Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

Orange and T-Mobile share each other’s signal – inspriring advertising

October 29, 2010

I saw the above advertisement when I was riding the tube on a very busy day. The advertisement did not make much sense to me and did not really notice the company being advertised. I was intrigued by the simplicity of the statement in the block letters, having not noticed the fine print, I was puzzled, as the ad did not seem to pitch for any particular product or service.

And then it made perfect sense. Not because I had noticed that the advertisement was running in the corporate identity of a specific company I knew beforehand, but because I saw the advertisement next to this one that explained everything. Orange and T-Mobile, two UK mobile phone carriers, were joining forces and sharing each other’s signal.

And just as the companies decided to share their signals, they decided to share their advertising space. After my first encounter, I just kept glancing the dual advertisements from Orange and T-Mobile. Appearing in each company’s corporate identity, they seem to complement each other. but also keep their own identity. Just as it is supposed to be with the companies being advertised.


[images © respective owners]


Virgin Active supports Richard Branson’s kitesurfing – inspiring advertising

September 2, 2010

Virgin is no stranger to exquisite marketing campaigns, well-orchestrated PR stunts and imaginative advertisements. It therefore comes as so surprise that one of its latest advertisements, appearing on the web and in posters at selected Virgin Active gyms, has won my seal of “inspiring advertising”.

At first sight, the advertisement tries to convey a simple message. Virgin Active is supporting Sir Richard Branson’s latest challenge to kite-surf the English channel in celebration of his 60th birthday. But the advertisement manages to deliver this message with a twist that is guaranteed to make you laugh. The copy reads:

“To celebrate his 60th birthday Richard Branson is kitesurfing the English channel. Virgin Active is proud to sponsor him, but we have a question to ask: when is he going to start acting his age?” The text is in a red, Virgin branded poster bearing a white caricature of Sir Richard Branson in kitesurfing gear.

The result might look effortless, but I am sure it took several hours of brainstorming and editing to accomplish. And it stands as a proof that you can turn seemingly boring and uninteresting message to one, which can leave an everlasting impression.


P.S.: You can find Sir Richard Branson’s microsite for his 60th birthday celebrations here.

[image © Virgin Active]

Amnesty International Shell AGM – inspiring advertising

May 31, 2010

Almost 2 weeks ago, when I was browsing the free metro newspaper unsuspected. I came across Amnesty‘s advertisement about Shell‘s AGM and was immediately taken by it. The advertisement was a full page, was very short and the combination of a powerful graphic plus very short – but very powerful – copy left a long lasting impression to me.

The advertisement was based on a contrast: the champagne toast of the Shell AGM executives, celebrating a record of profits, and the polluted drinking water that the inhabitants of the Niger delta are drinking because of Shell’s pollution in the region. It aimed to raise awareness about this region in the Africa continent, that has been allegedly devastated as a result of Shell’s actions and to portray, once again, that profits should not come before people.


P.S.: image © respective owner

Catch It. Bin It. Kill it – inspiring and uninspiring advertising

November 8, 2009

If you live in London or in the UK, it is impossible not to have noticed the Department of Health and NHS advertisements on how we can contain cold and influenza germs and avoid infecting surfaces by using a tissue to catch a sneeze or cough. The campaign was made because of the recent H1N1 flu pandemic, also known as swine flu pandemic. The campaign shows how fast germs can spread by a person sneezing in various surroundings and visualizing how the particles spread by painting them white or green. The copy of the advertisements is simple: “Cold and flu germs can live on some surfaces for hours. Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Bin the tissue, and to kill germs, wash your hands with soap and water, or use a sanitiser gel. This is the best way to help slow the spread of flu.”. The first series of ads, ended with the strapline: “Catch it. Bin it. kill it”.

This is very simple, efficient and inspiring advertising. Lately, we have also seen some commercial advertising that capitalises on the success of the “Catch it. Bin it. Kill it” NHS campaign to sell various cleaning products. The advertisements sometimes use the exact catchphrase of the NHS campaign or minor modifications and sometimes they use similar images. This is uninspiring advertising.

Below are some samples I could find:

Advertisement for antiviral tissues, using the same strapline as the NHS campaign

Advertisement for antibacterial soap, using similar strapline as the NHS campaign


Advertisement for cleaning liquid, using similar images as the NHS campaign

I do not have any objection with companies and advertising agencies supporting the NHS campaign by embedding the strapline in their advertisement, although I do have some objections if the public associate the strapline with a particular product. It’s just that if one company can do this, so can another, which is evidently what happened in this case, making the idea of associating a product with the strapline of another campaign unoriginal.

And a small note for the public: you do not need a particular brand of antibacterial soap or cleaning detergent to get rid of flu germs and unwanted bacteria. If you do your cleaning properly, a simple soap or ordinary detergent is equally efficient in removing all traces of flu germs.


P.S.: You may also want watch the NHS “Catch it. Bin it. Kill it” TV ads.

Olympic Air – inspiring advertising

October 30, 2009

It has been a while since I wrote an inspiring advertising post, but I recently came across some really good samples of advertising that I just had to share with you.

Olympic Airways was the flag carrier airline of Greece and until recently a state owned national airline. The name was coined by Aristotelis Onassis in 1957, the famous Greek shipping tycoon, who bought T.A.E. Greek National Airlines from the Greek state in 1956 and decided to rename it the next year. The company developed very rapidly under Onassis’ ownership and gained panhellenic recognition and acceptance. After the death of his son Alexandros in a plane crash in 1973, Onassis decided to sell all shares of Olympic Airways back to the Greek state.

