Christmas 2017 Review



Christmas Review 2017

Grocer Performance

It’s a pretty similar story to 2016.

2016 Christmas grocer performance

2016 Christmas grocer performance

Retailers are showing sales growth across the board, but for market share, the picture isn’t so positive for many of the mults. Lidl and Aldi steal the show once again, showing remarkable growth in YoY sales (both up a staggering +16.8), and gains in market share. Iceland’s momentum seems to have slowed against the discounters however, with growth of +2.9 vs last years’ performance of +9.6. Waitrose, who normally benefit from shoppers trading up at Christmas time, actually lost market share this year.

A growing trend in convenience shopping habits weren’t enough to save The Co-op this Christmas, who lose share and experience a flat sales period where other retailers saw at least some increase.

But, how well did the retailers bring their ATL messages in-store?

We can’t give away all that detail just yet, but what we can share is our three top tips that will take you through to Christmas 2018.

  1. Be clear, concise and bold: Christmas is noisy. Use your brand’s assets wisely to make your product easily recognisable in a sea of ads. You don’t have to be Cadbury to make it work: what is your brand known for? Think about how you can bring that in-store.
  2. Work with the retailers: Speak to your buyers well in advance to understand their priorities and strategy for Christmas. Then incorporate this into your campaign planning. This will help you get more away and win support from the retailers.
  3. Are you nostalgic or predictable? Shoppers love classic executions like the Coke truck and Gold Fererro displays. These activations bring feelings of nostalgia and signify Christmas. But brands need to ensure that their displays aren’t getting old. Have you done the same thing years in a row? Think about a variation on a theme to keep shoppers inspired and intrigued by your brand. You’ll stand out all the more!

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Karen Costello Named Chief Creative Officer

The Martin Agency announced today that Karen Costello has been named chief creative officer, the first female CCO in the company’s 53-year history. 

Costello, who joined the agency as executive creative director in mid-2017, was charged with leading creative for all Mondelēz business, both global and domestic – a brand portfolio that includes OREO, RITZ, GOOD THiNS and Chips Ahoy!, and will remain on that business in addition to leading the agency’s overall creative efforts.

She and Jerry Hoak, formerly of Droga5, had taken interim lead creative roles in December of last year following the departure of former CCO Joe Alexander. Jerry will continue to have an elevated leadership role with a promotion to executive creative director and managing partner. 

Says Costello of her new role, “To have the opportunity to lead and work alongside some of the smartest, most talented and hugest-hearted humans in this industry is a privilege and an honor. Creating positive impact and change has also always been a huge part of what drives me so the added opportunity to work alongside a change agent like Kristen Cavallo, who shares that drive, just makes me even more excited to get to work.”

“What do Christiane Amanpour, Hoda Kotb, Robin Wright, Tina Smith, Bozoma Saint John and Karen Costello have in common? They are supremely talented women in their fields, who were there all along, ready to lead,” said Kristen Cavallo, CEO for The Martin Agency. “This isn’t overcorrection or an optics play. This is earned. This is preparation. This is opportunity, grabbed. I’m so excited for what’s ahead, I can’t stop grinning.”

Prior to joining Martin, Costello was executive creative director for Deutsch in Los Angeles, where she helped grow their office from 13 people to over 400 in its first few years and more recently had led creative for accounts including Target, Georgia-Pacific and Zillow.

During her 25-plus years in advertising, Costello has launched brands, created iconic, long-running campaigns and touched just about every category in marketing from cars to fashion to music.  

She has always loved a good challenge, and much of her recent creative work involved doing things that hadn’t been done before such as creating the first ever “living catalog” – a 24/7 live streaming event for Target’s Back to College, having kids create an entire back-to-school campaign and making history with the first music video ever created live on TV for Target and Gwen Stefani during the Grammys.

As the recipient of countless industry awards, Costello repeatedly appears on top creative lists, and most notably was named #3 on Business Insider’s list of top creative women in advertising.

