Olympics Ambush Marketing Winner Goes to… Dr Dre. Beats

World records, sporting heroes, and brand-wars. The Olympic games may be over for another four years but, sports and athletes aside, the legacy of the London 2012 brand police is likely to live on.


Long before the first athletes arrived in the London the global coverage of the stringent branding laws enforced by the London Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOGOC) had already spread worldwide.


With corporate sponsorship of the games essential to cover the £15 billion cost of hosting the games, it is of course understandable that LOGOC would do its utmost to protect the branding rights of official brand sponsors; each paying up to £100 million over 4 years for the privilege.


That said, laws including the possible forfeiting of medals by winning athletes if they promoted any brand or product via twitter, or banning people and businesses from decorating their own private property brought the 2012 brand protection laws to a new level.



With Rules Come Rule Breakers

Naturally, the Olympic Games are an attractive association for any brand looking to capitalize on the attention and popularity of the international spectacle. For many brands who lack the budgets to enter into a sponsorship agreement, (and some who can), the temptation exists to try and stretch LOGOC’s branding laws, despite the legal risks.


Irish brand Paddy Power was one such brand who successfully skirted LOGOC’s brand laws, although narrowly, with their ambush marketing poster campaign.


 Paddy Power Ambush


Paddy Power’s ad proclaims that the Irish bookmaker is the “Official sponsor of the largest athletics event in London this year! There you go, we said it”. They then go on to reveal that the sponsorship is of an egg and spoon race to be held in the town of London in France. LOGOC’s threatened legal proceedings against the brand Paddy Power, but was unsuccessful.


Nike has a history of ambush marketing at the Olympic games that dates back to the 1970s. This years games were no different. As a non-sponsor Nike was forbidden from mentioning the games in their advertisements, despite the brand sponsoring many star athletes and several countries’ team kit.


Nike reacted by posting a 60-second ad on YouTube that marked the worldwide unveiling of a campaign called “Find Your Greatness.” The ad cheekily takes on the strict restrictions of the Olympic branding laws. Instead of showing Olympic athletes in action in London, England, viewers will see unknown athletes in towns and villages called London around the world.


“There are no grand celebrations here, no speeches, no bright lights,” a narrator with an English accent explains. “But there are great athletes. Somehow we’ve come to believe that greatness is reserved for the chosen few, for the superstars. The truth is, greatness is for all of us.” With 5,108,976 views to date and counting, Nike got their message out there!



While both Paddy Power and Nike playfully take on the rules governing brand association of the games, you have to question, is doing so in keeping with their brand image? And how well does it fit with the rest of their brand strategy?


Both brands benefited in terms of press coverage for their marketing stunts. Nike in particular sets a tone that suggests to LOGOC “if you can’t beat them, diminish them”. As a sponsor of sporting legends does this advertisement by Nike aim to support them during their biggest career challenge?



Brand Ambush Champion 2012

If there was a gold medal for Olympic ambush marketing it would go to the undisputed 2012 brand winner Dr. Dre Beats. Watching the games, particularly the aquatic or athletic events, you more than likely saw a significant proportion of athletes supporting headphones with the trademark B of Dr. Dre Beats.


Cullen Jones Wears Beats


Olympic heroes such as Britain’s Tom Daley and the great Michael Phelps were seen by audiences of millions wearing their Beats as they entered the Olympic Arena. The brand that paid nothing in sponsorship fees was arguably the most visible brand for several of the most viewed events in the games.



Why This Was Ambush Marketing At Its Best

Beats’ brand visibility during the games was a carefully orchestrated strategic move by the company. The brand invited athletes to pick up their free pair of Beats from a collection point set up in the trendy private members club in London. As athletes were not being paid to promote the brand they managed to avoid breaking LOGOC’s rules.


Olympian Beats By Dre


Their campaign was subtle yet effective. There was no official press launch, no global PR campaign. Panasonic, official sponsor of the games paid £64 million for the association. The cost to Dr. Dre Beats? A few hundred pairs of their headphones.


While their ambush campaign paid off in terms of visibility their success is more significant than that. Through their ambush campaign Beats aligned its brand with inspirational globally recognized athletes; role models for audiences the world over.


