Monday, March 9, 2015

Let’s Not Make “Femvertising” A Permanent Thing

By Georgia Zervudachi

Graffiti on a Bus Shelter 

TL;DR Stop marketing to “women”, market to people.



Seeping into usage at the end of late 2014, it’s been used to describe how brands have been jumping on the bandwagon with the digital wave of feminism that has hit the headlines numerous times in the past year or so (See also “pink washing”). Defined by Adweek as “pro-female messaging within advertising it’s been heralded as a Great Thing, with Always #LikeAGirl, Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches and Under Armour “I Will I Want” being held up as the paragons of promoting a pro-female message.

“Femvertising” may have rapidly raised the profile of the issue, which is great for stats for PTAT (People talking about this), but I don’t think the term is for the long game, in the digital age where everything happens at an exponential rate. It’s been done now. I think it might even be passé and labouring the point.

To me, as a female millennial who is totally unique but probably identifies with every millennial trend, it has become a fad, off the back of a very important and exciting trend. Yes, there is a need for a positive portrayal of women in all spheres of the media and a breakdown of gender stereotypes, but since Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches, I’ve become a bit bored, and lately irritated, by my razor telling me I shouldn’t accept being pigeonholed. 


Don’t get me wrong, the insight is spot on and incredibly rich and exciting territory, I’m just not sure the link to the Venus brand is strong enough to have the credibility to say it. Bare in mind that this is a brand which had “I’m your Venus/I’m your Fire/your Desire” playing in all of it’s TV spots until very recently. While I’m all in favour of repositioning Venus to the more “She’s Got It” end of the scale, having seen the ad on YouTube pre-roll and not come across any ATL support or been targeted by any other digital execution (and I am the prime profile for targeting) it seems unsubstantiated and it’s a bit of a jump, in my opinion. You shouldn’t feel the need to release a video justifying and explaining such a repositioning. Which is a shame, because if there had been a run up of some sort, to build the credibility of the connection, then it could have been so on point.

Always #LikeAGirl Campaign 

Of course there are stories that work perfectly and connect perfectly to a brand’s proposition. But, playing to stereotype isn’t acceptable anymore, and when it is overt, there is an increasing likelihood of backlash.

As marketing trends move further into the sphere of content marketing and the op-eds of the best of the best praise the efficacy of targeting lifestyle and attitude, surely the way to speak to consumers  people has to reflect that. Countless trend reports tell us that equality and tolerance are increasingly important, especially (but not exclusively) to younger audiences.

Fundamentally, women don’t need to be told that they CAN DO IT, they need to be SHOWN that it is perfectly normal. Maybe even challenged and asked “Why aren’t you?” 

Why can’t adverts just reflect the norms of society where women play rugby and where men do the washing up? where women order Guiness as their usual and men enjoy a Baileys?

This week it was announced that this year a new category was going to be added to the Oscars of the Advertising world, Cannes. The Glass Lion for Social Change, specifically “for work addressing the misrepresentation of gender in marketing.” This is sponsored by one of the most prominent spokespersons for women in Business, Sheryl Sandberg. In a statement announcing the award she said:  

 "You can't be what you can't see - and how we market to women is critically important … If our messages to women - and men - portray equality, we will help create a more equal world. LeanIn.Org is thrilled that Cannes Lions is making the Glass Lion a reality so we can all applaud advertising that is more representative of the world as it should be."

Promotional Art for The Glass Lion

I’m sorry Ms Sandberg, but I disagree. By making a significant point to target women and EMPOWER THEM through 30-second spots, you are by definition not demonstrating equality. Give a Glass Lion to the agencies and companies where the percentage of women in executive positions (or in creative teams, or in planning…) reflects that of the industry. Give a Glass Lion to the script without specified genders, abilities, ages, ethnicities or sexual orientations (because it is a Lion for Change, and there are a lot of other Adland norms which aren’t reflective of society). Give a Glass Lion to the brief that targets “ALL THE PEOPLE who relate to this HUMAN TRUTH”. Isn’t that the point of the human truth – that it is something that EVERYONE relates to?

Traditional demographics are easy to get hold of, and you can generally get away with making assumptions, but it isn’t enough to base a bulletproof strategy on any longer. People are beginning to think differently, and while that presents a helluva challenge to marketeers and strategists, it can only be a good thing.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A day in the life: Real-time content creation

On Friday 13th we launched our #LadyLuck Campaign for Grosvenor Casinos. 

#LadyLuck took to the social spotlight on the unluckiest day of the year and asked people for their best good luck and bad luck stories.

We spent a week responding to the best ones in real-time, sprinkling a little luck in their life. 

Our creative team, Ben and Kylie recall a typically hectic day.

Our day:

Leave for work at 7:30  and grab newspaper. Scour pages furiously for luck related stories. Pay close attention to celebrity gossip. Worry about newfound interest in Kim Kardashian.

Arrive at work. 

Compile best news stories and post hilarious comments on twitter.

Prepare set for the day. Arm self with duct tape and make sure it hasn’t fallen down overnight. 
(Which it probably has)

Lady Luck arrives at 9:30. 
Write and go through morning script. Check hair, make-up and dress.