Costello is a strong advocate of using creativity as a driver to create social change, inside and outside of the agency world. She has encouraged the creation and support of leadership roles for women in advertising, delivered keynotes nationwide about leveling the industry’s playing field, helped create humane work environments, built volunteer workforces to address local community needs, and worked on political campaigns.

Friday Reading #122

Namaste from everyone at Goodstuff, we are feeing particularly zen after this weeks FeelGood week activities. From some restorative yoga, to helpful financial wellbeing introductions (and who doesn’t need those in January?) we’re definitely feeling the good vibes over in Goodstuff HQ.

January is all about kicking bad habits, and this new short film by Us, is delightfully nostalgic, reminding us of all those Cautionary Tales and habits we’ve (hopefully) left in our childhood.

For anyone needing a bit of faith restored in humanity, Burger King’s truce with McDonalds is a refreshing attitude from brands, putting differences aside to share the goal of raising the most money possible for a good cause. 

And if that didn’t work for any of you cynics out there, take a look at these handy Instructions for World Peace. Max Siedentopf offers both silly but significant advice about making the world a better place, inspired by those infuriating tutorials that tell you “how to do absolutely-anything-you-could-think-of”.

While the merging of health care and technology is no new thing, more and more women are now putting their reproductive health in the hands of tech. This return to a more natural lifestyle that’s facilitated through technology is definitely prompting a larger discussion surrounding wellness.

Up for discussion: the importance of brand purpose. Have a read of these opposing views, one critique, and one defence, both offering some relevant and current opinions on corporate attempts to be socially relevant, calling out Cadbury’s, Pepsi, Heineken, Dove and McDonald’s.

Cadbury’s caught our attention once again this week, with this physical manifestation of the new Mum’s Birthday spot. Whilst the ad itself has come under fire, the physical version of the shop in the ad demonstrates how pop-up shops can be done effectively.

We hope you’re enjoying the new look Friday Reading, as part of the new year changes, we’re going to be publishing an op-ed from different people around the agency in the last Friday Reading of every month. Feedback is always welcome!

Why we should all be more Gen Z

As we enter into 2018, bouncers, bartenders and agency recruiters across the country are faced with a strange, inescapable fact; people born in the year 2000 are now becoming legal adults. While many companies are still trying to get their heads around the narcissistic, entitled, hoody wearing Millennials, they’re now faced with a whole new cohort of young people to understand. But there’s every reason to be hopeful, and maybe even to learn something from this new generation.

Millennials are generally defined as people who came of age around the year 2000, which puts them between 36, and anywhere from 25 to 19 depending on which particular definition you subscribe to. They grew up in the relative economic prosperity of the late 1990s, where the dawn of the internet age promised a glorious and exciting future – before social and economic turnmoil marred their steps into adulthood, defined by 9/11 and the global financial crisis. A generation who saw a bright future, and had it slip through their fingers.

The apathy felt by Gen X, the jaded children of industrial decline in the ‘80s, drove them to art, music and social rebellion, Millennials had their dreams and expectations collide with the reality of the world as they entered adulthood, while their successors had their eyes open from the beginning. Gen Z grew up in an age defined by immediate access to the world’s information, where the internet provides opportunities if you’re able to take hold of them.

Speak to a young person under 18, and it’s remarkable how conscientious and hard working they are. Stratospheric university fees and house prices don’t phase them, because they’ve never known anything else. This prudence could make them dull and dutiful, but it doesn’t. They don’t drink less than their forebears because of some modern puritanism or fear of their bank balance, but because they’ve found more joy and satisfaction in spending time with friends and family. In the virtues of exercise. Why spend half of Saturday lolling around feeling like death when you could have a couple less drinks on the night, remember the conversations with friends, then spend the morning doing something active?

This desire to suck all the marrow from life extends to their attitudes to work. It’s early days for their working lives, but it seems the spirit of entrepreneurialism is strong with Gen Z. They are willing and able to teach themselves skills alongside their core education, with some ditching the costs of university altogether to pursue flexible, multifaceted careers freelancing.

