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Are Limited Marketing Courses Affecting Recruitment?



RPM’s Head of Creative, Neil Hooper, questions whether limited Marketing courses are affecting recruitment.

Marketing courses at Universities are somewhat limited. I say this because I have been in touch with a number of lecturers who are all still using curriculums written five years ago and are desperate for more current and up to date industry insight. Many of them have also been removed from the industry for just as long, so how are students supposed to know what’s really happening out there? As a result of these restrictive and outmoded courses, students are emerging out of University without a real grasp of Below the Line advertising and equipped with a very limited impression of the Marketing landscape. I’ll often see portfolios which include one piece of advertising, a piece of ambient media and an app, and this is all they’ve been taught.

From my research, I don’t believe there is a significant Below the Line Marketing course out there and Universities are not taking into account the rapidly changing industry landscape, in which agencies are becoming more and more integrated. Most courses will try and dip their toes into the water of ‘integrated’ but no one is actually doing it. At RPM we execute in a significant number of channels, and the challenge with this is to recruit talent into the industry that can work across multiple disciplines.  In order to save agencies with training time and costs, I believe that University courses should do a lot more to inform and educate students, which should also include a year out in the industry.

There’s No Place Like Home….(when it comes to Marketing).


Stephanie Wollenberg, RPM’s PR Manager, discusses the appeal of the homely environment during Experiential campaigns.

We’re currently working with Smirnoff on their pre-mix sampling campaign. The brief is to build a sampling stand that replicates the comfort of the home environment to highlight that pre-mix can be enjoyed in the home just as commonly as wine or beer. This brought me on to consider the look and feel of any experiential space, which I’ve often found most effective when replicating the comfort of a  home.

The appeal of a homely environment has always attracted consumers, and is something Marketers should bear in mind when creating an engaging brand experience. I can count copious times for example when I’vechosen a restaurant specifically because the chairs and tables reminded me of the wooden decor we have at home, or because their low lighting and cushioned sofas were cosy and living room-esque.

This isn’t the only evidence of course! In July last year, Jacques Cider created the Jacques Cider Townhouse in which visitors could enter and experience a quintessential English tea party with an added Jacques Twist. Queues formed outside the (front) door and the campaign was extremely successful. It would be interesting to know whether the campaign would have had the same results had it been hosted within a snazzy London bar with shining, modern interiors. Hollister, the clothing brand, have also used ‘the home’ to appeal to consumers. Their stores are built within a house-like structure, and inside they’re decorated to match pleasant interiors with rich fabrics and sofas to rest your feet.

Direct Marketing to the home can also work well. Last year, we created a campaign for popular board game Cranium to broaden the appeal to families in the run up to Christmas. We targeted families by sending the game directly to their homes, asking players to upload their ‘dream team’ for a chance to win a Cranium Party Night gift pack. Players were then also encouraged to upload the best images of their party night to win a holiday to a destination of their choice. This campaign was successful because ultimately consumers are at their most comfortable when in the home environment and are therefore more likely to be receptive to Marketing when they don’t feel ‘forced’ into participation.

This is definitely something to consider when we think about Engagement.

Cavemen Didn’t Write Lists


Account Director, Tom Lovegrove explains how strory telling could be a key ingredient for Marketing campaigns. Marketers listen up…

Cavemen didn’t have lists. No great surprise there I know. They didn’t have pencils. But a means did evolve where important knowledge could be shared between individuals, groups and across generations. A way that information could be easily retained, recalled and repeated without reference to a physical record: the art of storytelling.

The evolution of our brains has not progressed much from our pre-writing, cavemen days.  We still absorb information best via a narrative structure. Even when the ability to write did develop, it was still through stories that knowledge and ideas were shared.  A quick flick through most religious texts shows how religions rely on narrative to explain themselves and inform the faithful.

Many brands do use stories in their communications with their customers but often this is little more than a heritage story on the website or in the brochure.  Storytelling as a marketing tool has far greater potential.  True brand engagement is more than just raising awareness; it’s about active participation. A campaign’s success cannot be measured only by the number of contacts. The extent of the contact and the depth of engagement is far more important. What could be more engaging to our cavemen brains than a good story? 
But it shouldn’t just be the stories brands tell about themselves. The broad range of channels at the disposal of modern marketers creates opportunities for much more; to encourage the consumer to participate and become co-creators in a communal story of many layers.  This kind of story can illustrate a brand’s values in a much deeper more meaningful way. The award winning Gatorade Replay campaign is a brilliant example. It uses multiple channels to tell stories around a central theme. Like all the best stories the premise is simple yet compelling. But what makes the campaign so extraordinary is the level of audience engagement and how the audience participates in the creation of the story.

In a world saturated by multi-media, the greatest challenge facing a brand is grabbing the attention of a consumer. Many brands respond by shouting louder than the competition, using ever more extreme ideas to grab attention for maybe 20 or 30 seconds.