Start shooting.

Frantically edit script on Autocue.

Run over to Jo with rushes. Edit at lightning speed.

Give video to Annabel for 15 minute client sign off, 
before getting Jessie and Rose to post.
And monitor.

Grab sandwich. Read responses online and pop to shops for response video props.
The anthropomorphic veggie section at M&S is surprisingly good 
- as you can see by this squash that clearly looks like a Steve.

Film more response videos. Get ready to pour luck in people’s lives (Or on Victoria)

Make quick, terribly important call on gold phone.

Shoot Steve video.

Start worrying about lack of sparkles. Shoot extra sparkly video.

Get more videos signed off. Keep tweeting. 
Get excited at tweetback from famous person.

Catch-up meeting  in the shed on the day’s results.

Get ready to do it all over again tomorrow.

If you want to see #LadyLuck in action, head over to twitter, Facebook or youtube.

Stay lucky ;)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Get yourself (and your clients) ready for Chinese New Year.

With Chinese New Year here this week, we wanted to share with you some notable facts and dos and don’ts about the celebration so you can impress friends and possibly get a random University Challenge trivia question right one of these days.

We'll also touch on what this means for audiences and marketing.

The Lunar New Year is celebrated by those of Chinese heritage as the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, which follows both the sun and moon patterns to count the days. This means CNY is a different day every year – with this year’s being Feb 19 as the start of the year 4713.

Chinese New Year is the largest annual migration of humans with over 3.62 billion trips made during the 40 day period.

While it is rare that anyone celebrates the full 40 days like in the past, most Chinese observe the first eight days with the big festivities around the Chinese New Year Eve dinner and New Years Day Lunch. The second day is reserved for married women to go back to their hometowns and celebrate the new year with their family. It is still widely believed by older generations in Chinese culture that once a woman is married, she then belongs to the male’s family and thus, her family becomes secondary – however, with the new generation, this is one tradition that is beginning to change mainly due empowerment of women and the One Child Policy enacted in 1980.

Like most horoscopes, the Chinese Horoscope consists of 12 symbols, made up of animals. This is the year of the (羊) Sheep/Ram/Goat – and anyone born in 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968 have this horoscope symbol. They are considered gentle, considerate and hardworking. For a full horoscope, click here.

There are a few greetings to say during the New Year (Written here in traditional Chinese and sounded it out for a Mandarin speaking audience):

新年快樂 Xin Nian Kuai Le (phonetics: sheen nee-an kwai leh) literally means “New Year Happiness”

恭喜發財 Gong Xi Fa Cai (phonetics: guh-ong she fa tz-ai) literally means “Good tidings and prosperity”

  • Wear articles of red clothing throughout the celebrations
  • Eat vegetables as opposed to meat as it’s bad luck to see blood
  • Buy new trousers as in the Chinese language, “fu” - trousers is a homonym for luck
  • Red pocket money is given by married elders to children and unmarried adults. It is also custom for employers to give red pocket money to employees.

  • Do not wear white or black as they are the traditional colours of death
  • Do not wash your hair for 3 days as you will be washing your fortunes away. There is to be no clearing of garbage or sweeping for the same reason
  • Do not borrow or lend money. If you are to give money, it can not be returned.
  • Don’t say or do anything resulting in using the number four as it is a homonym for death.

As you can see, a lot of these are still based on spiritual and traditional beliefs that have been passed down from many generations. How does this impact us in marketing?

Many woman rush to give birth before the new year (depending on the year for fortunes) so scheduled c-sections increase as do insurance claims on the procedure. Many also rush so that they can bring home a child for CNY celebration – a sign of great fortune.

This is the peak time for alcohol consumption in China and East Asian households due the large amount of family and workplace dinners that take place. Grain based alcohols still dominate dinner celebrations (with BaiJiu being the favourite amongst the older generation) and a lot more celebrating with premium whisky and imported wines from France and Italy. Giving alcohol as gifts to dinner hosts is a sign of great generosity and brand / label are held in high regard when giving gifts – the rarer the alcohol, the more face you give to yourself and the host.

So happy Chinese New Year everyone! 

Written by Terence Jou - Account Director at Gravity Thinking.

Sourced from:

Icons sourced from The Noun Project
Artists credits:
Collectif Intro
Shreya Chakravarty
Scott Lewis
Alex Fuller
Gregory Sujkowski
Luis Prado
Edward Boatman
Timur Zima
Monday, February 16, 2015

Youtube Stars Around the World: South Korea and the Mukbang

You may already know about Youtube stars who have made thousands if not millions off of posting videos of themselves opening up and playing with toys or just chatting about life in general.

It seems each region of the world have specific genres of Youtube stars that audiences are attracted to. In North America, we see the rise of amateur musicians / cover artists. In the UK, there’s a significant amount of young 20 somethings vlogging about their life.

And in South Korea…it’s the Mukbangs.

Mukbangs are Youtube sensations who vlog themselves eating. That’s right…eating. Just like you scoff over how people would watch others go over their shopping hauls (yes, hauling is a Youtube thing as well), there are Youtube stars in Korea making $9K USD a month from ads and contributions from their fans to order delivery and eat for their audiences.