Learning new skills online is a given, and the self-directional nature of it empowers them with a sense of personal responsibility for how they shape their lives. This instils a social optimism that Millennials famously lacked, a sense of connection to the world that makes them feel they can change it for the better. Gen Z are more interested and active in social, racial and sexual equality and environmental protection than generations before them.

It’s easy to write them off as smartphone addicts with microscopic attention spans, glued to idiot YouTubers who’ll do anything for views – but scratch below the surface and there’s a lot to learn if we take the time to understand them.

Tim Whatley  |  Planning Account Director

Creative Inspiration: Content We Enjoyed this Winter

Long format we love you!

In the age of everyone having a blog, highly stylised long format can be what it takes to make your written content stand out. At Distilled we often ask ourselves does something being a blog post make it immediately feel less valuable than say, a white paper or a comprehensive guide? Is turning something into a simple blog post selling yourself short, is that format right for your content? With written content coming in so many forms from microblogging in tweets, to company e-newsletters, it’s important to find the right format for what you want to say, of course, sometimes that is with a simple blog post.

Each quarter at Distilled we look back over the content that has made us tick. Content that made us laugh, start heated debates, WOW at how pretty it is, or feel flabbergasted by the conclusions. Building on the 2017 summer and autumn roundup we launched last year, here’s what we loved (or loathed) with equal passion this winter. Starting with some beautiful long format journalism.

Poor Millennials – Highline Huffington Post

With so much content being churned out these days, one might argue that journalistic standards are slipping. Perhaps to fly the flag of quality, well-researched journalism once more, a select team at The Huffington Post has created a new arm called ‘Highline’. Each article features captivating movement as you scroll. Poor Millennials, which was 8 months in the making, discusses ‘Why millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression’. I found it relatable, even though I’m at the older end of the millennial spectrum.

The frank writing style and 8-bit illustrations pull you in. Pull quotes, stats and bold use of typography make this monster of a post easily digestible at a surface level if you don’t have half a half day to read the whole thing. The tone of voice is brash and allows you to feel justified in your bitterness towards the economy. The animations aptly depict millennials emotions in a very literal way, e.g. falling through space with no one to cushion your fall. There are graphs – in psychedelic pinks, and what feels like levels and character controllability, all harping back to the 90’s rave culture and gaming that millennials hold so dear.

Ungifted – Do The Green Thing

On the lead up to Christmas, we often run about like headless chickens buying up unnecessary bits and bobs for our loved ones, just because we need to get them something. ‘Do The Green Thing’ is a public service that uses creativity to tackle climate change. Needless to say, they would like to minimise the plastic tat lying in our landfills after the festive period. How? By inspiring us to give time not objects. And so ‘Do The Green Thing’ created ‘Ungifted’. It’s essentially a list of ways you can spend time with your friends/family, whether it be a winter bike ride, a night on the tiles, or a home-cooked meal. The long format page has little gifs depicting characters joyously appreciating these activities, and a long list of numerous ideas to incentivise our consumer society to change their habits. ‘Do The Green Thing’ could have easily added in stats about unwanted material gifts, or rubbish accumulated over Christmas to further bolster the message. The page presentation is fun, lighthearted, non-preachy, and not too content heavy. This makes content consumption, and subsequent change, more likely.

Find Your Happy Place – Budget Direct

Budget Direct – a car/travel/house insurance company – has collated data on the factors that affect living standards. The tool enables you to drag and drop a modular ordered list to define your own hierarchy for these standards. Is it house affordability or pollution which are most important to you? Once ordered the tool suggests in which city you might find your happy place. A more simplistic version of OECD’s Better Life Index. Suggesting a life in a far-off city, tells us something about ourselves and allows us to daydream about where we might be most happy. Perhaps we will even use Budget Direct to book our travel insurance when we visit there!

The Gourmand’s 10th issue – The Gourmand – Matthieu Lavanchy

The food and culture journal made waves with its 10th front cover. Working with photographer Matthieu Lavanchy they took food that had already been turned into an emoji, and turned it back into food… meta. The accuracy of the photography vs the emojis is uncanny. Taking icons we see regularly, and reimagining them makes you want to compare the photos to the icons on your phone, it gets you involved.