Perhaps it’s not about shouting louder.  If a story can be told that has a compelling beginning, an absorbing middle and a satisfying end, a story that everyone can participate in and can contribute to, then people will pause. They will give their attention and their time. What’s more they’ll want to share the story with others because, perhaps, an even greater pleasure than being told a good tale is telling it.

Artist Takes Engagement To The Max

Anonymous artist ‘JR’ takes engagement to the max. A worthy winner of the infamous TED Prize, (awarded to an individual who ‘wishes big enough to change the world’) JR has created a large-scale participatory art project that uses photography to enable the public to discover, reveal and share the untold stories and images of people around the world.

JR and his team have travelled around the globe, taking black and white photographs of locals and digitally transforming these into posters. The posters are then sent them back to the community to be placed around the town and the locations for these exhibitions are limitless; ranging from abandoned buildings, to train tops tops,to crumbling village walls.

JR’s pervasive art spreads uninvited upon the buildings of Parisian slums, walls in the Middle East, broken bridges in Africa or in favelas in Brazil and people in the exhibit communities, those who often live with the bare minimum, find themselves at the centre of each display. Elderly women for example become models for a day and even kids turn into artists for a week.

Check out this brilliant film detailing the processes he went through to create such an awe-inspiring project.

This Week’s Best In Brand Engagement

Mini is launching an online and press campaign targeting people’s subconscious, to prompt them to reveal when they’re in the market to buy a new car. The ads are based on the phenomenon that people often see things based on what’s in their subconscious. The ads show an outline of a Mini appearing in the most unlikely places, such as in jam on a piece of toast. The strapline reads: “Mini on your mind?”  

The Economist
The Economist have created a large billboard fitted with an extra large light bulb. Every time someone walks underneath it, the light bulb lights up, helping to highlight the intellectual/idea driven content to the magazine. 

Burberry used the 32 meter digital screen in London’s Piccadilly Circus to stream its Autumn Winter 2011 collection live to audiences. It’s the first time an event has even been live-streamed on the iconic screen. The show was also streamed globally in Burberry flagship stores worldwide, creating virtual events where the audience could ‘buy from the runway’. Viewers could also download music tracks from the show. 

Green Peace
Green peace’s new website, created by DDB Paris, asks visitors to purchase a piece of the new Rainbow Warrior ship. The site allows visitors to explore all areas of the ship, and there are thousands of items for sale, everything from shower heads to zodiac boats. Shoppers will be rewarded with a certificate of purchase and their name will be added to a dedication wall on the real Rainbow Warrior.

 Coca Cola
Coca Cola has created the happiness machine delivering “doses” of happiness in the streets of Rio De Janeiro. The Coke branded truck parks in random spaces and waits until curious passersby press the button on the van to ‘release happiness,’ giving consumers drinks and gifts. Spotted on the streets of Brazil, where will happiness strike next?

Valentine’s Day Campaigns

Without wanting to break tradition I’m going to say it, but just once.


“Happy Valentine’s Day!” 

To really get you in the mood, feast your eyes on RPM’s top five Valentine’s campaigns, ideas and events sourced by our Planning and Concept team.

1.Ever fancied proposing underwater surrounded by aquatic fish? If the answer is yes, then the London Aquarium is the place for you. This weekend, it’s offering an underwater proposal service, whereby those wishing to pop the question can arrange for a diver to emerge with a personalised sign.

2.For all you ‘anti-valentiners’, Funthyme supper club is hosting a ‘jog on cupid’ special this Valentines day, through a pop up dining experience in Dalston. Couples and singles can escape the traditional Valentines meals by coming together for a feast of great food and live music.

3.Gourmet pie is producing a special-edition pack design just in time for Valentine’s Day. Maintaining the brand’s tongue-in-cheek style, they’ve used red logos and a special cartoon of a naked couple dining together. The Valentine packs will appear in Waitrose and on the Ocado website for one week only.

4.Orange is turning tweets into animated love stories for Valentines Day. People submit their tweets using #feedlovestories, and a day later, Orange upload the animations. The films then appear on YouTube and on the Orange website under ‘The Feed.’

5.Nike are setting hearts ‘racing’ this Valentines Day by producing a novelty pair of red trainers covered with hearts, only for girls.

The RedBulletin- Red Bull’s Magazine

It’s interesting to see that Red Bull have produced ‘The Red Bulletin’ magazine in association with The Sunday Telegraph; an adventure inspired glossy that covers extreme sports, travel, edgy art and the hippest music scenes. Every one of these topics of course features against sharp Red Bull related editorial and large photographic images of Red Bull’s latest projects-BUT-it’s a great way of building a brand personality.

For example, once you’ve read the magazine from page to page, Red Bull becomes an even more thrill seeking, trendy and cultured brand; one that you would like to be associated with. If Red Bull were a person, he (or she) would be the cool kid at school, head of the sports teams, or the thrill seeking adrenalin junkie trying out every adventure under the sun.

