Absolut Masquerade

This week Absolut Masquerade comes to London. The sequinned red jacketed bottle is the latest in the series of themed limited edition collectors bottles.

 

The bottle is currently available as a gift pack in over 76 markets and comes out just in time for the halloween holiday season. To promote this latest offering, which follows on from models such as Absolut Disco and Absolut Bling Bling, the UK market has created House of the Masquerade – a literal place where the sentiment behind the bottle can be brought to life.

 

 The venue is on Shoreditch’s Redchurch St, and will be open for 5 nights from 23rd October as what Absolut describe as a ‘fabulous fashion wonderland’. The place will be stocked with an array of vintage clothes from MINT (a vintage clothing boutique) and has been co-created with UK illustrator and fashionista Daisy de Villeneuve.

 

Daisy  – famed for her illustrations for the likes of Top Shop, Moet, Habitiat & Heal’s and a genuine love of vintage clothes; has decorated the venue in her iconic felt tip hand drawn style images, as well as the furniture (see above – chest of drawers) to create a ‘make believe’ or ‘alice in wonderland’ feel to the place. Members of the public will be able to come down and play dress up, as well as having a stylist in situ to help create a look.

 

Lets not forget most importantly there will also be a bar in the venue! So you can sip a saucy cocktail whilst perfecting your sequinned show stopping shimmy! Some of Daisy’s work (journals with limited edition designs) will also be on sale with proceeds going to the Terrance Higgins Trust.

Whilst pop up locations in east london (yawn) are not new in any way shape or form; I am still a fan of the work from Absolut as a brand. I think this latest launch platform for the Masquerade pack and bottle is sound from a marketing perspective for the following reasons:

1) Their choice of talent is on brand and genuinely connected to the message. These days you need a celeb of sorts or ‘professional’ to bring the edge and authenticity to any themed activity; in this instance vintage fashion. Often it is hard to get the right fit or the person you want on budget and in time or alternatively you are forced into using the current tabloid darling simply to ensure column inches. But Daisy de Villeneuve is spot on, she combines edgy artist which is very on brand for absolut with a genuine love of vintage fashion: read the compelling article in Selvedge magazine over 4 pages all about vintage clothing which Daisy beautifully illustrated below:

 

 

 

 

2) Events have to be memorable with an alcohol brand. Whilst there is often general opinion ‘cool’ parties can be a big waste of money for brands, this is not the case in the alcohol industry. Trial is a key component for them in terms of consumer future purchase, loyalty and repeat custom. Essentially think about it like this: you drink the tipple you like, you get settled into a routine – be it Jack and Coke, vodka tonic, or asking specifically for a Mount Gay Rum at sunset. The alcohol industry is all about getting people to change those habits, to try something new and then stick to that new choice. Statistically if people try something new at a time when they are happy and somewhere out of the ordinary they are more likely to remember it. When it comes to experiential work per se memorability is key to talkability. If you find something unusual you will talk about it and remember it. That is what Absolut have done here, odd and contrived as it may seem to put the justaposition of fashion dressing up box and bar together, it serves this purpose neatly whilst also being an occurance with enough hooks to give the press something to write about.

 

 

 

3) The entire concept of limited edition anything that looks nice so people want to collect it and repeatedly buy when the next version comes out is basically a license to print money, which in this climate is frankly genius. Whilst again designer link ups can seem a tad repetitious and ubiquitous, I still like them with Absolut. The bottle looks fab and I would quite want a collection of them on display somewhere in my kitchen or even ‘home bar’ if I had such a thing.. and would happily pay a premium for that…maybe that makes me a ponce or just someone who likes things that look nice; but I think other people would too.  And they do –  Also they have cleverly created an affordable party gift. Instead of just taking booze along to a house party and no birthday present, with the gift pack phenonomen you can kill two birds with one stone. Take a nice looking fun present along which also serves to liven up the party, break ice while everyone plays with the bits and tries to make cocktails. Bingo, one room full of cool people in shoredtich, some vodka in sequins: I make that Absolut O’clock!

House of the Masquerade Maverick Showroom runs from Friday, 24th October to Monday, 27th October at Oct 24-27, 6pm-11pm

We won!! (best brand experiential campaign Gramia Awards 2008)

Last night I went to the Gramia Awards (Grocer Advertising & Marketing Industry Awards) as Slice had won a Gramia in the category Brand Experience for our Beck’s Fusions Campaign last september. We really didn’t know if we would then go on and win the ‘diamond’ gramia for that category, making us overall best campaign in that section, rather than just one of 4 recommended. We did! We won! Whoop Whoop! We were in a bit of shock actually as these things hilariously follow the format of a less glamorous ‘grammy’s’ with loud pumping music and lights flashing as you approach the stage and everyone runs around taking photos of you. Our category was the first up and suddenly Toby Antiss shouted out Beck’s (In) Fusions wins…(bless him) and Jason Gallucci (Managing Director of Slice) and I went up to grab our trophy and grin for the camera.

Beck’s Fusions in a nutshell was (even if I say so myself) an example of a really cohesive integrated campaign. Beck’s had always historically been associated with art and their Beck’s Futures work. We extended that to be art and music: Beck’s Fusions. We worked with Woo (part of Engine) to make the campaign work across on pack promotion, outdoor and print creatives, PR, online and of course our main experience.

Slice approached the ICA to link with Beck’s in creating a series of unique events across the UK which united leading musical and artistic talent to create original and inspiring performance and multi-media art installations.

Beck’s Fusions 2007  took place live in a specially designed interactive exhibition and performance ‘pod’ that  travelled to four key locations across the UK and Ireland during September 2007. The London Launch includes a unique fusion performance from the Chemical Brothers and United Visual Artists (UVA), supported by Calvin Harris and Novak 3D Disco.

