Crisps and Conversations

I’ve been a bit of a sceptic about interactivity and FMCGs. Most of the time they just create digital litter.

Maybe it’s just because I’m a big fan of crisps. But Walkers seem to be doing some peculiarly interesting things around conversations and their brands.

Firstly the brilliant ‘Do Us a Flavour’ campaign. (If you’ve not seen it, they’re getting people to submit new flavors of potato chips. If you submit the winning flavour you get £50k and a 1% share of the profits from the new flavour).

The site’s got a lot of shortcomings. It doesn’t handle duplicates at all well, and the searching isn’t up to scratch. But it obviously doesn’t matter that much to people: 130,000 pages of entries – 6 to a page – gives almost 800,000 flavours submitted. That’s bloody incredible.

But they deserve it. They’ve built the campaign around a great question. A superb conversation starter. I’ve ended up two or three times now in conversations where people have got really excited about coming up with interesting new and bizarre flavours of crisps. And debating what would actually sell. What’s likely to win. Etc. etc. etc.

It’s a brilliant user generated content idea becuase anyone can do it. You don’t have to have any technical skills whatsoever. It’s just about imagining something. And something that almost all of us will have an opinion on whether we’ve thought about it before or not.

Once the submissions round is over. They’re going to manufacture the judges favourite top 6 flavours and let the public choose which of them wins. Generating trial / sales and driving even more conversations. As a genuinely integrated campaign I think it’s quite brilliant.

And now they’ve re-launched Monster Munch crisps. But they’ve not made a new version. Instead they’ve reverted to the old one.


What’s so clever about this is that they’ve tapped into a conversation that’s been going on for decades amongst crisp fanciers. Everyone knows that the old Monster Munch were bigger. They were ‘the biggest snack pennies can buy’. And they had really cool big monsters advertising them. It’s the kind of thing that pops up in those terrible ’50 reasons why things aren’t as good as they used to be’ nostalgiawank TV shows.

Anyway they’ve made them like they used to be again. And I love the ‘old’ flash on the top corner of the pack.

And if you’re wondering how big they are now. This is how big…


Apparently there’s a new website coming soon too. I’m not holding out a lot of hope for it being the next brilliant thing online. If they follow the normal FMCG template it’ll be all about the monsters. Maybe some flims? Perhaps embeddable / sendable monsters? Monster games? I hope they do something really nice though. Building on what they’ve done so far.

And just in case you don’t remember the original Monster Munch monsters from the TV ads…

What Advertising Can Learn From Radiohead

I wasn’t going to blog about the House of Cards video and it’s brilliant integration with Google and the geekosphere. I wasn’t going to blog it because everyone else has. It is bloody brilliant though. Yet another example of how Radiohead really understand the importance of context.

So I wasn’t going to post it, then I realised it’s a golden opportunity for me to share a presentation I did at the Online Marketing and Media Show last month. I got invited by NMA to talk on a Creative Directors Showcase thingy. Me, Flo from Dare, Sam from Lean Mean Fighting Machine and Dom from Glue all got to chat about things we’ve seen recently that we like. The other guys all did a great job and showed us lots of cool online / mobile advertising things.

Instead of doing it on something that I liked, I chose to do 5 minutes on Radiohead ;-)

Basically it’s all about how I don’t like Radiohead, but how, through being interesting and innovative, they’ve made me like the ‘idea’ of Radiohead. Imagine if normal brands could do that. Make you care about products you don’t even like that much. I reckon there’s stuff we can learn from the ‘head.

I tried to format it for online video as best as I could (I added some extra words so it can be followed without me speaking, and I put some music in it to stop it feeling too silent) – but I’m not good enough at that kind of thing to make all the timings quite right, so please forgive any bits that feel too slow or too fast.

I hope no-one minds that I used their footage in there. I specifically use the examples of:

I’ve just noticed that Radiohead are a bit shit at search engine optimisiation though. With page titles like this:


How is anyone supposed to find them. Like anyone will look for all those spaces and underscores ;-)

Admission: I really posted this because I had an odd experience in the pub on Tuesday night, a bloke approached me and asked if I’d done a presentation on Radiohead. He’d seem me do it. Live. I felt almost famous. For a second.

Spot the Bull is Back!

Spot the Bull

Orange’s Spot the Bull is back. And this time it’s bigger and better than before. Now featuring:

  1. team play allowing you to win up to 8 tickets per group
  2. live multi-cam video streaming from the field
  3. real time stats and bull-tracking enabling strategic play
  4. and much more besides

If you want to win Glastonbury tickets this is officially the biggest ticket givaway competition in the world – so get stuck in. Today is the first day of it going live so if you get in there fast you’ll be in with a good chance of winning tickets.

Play Spot the Bull now. And get your friends to play with you, you’ll get increased chances of winning more tickets, honestly :-)

If anyone wants more info on the project just give me a shout and I’ll be happy to furnish you with what I know.

Outsourcing In-Housing And All That Jazz

The Men From The Agency

I’ve been having lots of bollocksy conversations with ‘industry types’ about whether doing production in-house or outsourcing it is the right thing to do. I’ve always been of the opinion that you need at least a good core of production in-house. Otherwise you miss out on lots of things – especially if you’ve got a good culture of sharing ideas, inspirations, frustrations and stuff.

I don’t think that’ll necessarily always be the case. If the digital side of the industry reaches a point of maturity that could always change. But given the fact that it’s an open platform that anyone can add to and help to extend and evolve I don’t see it being mature (in all respects) any time soon.

I was reminded that I’d not posted anything about this when I was watching the rather super Men From The Agency on BBC4 on Sunday Night. It’s about CPD who I’ve written about before. And Richard wrote a very good thing about how they were a New Media agency when this documentary was aired back in 2006.

The thing that made me think about the in-house/outsource debate was the way that Alan Parker and Ridley Scott used to be a totally vital and key part of the creative team. Making films in the basement of the agency and pushing what could be done in terms of ‘making stuff’. Perhaps I’m not familiar enough with the types of relationships that agencies have with directors and production companies today. But from the little experience I have, this looked like a much tighter unit.

It was only later on that Parker went and set up a separate production company at the request of some senior CDP dudes (if I remember correctly and I might not, I was nodding-off slightly at this point). I’m guessing that this departure and separation was at a point where they’d collectively made their point in terms of creative use and evolution of the medium.

When I say I’m guessing, I really am. But I felt that there was a parallel that helped me to self-justify my myopic view of the world even further. So I’m going to ride it until someone tells me I’m wrong.

Advertising Ads

In spite of the heinous typo I love this sign (from a little newsagents just off Brick Lane).

I haven’t seen anything that encapsulates quite so wonderfully the problem with a lot of the online advertising that is floating around aimlessly in cyber-space. There’s so many things (good and bad) that no-one has ever seen (or will ever see).

Some obvious causes of invisible web marketing properties:

  • It’s just not plugged in to the rest of the web properly.
  • Or it’s not interesting or talk-able enough.
  • Or sometimes it’s just plain rubbish and no-one wants to see it.

The answer: Advertise your ad(d)s – and it’s only a quid!

Geometry Wars – Particle Man

This ad for Geometry Wars I liked. It’s almost another kind of entertaining demo, sort of:

It makes me smile and chuckle.

They’ve also got some bonkers online advertising which I can’t actually find right now. And the website is also pretty odd. In a kind of retro-kitch-gaming way: – it’s far from being a good site, but it does a nice job of continuing the lo-fi old school vibe (I like the 3 types of navigation you can pick too).