Since then, a series of improper management decisions and growing competition from other European airlines resulted in the demise of the company and the creation of serious financial problems. In 2003, in an attempt to restructure the company, Macedonian Airlines, a subsidiary of Olympic Airways, was renamed Olympic Airlines and took over the flight operations of Olympic Airways. The old, debt-ridden company, Olympic Airways, ceized to exist.

The solution was temporary and unsuccessful. Olympic Airlines soon collected more debts and the company was ordered to repay 700 million Euro it received as state aid from the Greek state. With an ageing fleet, bad services and a bad punctuality record, it was only a matter of time before the company collapsed . Only its name, “Olympic”, reminded of its cosmopolitan, but nevertheless, long-gone past.

It, therefore, came as a surprise when Marfin Investment Group declared an interest to buy the its flight operations and technical base in 2009. After 35 years of state ownership, Olympic Air, the new company name, became private again and started operations on 1 October 2009.

The reason I mention the history of Olympic Air is simple. After many years of improper management, Olympic Airlines was left with only with only one legacy: its glorious name. Therefore, the agency undertaking the project of creating new advertisements would have a very difficult task. Not only would they have to assure us that the company has escaped problems of the past but they would need to convince us it can compete with the other domestic and European airlines.

The advertisements were based on a simple, yet elegant and powerful, idea: the wishes and expectations Greeks have about Olympic Air; their inner desire to see a company, deeply rooted in the history and the traditions of Greece, succeed yet again. Three prelaunch spots were introduced in Greek TV before the official inauguration of the company – and the official launch spot – on 1 October 2009. Those spots depicted people in several recognisable locations in Greece and abroad, writing their wishes in post-it notes. You can see the spots here:

Prelaunch Spot 1:

The wishes are (in order of appearance): “Have good journeys” (man close to bridge), “You can do the best” (basketball player), “In good faith” (man in house), “I expect a lot” (man with globe), “We love you” (couple in the sea at Chania port), “Make the difference” (man in block of flats). The commercial concludes with “From the 1st of October, the new era of Olympic Air commences. (pause) Olympic Air. Greece aloft”.

Prelaunch Spot 2:

The wishes are “We are connected with you” (man on shipping crane), “At last” (student looking at Tower Bridge in London), “Can’t wait” (expecting woman and husband), “With you” (woman writing under a bridge), “Always high” (man on a mountain). The commercial again concludes with “From the 1st of October, the new era of Olympic Air commences. (pause) Olympic Air. Greece aloft”.

Prelaunch Spot 3:

The wishes are: “I feel proud” (woman close to the new Acropolis museum), “You are in our hearts” (woman at the White Tower of Thessaloniki), “I am flying, I am flying” (child at the beach), “Can’t wait” (expecting woman and husband), “With you” (woman writing under a bridge), “Always high” (man on a mountain). The commercial again concludes with “From the 1st of October, the new era of Olympic Air commences. (pause) Olympic Air. Greece aloft”.

And then watch the final launch spot, based on the post-it notes ideas of the prelaunch spot.

Final launch spot:

At the start, we hear some of the wishes included in the prelaunch spots. The advertisement concludes “With the wishes of all Greeks, Olympic Air spreads its wings and rises where it belongs; truly aloft. (pause) Olympic Air. Greece aloft”.

The combination of the masterful locations and images, the emotional music by Evanthia Remboutsika and the feelings of expectations they create, make those spots truly remarkable.


Coca Cola – inspiring advertising

August 31, 2009

The "Open Happiness" advertisement at the door of the Coca-Cola HQ in London.
On my previous blog entry I was talking about uninspiring advertising. It was about the advertisement of different products that have been appearing at the Greek tube and have a similar “tube-like” theme.

On the opposite side of the coin, there have been lots of companies that have consistently been producing really inspiring advertisements both in print and in videos. I do remember everybody dancing to the “Can’t beat the feeling” advertisements some years ago.

Some recent examples of the fantastic advertisements Coca-cola has commissioned are the Coca-Cola Factory ad and the most recent one, Coca-cola “Avatar”.

“Open happiness”


P.S.: Have you seen any good ads recently?

Uninspiring advertising

August 9, 2009

The underground metro transit system of Athens was inaugurated in 2000 with the opening of two lines, the green line and the blue line. Since then, the Athens metro has safely and timely transported millions of passengers from the centre of Athens to the suburbs. In contrast with the well established green line, sometimes referred to as “Ilektrikos” (meaning Electric), the metro stations were newly built during the 9 year construction period.

After the Athens metro was inaugurated and its lines were extended and became widely used by Athenians, it was time for advertising to claim some space at the stations and the train carriages (and sometimes the exterior of the train carriages). Only it appears that the advertising companies and their clients do not have imaginative and creative ideas. During my latest visit in Athens, I bumped into 3 different advertisements running at the same time in the Athens metro that had the same “tube map” theme.

Advertisement for the Athens and the Epidavrus festival

Advertisement for the Athens and the Epidavrus festival

An advertisement for a slimming product

An advertisement for a slimming product

A yoghurt advertisement

A yoghurt advertisement

Although I understand they might want to make themed advertisements for the Athens Metro, can’t they think of anything different?


(all pictures © LambdaPhage)