Amy Cure Beats By Dre


The campaign worked not only because it fit within Beats traditional strategy of celebrity endorsement, but was further reinforced by the brands natural fit within the context of the games where athletes have used headphones and earphones before their event since the days of the Walkman in the 70s.


According to John Lewis sales for the Dr. Dre Beats headphones have increased by 116% in their stores. The number of sports headphones sold is said to have gone up by 42%, with general headphone sales at a steady 19% increase during the games.


Like any strategy ‘ambush marketing’ needs careful planning, a clear goal and it must support the existing brand strategy. Dr. Dre Beats deserve to reap the rewards of their winning campaign.


• Does your marketing activity support the core values, positioning, profile, story and overall vision for your brand?


• Could you use ambush marketing activities strategically planned to fit within your core brand positioning and target audiences needs?


What do you think of the various ‘ambush marketing’ campaigns mentioned?

Do you have any stories of your own you like to share?

Get in touch, we’d love to hear your thoughts.


8 Top Tips for Building Your Brand Impact on Facebook Timeline

Now that Facebook has rolled out their Timeline format to all business page users it’s a prime opportunity to capitalize on all the benefits the new layout offers your brand.


1. Your Cover Image:

Facebook’s cover image really enables a business/brand to capture its audience’s attention and make a strong impression with immediate impact. For brands this offers an opportunity to communicate your brand’s personality in an imaginative way and really leverage your core brand message. 

However, remember to read the Facebook guidelines when customizing your cover imagery. You can use this space to let your audience know what you are about but you cannot include promotional writing or a call to action on the cover photo. In short your cover image requires some more creative thinking to grab your key target markets attention while reaffirming your core brand message in a somewhat more subtle way. Cover images should be 851 x 315 pixels. Profile thumbnails should be 180 x 180 pixels


Mcdonalds Cover Image


2. Get Visual:

The new layout reduces the visibility of text posts but really highlights image and video content. For some businesses this may mean you need to change the way you post your brand information on Facebook.

The huge popularity of imagery orientated social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram confirm the mass attraction and powerful impact of visual content so start getting great visual content onto your timeline and raise the profile of your brand (products or services) through imagery where ever possible. A note of caution, make sure your selected imagery is relevant to, or congruent with your core brand message and your audiences interests.


Starbucks Cover Image


3. Directly Reach Your Audience:

The new timeline allows your customers to talk directly to you using private messages and most importantly it allows you to respond. It is critical that you have someone checking your Facebook page frequently to make a timely response. A query ignored could be a sale lost or worse still, compromise your brand.


Coca Cola Highlighted Post


4. Milestone Your Brand:

While your brand may have only recently joined Facebook, its story may have begun years ago. The new Milestone feature allows you to go back through the years, prior to you joining, and add landmark information and visuals, such as the year you were founded, significant new developments, the look of your brand through the years etc. This enables you to really share your brand’s story and build strong imagery communicating your brand’s development.


 Tiffany Milestone Image


5. Highlight What’s Important:

While it is important to post regularly on your page, some posts may be more important than others and require greater exposure. You can now ‘pin’ posts, which means that that post will remain at the top of your Facebook timeline for the entire week. Other posts can be ‘highlighted’ which means they are given wider display space and therefore stand out more.

If you have a special offer, top tips, important news or an impending event, pinning it or highlighting it commands great visual impact thereby saving you the need to make multiple posts just to gain your audience’s attention.


Starbucks Pinned Post


6. Benchmark Your Brand:

While your administrator can view your page insights and find out how many visitors the page receives, the new timeline also allows you to view some insights from your competitors’ pages. Simply go to their page, click their ‘likes’ and you will see some basic insights regarding their visitor analytics.


7. Monitor and Control the Conversation:

While it is important that your customers can post on your wall and create a conversation around your brand, it is equally important that what they post is appropriate. Deleting negative comments is never advised but the new timeline allows you to approve posts before they are displayed on your company’s Facebook wall.


8. Attention to Apps:

Landing page welcome apps no longer apply to the timeline but Facebook has provided the space to feature apps on your page. If your brand has a Youtube channel app, a competition app, etc the new Timeline enables you to display them on the top of your page.