UK foodies – brush up on your Korean. I bet you there’s a market for Koreans who are interested in international foods and want to watch you eat and enjoy your meals. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

It's Friday the 13th - Introducing Lady Luck

Today we have launched a real-time social response campaign for client Grosvenor Casinos.

From a special pair of pants to a secret ritual in front of the mirror - everyone has their way to make their luck come in.

Particularly on Friday 13th, the unluckiest day of the year.

So, to help out - we worked with Grosvenor casinos to create a character who would facilitate an online conversation around the topic of luck on a day when people are talking about it the most.

Lady Luck is using Twitter and Facebook to wish people luck who have posted that they're having a particularly unlucky day.

Funny and smart - she's offering to help whilst providing an entertaining commentary for all the bad luck that is likely to happen.

The campaign will run to the luckiest day of the year for many: Chinese new year.

Tell her why you need some more luck on the Grosvenor Casino Twitter page or on Facebook.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cinemagraphs are the hypnotic new ad format.

Facebook and Instagram will be launching its new captive ad format called Cinemagraphs in the near future. Cinemagraphs are half-video, half-photography – think a fancier gif/jpeg. The term was first coined by photographers Jamie Beck and Kevin Berg who started experimenting with the format back in 2011. 

Facebook has positioned Instagram with its new repeating film function to make it perfect for cinemagraphs. Interested in making your own in Photoshop? Here’s a quick tutorial.

Here's some GIFs of our favourite subject - whisky - that we're eagerly awaiting to recreate as Cinemagraphs:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Flow and forcing creativity

I bought my father one of those wearables this xmas.

A Jawbone Up.

Whilst I was ‘testing’ that it worked before giving it to him I became a bit obsessed with sleep patterns and the infographics it gives you.

You see, I sleep for very long periods.

When I’m not working I’ll easily do 10 hrs, getting up at 11 easily.

The graphs the little wristband gave me showed that most of my sleep was very light.

Around 3hrs of deep sleep per night, despite the many hours of actually being in bed.

My father, however, slept for 5hrs.

Most of which was deep sleep.

There’s little you can do about this, it’s just how your body decides it wants to behave.

You can’t just can’t force yourself to sleep.

If you get up too early you’ll be knackered.

Try to go to bed early and you’ll just lay there.

It’s the rhythm of your body.

Your body clock as it were.

I really believe the same applies to coming up with ideas.

And in this deeply perverse industry we work in - one which seeks to quantify the coming up with ideas.

We apply rules, timelines and budgets to creative projects.

And the cynics are right to say that an idea takes a second to come up with.

Sometimes a good idea just pops right out following a briefing.

Other times it seems to never come.

Like not being able to sleep.

Staring at a blank page is like staring at the ceiling at 3am.

Try as you might, your body won't cooperate.

So, I don’t like my creatives to work like this.

I call it creative flow.

You can see it in teams.

When they have ‘flow’ they have momentum and the brain is easily giving up ideas.

Like having the wind in their sails.

But this only lasts a few hours at most.

You have to be grown up enough to know that when the wind dies down, when the flow stops. You should stop.

So when we say teams have two days to come up with ideas, it’s not two days straight.

It will be bursts of flow interspersed with smaller ‘brainless’ activities.

Going for a walk.




Whatever it takes.

But, also, crucially - If they’re in a flow moment.

We leave them alone. 

Don’t take the wind out of their sails.

Don't desk jump them.

It seems to work.

And, if only we could just get the industry to accept that we should sleep when we want too - we'd be in a better place.


(Written at 3am on a Tuesday night).

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The one degree of inspiration - how we do briefings

Can you create an association between a dolphin and a windmill?

Non-linear thinking is an essential exercise for creative development.

Take two random objects and try to create a scenario that links them.

It puts your brain in a state of creative thinking, forcing abstract, tangential ways to solve problems.

Which is essentially the difference between thinking like an engineer (literal, lateral) and a creative (non-lateral).

Briefing an engineer, I reckon, looks a lot like most people brief creatives - a piece of paper with specific details on it that map out the specs needed for the job to be done.

The creative brief is a funny old beast, and plenty had been discussed about how that’s done on the web - see Beeker Northam from Dentsu speaking for D&AD on that topic.

I’m interested here on how we brief.

Because much of how it’s done now doesn’t put creatives in the best place to come up with ideas.

I guarantee the first thing most creatives do after receiving a brief is Google the client, or similar advertising solutions.

It makes the work derivative of other work.

It’s one step of free association from the starting place.

One degree of inspiration.

I like to take them further degrees away from this.

Make the work more original, and therefore more successful.

So here are a couple of key things we do that are designed to work with the creative mind:

They’re called the 'Nolans':

1. Inception - seed the brief early and let it grow in the mind. We do it a week early.

2. Memento - Write it all out super clearly so it makes sense when you wake up the next day.

3. Interstellar - We go far away from the office. For our record label client, we go to Rough Trade Records. For Glenfiddich we go to a high-end bar.

And it works.

We get better work, sooner.

Oh, and my answer is a wind machine making waves in a dolphin tank at Sea World.