We remember them, we loved them, and now the Corinthians are back. The Capital One ‘Superstars’ social media campaign re-launched the famous big-head-little-body Corinthian models, by giving football fans the chance to be one of 1,000 to win a Corinthian in their own likeness. And who better to act as Head Of Quality Control than Craig Robinson, owner of Britain’s biggest Corinthians collection!
To launch his new role, Synergy set Craig up to speak with the media about his collection of over 5,000 of the little chaps and tell us how they came to feature so prominently in his life. As I entered Craig’s house, I was overwhelmed by all the little faces staring back at me from Craig’s purpose-built, football terrace style cabinet.
After instantly spotting Junichi Inamoto, the sole representative in the cabinet from my team, Fulham FC, Craig took me on a trip through retro football icons such as Temuri Ketsbaia, Marc Overmars and even Gabriel Batistuta. Craig then spoke with the media about the day in 1995 when he began his collection with an Alan Shearer model bought from Woolworth’s. Craig described it as a simple case of a young lad seeing something and saying “I have got to have that”.
When asked to name his favourite model, Craig unhesitatingly replied that this was of courseRuel Fox. Craig is not only a huge Corinthians fan but also an avid Newcastle United supporter, and Fox was his favourite player as a child. After meeting Ruel, Craig then introduced me to the most sought-after member of his collection, ex-Arsenal player Stefan Schwarz. The Swede may seem an odd choice for this accolade, but it turns out that the manufacturing of the player’s model was cancelled at an early stage, and only a handful were made. Craig in fact received him through the help of a Dutch collector, who knew that Craig needed Schwarz to complete his set. And as Craig continued to discuss the network of collectors around the world, I sensed a real community spirit. This is serious business however, and Craig’s collection is insured for £25,000.
After a final few minutes spent gawping at the likes of Faustino Asprilla and Stig Inge Bjornebye, we finally left Craig in peace, sure in the knowledge that Capital One had put his passion firmly back on the map. Coverage of the interview featured widely in the media, including this great piece in the Mail.
A relaxing Easter weekend, a sleepy Bank Holiday Monday – the perfect time to catch people off-guard. April Fools’ Day rolled around and, as in previous years, punters had their collective wits tested by brands and news outlets looking to have a bit of fun. This year there were three distinct types of April Fool, making it all the more difficult to gauge what was veritable truth and what was strange enough to be fiction.
The first of these were the brand-led April Fools that, if executed well, generate great exposure for the brands involved. Virgin Atlantic’s story, featured in the Daily Mirror, proclaimed that pioneering bosses at the airline were introducing jets with glass floors to create a ‘walking on air’ experience, enabling passengers to see the world below them. The Fool even went so far as to suggest that permission had been secured to divert the planes’ flight path north over Loch Ness.
Hotels.com plumped for a royally Foolish prank, claiming that the Belgian Suite at Buckingham Palace was now available for hire at the princely sum of £10,000 a night. The Fool overplayed itself somewhat by offering the chance to ‘breakfast with the Royals’, but secured Hotels.com a good spread in the Daily Express. The award for the oddest brand-led Fool however should certainly go to Asda, who announced the launch of their Fifty Shades of Grey toilet paper. This bizarre claim featured in the Daily Mail and detailed that each shade of the new range had been named after one of the eponymous hero Christian Grey’s traits.
And BMW, pioneers of the April Fool ad, unveiled the P.R.A.M. (Postnatal Royal Auto Mobile), a new model to appeal to all those yummy mummies out there, with an email address for enquiries to one Joe King.
To much acclaim, however, the winner has to be Google, which announced their ‘Google Nose’ innovation. The alleged new function invited viewers to smell what they saw on screen, creating the first ‘emanation experience’. Some even petitioned Google to make this dream a reality after realising they’d been had.
The second variety of April Fools dared to dream a little less but focused more on creating a Fool that was genuinely believable: the journalist-concocted ‘fake’ news story. The team at the Daily Telegraph exemplified this, putting forward a Coalition plan to introduce door-to-door teams to monitor light usage and ensure Britain switches off to save energy in these times of austerity. The Fool even featured the creation of a new role of ‘Light Tsar’ to enforce the project on a national level.