We have already looked at how social media mistakes can damage your brand, however, managed correctly the role social media can play in shaping your brand’s identity, raising its online profile and enhancing customer engagement is undeniable.


• Does your brand’s Facebook page make the most of all the new features?


• Do you have a social networking strategy to help build your brand?


• Are your social media profiles fully utilized to support your brand communication strategy?





Using Guerrilla Marketing to Achieve Massive Brand Impact

Guerrilla marketing is not a new concept for achieving significant brand attention. It first came into use in the mid-eighties but in the last number of years it has become a much more widely used marketing ploy, for both small and global brands alike. Its attractiveness and increasingly effective use is largely due to the ease of online sharing.

According to Jay Conrad Levinson (the man who coined the phrase), Guerrilla marketing “works because it’s simple to understand, easy to implement and outrageously inexpensive. It is about achieving conventional goals, such as profits and joy, with unconventional methods, such as investing energy instead of money”.


Need A Topchop 


This makes Guerrilla marketing a particularly attractive marketing tool for small and medium size businesses alike, which are typically working with more modest budgets that usually prohibit access to large scale campaigns such as national TV or radio advertising.


Why is guerrilla marketing so effective? If nothing else it breaks through the monotony of traditional advertising. Today’s customers are so over loaded by multiple media channels that it often takes a special kind of advertising campaign to actually get their attention, never mind hold it long enough to make an impact.


Feed A Trolley


While an initial draw back of guerrilla marketing might have been the inability to aim directly at your target market, as is possible with traditional advertising channels, the popularity of sharing funny or interesting videos and images on the web has meant that even the smallest businesses are getting the attention of thousands, even millions, on the likes of Youtube. The numbers are then so high they are bound to hit some of their target customers among that mass audience!


While some larger companies use quite elaborate guerrilla marketing techniques to get attention such as this latest stunt from television network TNT. 



Some of the most effective guerrilla marketing campaigns have been the most simplistic, with companies thinking outside the box and playing on humour in order to gain publicity. 


Need A New Bbq


It must be acknowledged though that not all guerrilla campaigns have a positive effect on a company’s brand. In 2005, Sony launched a graffiti ad campaign to promote the release of its new PlayStation Portable device.

The company hired local graffiti artists to spray-paint ads depicting animated kids playing with the new video game console. The ads were featured on the sides of buildings in seven cities across the U.S., including New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Sony came under fire for the campaign from city governments, many of which complained the ads violated their own anti-graffiti initiatives and encouraged vandalism.


In San Francisco, local residents and artists took matters into their own hands, defacing many of the designs with anti-Sony sentiments and tagging one such ad with “Fony.” Sony defended the campaign, stating the marketing was meant to target the “urban nomad.”


Skoda Mercedes


When deciding to engage in a guerrilla marketing campaign you need to consider it in the broader context of your company’s brand message. It is not just about getting attention. It’s about adding another layer to how your customer thinks about, and engages with your brand. 


The campaign’s message must be congruent with your other marketing communications, all of which must be true to your core brand message. Maintaining consistency in your brand communications is critical and on no account should you risk confusing your customers or send them mixed messages.


If your business is in insurance and is strongly reliant on building customer trust than perhaps a guerrilla campaign is not the best tactic for you. If you think it fits with your company’s brand image then ask yourself: 

  • Would it fit within your current brand strategy?
  • Would it appeal to your target market?
  • How would it reinforce your other marketing activity?
  • Could it offer a point of differentiation over your competitors?
  • What call to action would you desire from your customers?


And most importantly, could you handle the potential additional business if the campaign went viral?



16 Tips to Writing a Hot Design Brief to Get the Biggest Bang for Your Buck

Over the years I have seen a lot of different brand design briefs of all shapes and sizes from the brilliant to simply dreadful, with too many in-between lacking sufficient substance to really get the best potential return for the resources invested. 


Why is the brand design brief so important ? This might sound obvious, but you need to know what you’re aiming for to hit the goal ! In short it’s a critical factor in ensuring your brand design project is successful and you get a real return on your investment. 


