue to press the message until they have lost the advocacy they worked so hard to build.

There is not much in their current plan that supports a 2012 campaign.

As a marketing guy, I believe the Occupy movement can be effective by knowing their audience, articulating clear goals, using inspired tactics to achieve them, checking metrics along the way and sticking to a timeline.

Otherwise, the movement’s up a tree.

Occupy Victoria protester in tree

(Photograph by Adrian Lam, Times Colonist)