More light-hearted still was The Guardian’s suggestion that they would be distributing ‘Guardian goggles’ that give people a more liberal outlook when reading – proving that even the most morally upstanding of newspapers can still laugh at themselves. Channel 4 News got in on the action too, announcing that Boris Johnson had mixed up his dates and would be entering the by-election triggered by David Miliband’s resignation as an MP. Twitter added their idea to the pile, claiming that they were to begin charging Tweeters for using vowels.
The third style of Fool were those that were in fact not April Fools’ Day stunts at all, but instead weird and wacky stories designed to throw the reader off track – a dummy pass if you will.
The most convincing of these featured in The Times. This stated that NASA was hatching a plan to put $2.6bn into a robotic system that would harness an asteroid and drag it to the moon for scientific research. This was in fact TRUE. Indeed, many thought that reports that Prime Minister David Cameron had clambered into a brook to rescue a trapped sheep were too ridiculous to be valid but this story was also confirmed to be FACT.
Our own sponsorship sector saw fewer Fools than usual this year with the Synergy offering of Extendable Goal Posts for Extra Time in the Capital One Cup 2013/14 leading the way. Featuring on the back page and a full page inside The Sun on Monday, the prank alleged that due to the demands of American executives at sponsors Capital One, a rule change would see bigger goals used in Cup games next season after 90 minutes to avoid stalemates and make the periods more exciting. Talksport also put together a football themed Fool. This one centred on the managerial farce at Chelsea this season and alleged that Roman Abramovich would be taking charge of his Chelsea team as Head Coach from next season.
After so much mischief in the press in one day, readers will have returned to work casting a critical eye over stories making the headlines. But one thing is for sure…that cynical edge will have worn off by this time next year.
“Don’t rely on home advantage.” So uttered Michael Johnson, US sprinter and BBC pundit, last week. But if home advantage and national support are as vociferous as British Airways’ new campaigns, he might just have to reconsider.
Starting way back in April, BA set out to celebrate the best in British talent in all sectors, not just sport, with the arrival of the BA 2012 pop up venue in urban chic Shoreditch High Street. A stone’s throw from the Olympic venues of Stratford, the three-in-one art gallery, cinema and dining lounge was a novel way to showcase the work of Great Britons from culinary, dramatic and artistic backgrounds. A lucky trio working in these fields was mentored by BA London 2012 ambassadors Richard E Grant, Tracey Emin and Heston Blumenthal, with the resulting work displayed in the BA pod. Rasanna Purwanarajah, Pascal Anson and Simon Hulstone used their training to create Olympic Games themed work, including a short film, a ‘Dove’ artwork livery for celebratory aircraft and a five-star British food menu.
British Airways followed this with a good old-fashioned, flag-waving ad campaign. But what was not old-fashioned about this ad was its release on YouTube and Facebook ahead of television, leading to widespread sharing and discussion before it had even hit ‘the box’. Released to run amidst Euro 2012 coverage, this ad featured a twist on the typical ethos of a BA campaign, counter-intuitively asking people not to fly away during the games, and instead to stay at home to support Team GB.
To further emphasise the link between BA and the Games, BA is running a competition for Brits to win flights for family and friends abroad to join relatives in London for the Games. Again BA is seeking to make the point that London is the centre of world interest at the moment. Moreover, the BA Facebook page incorporated an app into the advert that allows viewers to make the BA advert feature their very own street. You can try it now or download the app.
To support all this activity, BA has also released some great branded content via YouTube and other online channels featuring Sir Clive Woodward, Denise Lewis and Michael Johnson. This serves as a collection of their thoughts on performing at home with Johnson recollecting his home experience at the Atlanta Games in 1996.
In conjunction with this BA has launched strong social media activity to capitalise on the Socialympics. The #HomeAdvantage hashtag has been tweeted to some effect already and the Games are still in their opening days.