Think who, what, where, when, why and how ? Your brief should be, to some extent, an extension of your business strategy. It should reflect the desired commercial endeavours of your business and provide all the detailed information necessary to understand your business dynamics in depth and should clearly define the results you want to achieve i.e. the commercial objectives of the project. 


In many cases over the years we’ve had to write the client brief, following in-depth discussions, questioning and probing, to ensure project clarity on all fronts, which the client has then endorsed and signed off before the project commences.


The following are some tips on how, and what to include, to write a great brand design brief so you can get the best return for your money. The questions posed should give you roughly 80% of your brief content with the remainder resulting from and thorough an in-depth discussion with your chosen brand design agency.


Upside Down Man


1. What does your business/organisation do ?

Be clear and concise, providing as much detail as possible. Avoid industry jargon and don’t assume your chosen brand design company knows your company or market intimately.


2. What are your business/organisation goals and why ?

How do these goals relate to the brand design project ?


3. What are your primary communication objectives and why ?

Are your trying to create greater brand/product awareness or sell more product ?


4. How do you differ from your competitors ? 

Be objective and tangible in the description of your differences.

What are their advantages and disadvantages compared to your business/product/organisation ?


5. Do you have industry, market or category insights ? 

Are they up-to-date ? It is essential to share this information with your brand design partners so they can develop an in-depth understanding of your needs. Have you completed formal/informal market research into to your market, product etc. ?


6. Do you need brand profiling and positioning work ? 

This will provide the strategic direction for your marketing activities, distinction within your business’s market and drive the inspiration for the creative delivery of your marketing messages.


Upside Down Bald Man


7. Are you revamping, relaunching your business/product/organisation or launching a completely new product/venture to market ?

If revamping or relaunching, how does your old offering compare with the new ? Does your brand/business/product/organsiation have an existing brand style guide ?


8. Who is your primary target market ?

What are their demographics and psychographics ? Describe them in detail.

If you have a secondary market or multiple audiences ? List them in terms of priority.


9. Have you considered the text content required for your project ? 

Do you need professional copywriting input ? How many languages do you need and do you need professional translation services ? A printed brochure or website will have an entirely different requirement and writing style to a brand packaging design project. Compile some raw copy where possible, even in short bullet form, to give some indication of your text content requirements.


10. Does your business, industry, market or organization have legal mandatory information which must be included in all your communications ?

Does your product or market have mandatory information such as colour coding which must be used in specific ways, on or in, your communications e.g. European egg packaging has EU colour coding for designated egg sizes ? If so, it is essential you provide all this information fully proofed, up front with clear guidelines on usage.


11. Do you need commissioned professional photography or illustration ? 

Does your project have specific visual content which should be included ? If so why and what is it ? 


12. What is the full remit of your brand design requirements ? 

Does it have a printed requirement (product design, stationery, brochures, display or exhibition stands, vehicle livery, direct mail, packaging, point of sale etc. all of which is your brand collateral) ? Does it have an online marketing requirement (website, ezine newsletter, Facebook presence, LinkedIn presence, Twitter etc.) ? Do you need a branded digital showreel, video or sales presentation using, for example, Power Point or Keynote ?


Upside Down Girl


13. Do you have industry or market category benchmarks ?

If so what are they ? Are these industry, cultural or category standards ? Your brand design team needs to know as much as possible to understand what is mandatory, what has worked/not worked to date and where they can aim to exceed and excel, to be distinctly different for long term competitive advantage


14. Do you need market research or focus group activity to test your new brand design outputs ? 

Don’t proceed with your launch on a hunch or worse still, your own personal preferences. Your personal preferences are not relevant if they don’t mirror those of your target market and even if they do you should still test and measure !


15. What is your budget ? 

Your chosen brand design experts need to know what your limitations and budget boundaries are to avoid a valuable waste of time and resources. They need to understand where and how they can achieve the best return for your money. 


16. What is your lead time or deadline for launch to market ?

Develop a detailed schedule with key milestones indicated e.g. consultation, concept development, market research, testing, photography, production, delivery and launch to market etc. Be realistic in your expectations. Unnecessary mistakes can be made if a complex project is rushed to market prematurely. Alternatively if the project must hit the market by a critical date then be upfront and honest. Some elements may need to be dropped or postponed to another occasion and a simpler solution offered to meet the deadline.