The Red Bulletin is published monthly in eight countries worldwide and, apologies if I’ve been slow on the pickup with this, but either way it’s still an innovative idea to me and a great way to engage the consumer.

Local Social Summit: ‘Two Sides to Every Story, a Local Social Case Study’ Social Media Week Event

PR Manager Steph Wollenberg, attended Social Media event ‘Two Sides to Every Story’ where a burger invasion was most certainly on the cards…

Down Grey’s Inn Road sits Andreas Cafe, an old and battered greasy spoon; the owner of which serves up to ‘400 fried breakfasts in just two hours’ every morning. This is where Daniel Young, Founder of Young and Foodish, decided to host his pop-up Social Media event, ‘Two Sides to Every Story’ as part of London’s Social Media Week. 
 The purpose of the small gathering (30 people attended) was to discuss the encounter between the big Burger King corporation and Daniel, after he decided to invade Burger King at Waterloo Station with a string of red t-shirted burger fans. The ‘invasion’ was drummed up via Twitter and Facebook, through which Burger King caught wind and decided to get involved; bridging the divide between the big dog and the underdog. Jack Clothier of Cow PR (who represent Burger King) spoke at last night’s event, claiming that he decided to come down to Burger King armed with two chefs, who then cooked up a special ‘Atomic Whopper’ burger for Daniel and his clan. As Daniel and Jack discussed the event in unison last night, what was interesting was the collaboration between them on such a small happening and it was nice to see corporates like Burger King taking an active interest in Social Media, and Daniel’s subsequent invasion.

Jack jokingly touched on his reservation to come down to Burger King that day without pre-warning Daniel. Neither of them knew much about the other, and it was like two strangers meeting with secret agendas, which thankfully for Daniel, worked out perfectly.
The first hour of last night’s event was greetings, pop corn and networking, shortly followed by the most delicious burger I’ve ever had, prepared by O’Shea’s of Knightsbridge. The thick slabs of meat were 100% Black Angus Beef, complimented by soft seeded buns and a slice of mouth watering melted cheese. Cupcakes from Beas of Bloomsbury and speeches then followed, with speeches from Daniel, Jack and Dylan Fuller from Local Social Summit.

The evening ended with a complimentary Burger King goodie bag (of course), which I was surprised to find contained a Burger King perfume, containing ‘Flame Grilled’ essence. (Do people actually wear this?). To watch the un-edited ‘invasion’ of Burger King by Daniel and his foodie followers, click here.

Thinking Inside The Box

In order to promote the new movie Coraline, written and directed by Henry Selick, animation studio, Laika, commissioned Weiden+Kennedy to come up with a new solution to ‘Reinvent the way you market a movie’.Now as we all know most movie promotions consist of dodgy press releases, CD ROMs or badly produced flyers, yet Weiden+Kennedy took thinking outside the box to a new level, and actually created one!

Miniature handmade boxes containing original artifacts from the film itself were sent to key online bloggers, and such attention to detail brought the film to life, causing the media frenzy they were looking for. One commenter on the campaign said: “Tactile involvement with the world around us is always going to be more interesting than the virtual spaces we create. Don’t get me wrong, I love the power and flexibility of digital media, but you can’t ever beat the sensations of physically interacting with real things.”

Interesting food for thought when it comes to Experiential advertising…

Are We All Going Grooming Mad?

As brands tap into the grooming trend, PR Manager Steph Wollenberg looks into the rise of pop-up salons.

I’ve been pondering of late, (in between nail polishing, leg massages and fish spas) on the uprising trend for personal ‘grooming’; and it would seem i’m not the only one. Brands are now tentatively tapping into the fact that-let’s face it-we’ve become a vainer society, and are using it as a focus for Marketing activity. Pop-up grooming salons for example seem to be filling our high street stores quicker than you can say ‘tinted-moisturizer’.

This year, Tesco’s are tapping into the Health and Beauty sector in a rather dramatic fashion. The retail giant plans on opening 70 new beauty stores across the country. Similarly Men’s magazine ‘Stylist’ is also launching a pop-up Gentleman’s Lounge in Harrods, including products such as Gillette Razors and ‘Nubo Cell Dynamic’s The Essence’, (that’s anti-aging serum for those not familiar).

Male grooming isn’t just a ‘London thing’. In October 2010, Crown Royal Whisky opened up a pop-up Crown Royal Barbershop in New York, with barbers on hand for a whole month to clip away to their customer’s content.

If you want to witness one of these pampering pop-ups sooner rather than later, head to Edinburgh this Saturday for avant garde hairdresser Debbie Taylor’s pop-up hair salon. The event, taking place in a bar called GHQ, is called ‘Debbie Does Do’s’ and will also feature local designers showcasing their collections.