And the campaign gets smarter still. The BA 2012 pop-up venue offered the average punter the chance to experience BA’s in-flight food and drink, entertainment and style, taking BA service to the High Street in the literal sense. Coupled with this, the ‘plane in your street’ gizmo seamlessly merges to give BA a distinctly home-based feel. In this way this activity is perfect for a summer in which national pride and identity are being celebrated.
Why we love it
BA’s staple marketing usually centres on encouraging people to fly, with British class albeit, to destinations abroad. That is why we love this campaign and the activations that support it. Not only is it a total inversion of the traditional feel of BA campaigns but such a well-executed one that it doesn’t feel at all awkward. With a confident tone and stunning creative, this was a high-risk move for BA. It would have been quite simple for BA to have run a campaign based on flying the people of world into London for the Games and fulfil the standard role of an airline sponsor. But it is has paid off to be bold. If brand rankings are anything to be believed, BA is sitting pretty at the top of the Olympic brand battle charts and the brand is sure to be prevalent in many minds ahead of the post-Olympic holidays that many will take.
So it’s hats-off from Synergy to some great activation work from the truly British Airways.
Staying close to the nationals is standard practice for us here at Synergy, both to keep on top of the zeitgeist and to help our clients become part of it.
Last weekend was no different: as well as scanning the nationals for the usual stories, we were on the lookout for the annual hoaxes that mark every April Fool’s Day, and to see if one of our own had been picked up (it was, more of which later).
Alesha Dixon’s ‘miraculous rise’ to the GB Fencing Team after only weeks of training might not have sounded particularly convincing, but why not? She is young, takes good care of herself and is clearly ambitious. The fact that she had beaten Claire Richards, formerly of Steps, in the final run-off sadly took the claim away from reality and into April Foolery.
This fool was in fact one of our own, but the closely guarded secret still left many Synergists momentarily guessing. Almost as amazing, yet believable given modern training gear, was BMW’s new ‘Driverless Running Coach’ that allows your motor to follow you whilst you hit the streets for a run.
Who is ‘The Glenlivet Man’? That’s what Synergy was tasked to help bring to life at Chivas Brothers’ very own offices. The idea was to give Glenlivet employees a visceral taste of their target audience by immersing themselves in The Glenlivet Man’s lifestyle and passions
On arriving at their offices one morning, staff were met by a redesigned office space which was completely decked out from top to bottom in Glenlivet green, cream and gold. Detail hit every corner including the washrooms where green and cream Molton Brown handwash sat underneath quotes epitomising the brand values.
The Glenlivet Room contained a ‘Glenlivet through the ages’ display which helped to encapsulate the unique heritage of the brand. Throw in a few Glenlivet green bean bags and we had ourselves a veritable treat of a workshop room!
Refreshments are always a way to employees’ hearts. As the queue in the canteen developed it seemed the pairing of 12YO, 15YO and 18YO Glenlivet Single Malts with a range of nouveau desserts (to match the different tastes) would outdo all the other work we had put in (and would make for an especially unproductive afternoon).
However, the most attention-grabbing room turned out to be the one set aside to explore The Glenlivet Man’s recreational habits. Decked out with coat and hat stands, the room featured a wet shave barber and shoe shiner to attend to staff in a way that The Glenlivet Man might be attended to himself. While ‘Mr Swervy’, our truly ‘one-of-a-kind’ shoe shiner, pulled more customers, it was those who took to the chair for a wet shave who got to experience 20mins of pure Glenlivet Man living. Magazines which appealed to the gent-about-town and only the highest quality chatter with our Pall Mall Barber Ben left the participants feeling debonair and ready to recommence work with a new vigour.
With Glenlivet fever a firm fixture in the office, it was demanded that the new look branding be left in place around the office. Our job was done – Glenlivet and ‘The Glenlivet Man’ brought to life in the Chivas office block! A little bit of Belgravia brought to Hammersmith on a Tuesday afternoon.
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