If you need a new name for a product, business or organization most of this information is just as essential for a brand name origination brief too.



Try not to be too prescriptive on the aesthetic aspects of the brand design brief. You want to get the best out of your chosen brand design team so you need to give them room to manoeuvre creatively.



Do you have anything else you’d like to add to these tips ?


Drop us a line, we’d love to hear your thoughts. 



Top 4 Brand Design Trends for Profitable Success

1. Brand Design Trends

Consumers have higher expectations and are much more demanding in their need for brand authenticity and integrity. Their trust must earned and sustained on a daily basis. Brands must engage emotionally with their customers if they really want to connect with nurtured longevity because consumers feel they own and have rights to freely offer opinions on the brands in their world. Never before has business collaborated so openly with their customers and the internet has provided an explosive platform on which to do it in a heart beat with heartfelt meaning!


This open platform of communication is also changing the parameters of brand design. Awareness of design among the general population has never been higher and will continue to grow. Remember the GAP fiasco in 2010. Success depends on a much broader range of criteria including flexibility, transparency, innovation, engagement and ethical design that cohesively supports communication and sharing across multiple channels and marketplaces. 


Online design must delivery as much on functionality as it does on brand aesthetics. Splash, flash and animation don’t necessarily deliver as effectively across all channels and increasing mobile connectivity requires functional, fluid, light interface designs with optimized content and clear navigation.


New Old Gap Logo


2. Brand Social Media Trends 

The most volatile, fast paced and ever changing of arenas. Social users are increasingly bombarded with content across multiple channels which means consequently they will become progressively more discriminate about the content they allow into their streams. Relentless promotions and excessive activity from brands can become overwhelming and irritating which in turn causes users to hide, filter or unsubscribe from brand updates as they endeavour to prioritise what’s really meaningful to them and who they want to hear from.


Brands will have to earn the right with quality content and/or rewards to be allowed or accepted into consumer’s streams. Truly compelling content will get noticed, “liked” and redistributed generating additional ripples into the marketplace. Shrewd brand managers will need to focus on engaging their market with relevant interchange and conversation together with supporting platforms in which their customers can express their opinions.


Also as increasing volumes of interaction take place on mobile devices, brand design interfaces will need to integrate this requirement seamlessly and congruently into all their platforms or channels of engagement.


Iphone4 2up Angle


3. Brand Packaging Design Trends

Packaging will increasingly need to deliver and exceed expectations in terms of functionality coupled with effective and aesthetically appropriate brand design. Todays consumers are shopping experts both on and offline. They share and make buying decisions based on other consumers opinions and ratings too. 


In retail supermarkets, brand designers have mere seconds to grab the attention of their target market and tempt them into trying or buying new products. New technologies can have even greater impact on the initial buying decision and ongoing repeat purchase e.g. where the packaging enhances the user experience or product longevity.


Reusable and sustainable packaging are increasingly important to environmentally conscious consumers and both issues can be an integral part of the brand message and indeed extend the brand message beyond the life of the product. Consumers are more thoughtful in their buying habits, considering not just the immediate product benefits but where and how the products are created and how they impact on the environment long term.


Country Crest Farming Pics 


4. Brand Authenticity & Purpose

Social purpose as a personal and business value is an integral part of society today and brands will need to work harder to make it central to how they do business and as part of their brand activity and brand story. Consumers don’t just buy products on face value, they look at how companies operate. 


Genuine validity is critical as brand custodians look to see how they can support society with true commitment. Brands must stand for something and engage emotionally with their target audiences which means brand design must also be beneficial in multiple ways including a expressing a real social conscience for true success.



Is your brand authentically engaging with it target audience ?


Does your brand have an opinion which connects with real emotion to its target market ?


Does your brand have an integrated policy for sustainability ?


Are you aware of how social media can and does impact your brand ?


Are you engaging strategically and thoughtfully for long term success ?


Drop us a line, we’d love to hear your feedback, opinion and thoughts !