Thank you, Lamont – Lyft

Lyft is like Uber, a cab app. Lyft has created a series of videos where the premise is giving back to their drivers. They share individual, inspirational and memorable driver stories. With big faceless organisations, and especially those in low paid service industries, stories that show a human element – and even what a positive change working for this company has had on someone’s life – stick in your mind. Lamont, the driver featured here, talks about the world being his home as opposed to favouring one place (a great all-inclusive brand message). Lyft surprise him by encouraging his exploration of the world with an all-inclusive around the world trip.

Bullying Jr – Burger King in association with No Bully

Partnering with a charity can really help a brand if there’s synergy with their core messages. It shows the brand cares and is willing to use their clout to speak out to help raise awareness (or money) for those less fortunate. Burger King ‘bullied’ one of their own burgers, to help raise awareness of the impact of bullying. The narrative starts with a fact; ‘30% of students are bullied’. It then shows a bunch of school kids bullying another child. Customers in the Burger King restaurant look on, clearly moved by the scene that is unfolding before them. Yet the majority of spectators do nothing.

Then it’s the burger’s turn. Before it is wrapped up it receives a few sharp punches, flattening and breaking apart the bun whilst the filling spills out. 95% of customers complained about their burger having been bullied, yet only 12% stood up for the bullied child. This campaign isn’t aimed at the bullies themselves. Rather it exposes the impact of the uninvolved bystander, the witness. It asks them to stand up. To say something. This works for a fast food restaurant whose customers are a real mix of ages, including kids getting a quick bite to eat after school. It is the sort of place in towns where children congregate, everyone needs to eat and everyone has the potential to be bullied/see bullying. An eating place should be safe space, where communities can come together to rest and recoup.

Taste Face – Marmite

Marmite has released a face recognition tool and a gene test where the brand states that it knows if you are a lover or hater of Marmite. Marmite has always been brasher than any other brand in actively saying that its customers HATE its product, but now it reveals that science can work out your taste preferences. I actually quite like Marmite but I tried to trick the face recognition tool into believing I am a hater, by pulling my most disgusted face… and it worked, branding me ‘73% a born hater’. For me, the fascination here is more how the face recognition tool works out how much you love or hate something as opposed to it being an accurate test. Is it shareable? Yes! It’s a smart way of having a bit of fun and, of course, people like to share pictures of their own face!

X-Rated Elf – Poundland

Every now and again a brand does something controversial that gets everyone talking. Remember the recent outcry when Dove showed a black person turning into a white person? Personally, I don’t think this marketing effort aimed to be controversial, but conversation was drummed up nonetheless.

Well, some brands create controversy purposefully, shamelessly. How? By talking about teabagging… Ummmm. Yup, that’s right. That’s what Poundland made a figurine elf do for it’s Christmas campaign, which was released through a series of images on social. Other scenes showed a naked poker match (Joker Joker, I really want to poke her) and a penis shaped cactus drawn on an etch a sketch (That’s one prickly Christmas tree).

While some people found this hilarious, it had many others up in arms, calling it rude, offensive and misogynistic.  Poundland showed no remorse and was quoted saying ‘We’re proud of a campaign that’s only cost £25.53 and is being touted as the winning marketing campaign this Christmas!’ Poundland also threw caution to the wind by creating some unofficial brand partnerships with Barbie and Ken, and Twinings (who I believe asked them to remove their packaging from one of the scenes).

Holiday Video E-Card –  R&O Construction – Becca Clason

Sometimes a client’s service or product can seem so boring it’s hard to imagine how you can let your creativity run wild. Introducing Construction company R&O and its holiday E-Card by typographic genius Becca Clason. Complete with construction sound effects and Christmas music – the asphalt, sawdust and cement greeting card video really gives you that Christmassy feeling while keeping R&O and the creativity they are showing in mind. The sawdust makes up the words ‘Wishing You’ while the word ‘JOY’ is lowered into place with what seems like a crane. Christmas is a great time and excuse to send out little reminders of your company.

