News in the Ads #18

Having somewhat neglected looking at the news lately (naughty me), I give to you the 5 top stories spreading like jam on toast and urban sprawl, in advertising and communications over the last week.

1) Diageo to sponsor London’s free New Year’s Eve travel for three years
Drinks company Diageo has signed a three-year deal to sponsor free travel on London transport on New Year’s Eve, with a focus on responsible drinking messages.

-> In what might be construed as a slightly ironic sponsorship, Diageo is to sponsor free transport on the tube on the night where it becomes more than socially acceptable to get tipsy, merry, or more likely drunk. The irony being that Diageo is using the event to promote a responsible drinking message, with free bottles of water to be given out at several stations (alongside ‘top tips’) and some clear and hard hitting print ads – warning “remember this night”. All in all a nice thought, but not one likely to be running through revellers’ minds.

2) BBH wins £36 million Virgin Media business
Virgin Media has appointed Bartle Bogle Hegarty to handle its £36 million advertising account.

-> Ending a great year on a bang, agency BBH have been appointed to handle the mahoosive above-the-line work for Virgin Media, following DDB losing the account after only 18 months. The brand’s direct marketing account is expected to remain with Rapp, which if you’ll recall is what I was working on – all the more reason why this story interests me.

3) Same-sex marriage ad is most shared
An ad in support of same-sex marriages in Australia, which has been shared a total 863,491 times in the past seven days, tops Campaign’s weekly chart, produced in conjunction with Unruly.

-> A chart which ranks ads according to the number of times they have been shared on Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere during the past seven days – has found a surprising favourite. The top advert is called “It’s time” and is created by the Motion Picture Company on behalf of Get Up! Action for Australia. It has been shared a staggering 901,107 times since it hit the web – racking up more than 22,000 tweets, 400 blog posts and nearly 900,000 Facebook updates. Let’s hope that is all in support.

4) Government targets beauty brands with body-confidence pledge
The government is drawing up a voluntary pledge in partnership with fashion, beauty and media brands to tackle the issue of body confidence, primarily among girls and women.

-> A pledge will be unveiled next year by Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone MP to reduce the mounting ‘body pressure’ put on people from popular culture and the media to attain that ‘perfect’ (but significantly fake) image. The pledge is likely to include kitemarks on ads that use manipulated images, and a focus on more natural advertising (like Dove and Boots). This might finally mean a goodbye to airbrushed celebrities, and even touch ups to the naturally stunning, like Christy Turlington. Result = hope for the rest of us!

Too good to be true? Julia Robert's banned ad for Lancome

5) The world’s largest Apple store opens in New York
On Friday 9th December, Apple opened its largest retail store yet, a 23,000-square-foot location inside New York’s Grand Central Terminal. As befits the occasion, the company has been teasing the new store with a special out-of-home execution inside the train station’s main concourse – some 58 Apple displays, arranged in two long rows of 29 each, mimic the familiar split-flap display of an old-school departure board, but in this case, promoting the new store opening.

-> I have a love-hate relationship with Apple, but am consistently amazed and impressed by the level of bravado and hype that comes with the latest release of iThis and its latest monopoly on large, urban architectural gems. In this new store, visitors can buy personal electronics without the help of a human being by scanning the item with their iPhone and 15 minute training sessions are available for rushed New Yorkers. Other than that, concerning originality there are debates that it is the “world’s largest”, but I do think this use of the retro split-flap display is rather unique and quirky.

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