News in the Ads #22

With the faint throb of a hangover, let me present to you the top 5 stories making the rounds in advertising and marketing last week –

1) Ecover readies ‘feel good’ festival push
Ecover, the eco-friendly cleaning brand, is to embark on live marketing activity at UK festivals during the summer as part of its “feel good cleaning” marketing activity.

-> I mention this story as it strikes me as slightly ironic – marketing a cleaning product at essentially a celebration of dirt and mud, without a house or carpet in sight. However, presumably Ecover are attempting to encapsulate a down-to-earth, back-to-basics kind of mentality. The brand has appointed experiential agency Closer to handle the activity, which will run at family-focused festivals Cornbury in Oxfordshire, Latitude in Suffolk, and Camp Bestival in Dorset. This activity builds from Ecover’s £4m brand campaign launched earlier this month, including the brand’s first ever TV ad.

2) Tropicana switches on the sun
Tropicana wanted to brighten up commuter’s mornings by making the sun rise two hours early in London’s Trafalgar Square.

-> Ever since I visited Olafur Eliasson’s sun exhibition at the Tate, I have loved the concept of creating a fake light source. As such, I love this experiential/outdoor campaign by Tropicana and the artists’ collective Greyworld, where they simply wanted to brighten up commuters’ days by raising a giant sun in Trafalgar Square, which is easier said than done as the light bulbs emit a huge wire-melting amount of heat. The Trafalgar Sun took six months to create, is 30,000 times bigger than a football, has a surface area of 200m2 and weighs over 2,500kgs. Its internal light source produces 4-million lumens of light, the equivalent of 60,000 light bulbs, making the artwork visible from space. The feat took place on 23rd January 2012 with people fully making use of the Tropicana deckchairs at 6.15am.

3) Channel 4 Education launches online drama using The Sims as the studio
Channel 4 Education has created an online drama called SuperMe, which features virtual characters played out using the Electronic Arts (EA) computer game The Sims 3. The game/drama is intended to “make you better at life”.

-> Channel 4 has created a new way of story-telling by using virtual actors and settings from popular PC game The Sims to create an emergent drama. The series tells the story of a shy loner moving into a shared house with three lively, but rather challenging strangers – all with disparate behaviours and characteristics. A narrative is then played around the resulting, and unscripted, interactions that take place. I love the concept of this and the mix of the gaming and drama sectors, but I am not convinced that I could watch the Sims in action without actually playing.

4) Starbucks is to open in India
Starbucks aims to open 50 outlets in India by year’s end, through a 50-50 joint venture with Tata Global Beverages, the companies said Monday. Tata Starbucks Ltd., as their venture is known, hopes to capitalize on the rising aspirations – and fattening wallets – of many Indians, who are eager to partake of the global latte life.

-> I read this week that India’s middle-class is now larger than the entire population of Europe, so it comes as no surprise to hear that the high-street crusader of gentrification and middle-class socialising habits (“let’s grab a coffee..”) has come to India. Although I would love to know what savoury snacks they sell next to the lattes and expressos. The country has recently embraced coffee house culture with a vengeance, despite traditionally being known as a nation of tea drinkers. Last year, India had 1,600 cafes, up from just 700 in 2007, according to Technopak Advisors, which expects India’s $170 million cafe market to grow 30 percent a year, adding up to 2,700 more outlets over the next five years. Tata Starbucks Ltd. has pledged to initially invest 4 billion rupees ($80 million), with the first outlet to open in Mumbai or New Delhi by September.

5) L’Oréal anti-wrinkle cream ad thwarted by MP
A magazine ad for L’Oréal, the premium beauty brand, featuring actress Rachel Weisz has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), after a complaint was received from Jo Swinson MP.

-> A L’Oreal advert for Revitalift Repair 10 has been deemed to be “too good to be true” after an MP complained that Rachel Weisz’ skin had been altered in post-production and with the effect of “substantially changing her complexion to make it appear smoother and more even”, and thereby it “misleadingly exaggerated the performance of the product”. The MP called for more honesty and diversity in the beauty industry. Here, here!

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