Memory Powered Tree – Marie Curie

This Christmas, Marie Curie created a memory-powered Christmas tree next to the London Eye in Waterloo. Each time a memory was shared on social using the hashtag #LightUpChristmas, lights on the tree would shine a little brighter. This gave people a place to congregate to share memories of lost loved ones, and to celebrate the memories of those still with us too. Having a stunt in such a public space with a high footfall makes it a real talking point, and the activity makes you feel you’re part of a community – coming together to make a little magic happen.

Memories or money –

It’s important to drill down to the specifics of what you are selling with your product or service. Are you selling insurance, or peace of mind? Are you selling games or laughter? What sells is not holidays, it’s memories. It’s the romantic time you had in Venice, or how you were flabbergasted by the scenery in Alberta. It’s that wonderful memory that you will always have with you that matters. That is what you’re spending your money on.

In the video, a handful of people discuss their most poignant or exciting memories. A woman in a lab coat then asks if it’s ok to delete those memories for a fee. The participants (quite rightly) are horrified by the notion and say ‘no’, showing that the memories made are priceless. The video acts as an incentive to book a holiday and make more of those priceless memories.

What content have you enjoyed lately? Let us know in the comments.

How To Solve A Work Problem Above Your Pay Grade (And Not Overstep)

You already know not to openly complain about the stuff that’s bugging you around your office. But discretion won’t get it solved.

Whether you love or hate your job, there’s probably at least one thing you wish you could change about your company, office, or even your own team that seems beyond your control. The easy part is acknowledging the problem; the much harder part is talking to senior leaders about the changes you’d like to see made–without overstepping or sounding like a know-it-all. Here’s what it takes.

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Friday Reading #121

The dreaded Blue Monday has come and gone – made better every year at Goodstuff by spinning our prize wheel every hour, on the hour, giving one different lucky Goodstuffer a prize to brighten their day. Wednesday saw us host the Goodies at the Curzon in Bloomsbury – Goodstuff’s chance to celebrate the great individuals and teams who work here, and the great work they produce. Thanks to some generous donations, our soon to be famous winners will appear in the Evening Standard, and across OOH sites on Monday! 

According to Twitter Monday really is the worst day of the week. Looking at Tweets starting way back in 2008 to present, analysis of sentiment shows the most commonly used words vary across days of the week, with words relating to happiness crashing on a Sunday evenings and well and truly burning on Mondays.

Good news for lovers for of gin and spas – A gin themed spa has opened in Glasgow, botanically inspired by gin.

They’ll probably have a lot of time on their hands through January.

Want to know what’s happening in your body AND put your heating on at the same time? Well now you can using your pants – smart underwear company Myant have launched a new range of garments.

Want to go on holiday, but don’t want to leave your pooch (or your chickens) alone all week? Now you don’t have to – EasyJet has partnered with TrustedHousesitters to offer people unlimited house and pet sitting when they sign up for a membership and travel with the airline.

The modern-day pizza delivery experience is relentless. Ordering and delivering a pizza requires absolutely minimal effort these days from everyone involved. You can ask Alexa or send an emoji to a chatbot, and then a self-driving car will deliver it to you. Check out Toyota’s plans to collaborate with Dominoes to create autonomous delivery vehicles.

Google are using selfies to find peoples art doppelgangers through their Art & Cultures app, showcasing tech’s growing role in evolving the arts. Warning: it’s not always that flattering. 

Adidas are creating 500 pairs of limited edition trainers, in collaboration with Berlin’s transport authority to celebrate their 90th anniversary. They have a fabric annual pass sewn into the tongue allowing travelers in Berlin to ride the metro system for free until December 2018, and they even match the coloured pattern on the seats.

Nintendo is experimenting with ‘new ways of playing’ involving DIY cardboard accessories, which turn into a fishing rod and a piano amongst other things, for it’s new initiative, Nintendo Labo. 

Everyone knows January is the worst time to go to the gym… too many people and no free equipment. Why not start your year off in a VR gym? According to the founder of BlackBox VR: “Black Box combines the addictive qualities of gaming and the power of immersive technologies … to improve your fitness level and transform your life”