What worked so well about this was that the only way you could get to the shows was by entering a URN from a bottle of Beck’s with on pack promotion on it, into the website. You then entered a ballot system with a fixed amount of tickets being released each day. We had 120K applicants for a 10K show. The other clever part was making a desirable experience (which raised awareness of the brand and increased sales and was trackable) also newsworthy. By holding a concert in Trafalgar Square you bring an element of unusual. If you analyse what makes the media from a PR perspective where you are trying to generate the news, there are some standard common sense givens…
– man bites dog (turning the expected on its head)
– celebrity
– celebrity as you have never seen them before (exclusive)
– anything that is a first..never been done before
– nudity (yawn)
– something happening somewhere you wouldnt expect – a rave in st.pauls catherdral for instance?
So we held a concert in Trafalgar Square (something whilst not never, not often done before) and added in the idea of the worlds first ever 3D disco..( a first) because some of the artists collaborating with the musicians were going to do light projections only viewed through 3D glasses. By making a mock up of what this would/could look like we gave collateral of never seen before london landmark to the national press hitting all the picture desks and bingo getting blanket coverage the week before.
Trafalgar Square as a venue has restrictions too, not any old brand can rock up and pay to use it as a setting for an event. Those restrictions work with the council that events must be free to the people and cultural and even then there are only a handful passed through a year. By linking with the ICA and making the event FREE but with purchase of beer we circumnavigated getting this coveted landmark as our hub. Anyway we must have done something right! We won……
 

Diesel XXX: the creative experiment

Diesel are celebrating their 30th birthday this month with a party. It is not unusual for a brand that built its cool using stealth and influencer tactics to be throwing a bash. They have been doing great parties since I can remember and I do remember. I started working life at a company called Dont Panic Media (which my best friend had set up) and at the time Dan Barton was the UK Marketing Director at Diesel and we worked with them quite frequently on parties, parties and more parties oh and diesel u music, which also had a great bash at Fabric every year…another party then. This is no ordinary party however. They have taken a things to another level. Think Live Earth but as a cool party for the kids. They have taken every element you can have with an event and made that element the best it can be. Bravo.

# Venue

Firstly the venue in the UK is the newest super club on the block, Matter.  Matter is brought to London by Keith Rieley, who set up and owns Fabric. Matter only opened earlier this month and has all the technology you could imagine is housed inside Dr. Who’s tardis. It has a ‘bodykinetic’ dance floor, a step on from Fabric’s ‘bodysonic’ dance floor which vibrates to the frequencies of the bass speakers built below it. They are planning 3D mapped visuals and interlocking screens to give punters a true assualt on the senses. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

# Concept

The next aspect to point out is the concept. I love the way they describe it themselves as:

‘Diesel’s unparalled astonishing XXX party. Happening live around the world in 17 cities on the same day. ‘

So there you have it. The cool party concept gone UBER. And those 17 (now 18 I think) cities are all well chosen too. The list includes: New york, Toykyo, Helsinki, Copanhagen and Sao Paulo. The thinking is the musicians playing at all the different parties around the world will also somehow collborate and you can listen to it all online at www.diesel.com  as a live broadcast.

# Music

The line up is ridiculous. Really. Its like the Space Ibiza We Love closing parties. Imagine every cool, great, popular DJ you ever wanted to see and then put them all on the same night. Well this is how the schedule looks for not only London but the world…Chaka Chan! MIA, 2ManyDJs, Uffie, New Young Pony Club, Mark (Ubiquitous) Ronson, Nerd……and in London alone: the Mystery Jets, Lethal Bizzie, Rob da Bank, The View, Filthy Dukes and my lovely friend Tayo to name a few.  Phew. can you repeat that? For the entire 30 strong (see the theme here) line up check online at www.diesel.com/xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 # Charity

so the tickets are only £5 but all the money goes to charity, but not just any old charity (yawn) BUT wait for it – a cool charity for urban kids…! www.livity.co.uk is my best friend’s company (will do another post on him later watch this blog!) remember I mentioned earlier working with Diesel in the Dont Panic days…well he is the same guy that set up Dont Panic too..Sam Conniff. Livity help underpriveledged kids. They have a magazine called LIVE which is written for the kids, by the kids, a TV show called Dub Plate Drama and even a music label and internship programme – all based on real life education, how to succeed in a life of creative possibilities not guns and teenage pregnancy. Nice. So you can party with a clean conscience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

# Viral

This is the best bit. How they have promoted it. Of course there are facebook events. (36 different event pages at the last count and all different countries). But the funniest thing ever is the super cool viral they have made which started circulating last week. I got it as a fwd in my email inbox and saw it posted here, there and everywhere and holy moly posted it along with the comment

‘Let’s be honest virals are the pizza delivery leaflet of the internet. I never EVER put up any shitty viral (unless they pay moolah obv), but this one is fucking brilliant.

Take note, all you lazy ad agencies – all you need to do is be original, funny and look like you’ve made a bit of an effort.
Well done, Diesel.
(They haven’t paid for this. Sadly.)’
 
 

 
 
# Fashion

They have made a limited run of Dirty Thirty jeans. Pushing the 30 year celebration, Diesel are making these jeans valued 30 units of whatever currency is dirty lucca in that country. Only available for purchse on party day (11th October) they will only be on sale for – you guessed it – 30 minutes!! at selected stores and you have to pre – register to get them…. 

11th October. 18 major cities around the world, 8 different time zones, 1 major party. Brap. Let me know if I missed anything……www.diesel.com/xxx 

 

 

 

Here I am….

We are currently working with Nike on their ‘Here I am’ campaign. As such I have been privy to more of the marketing collateral than your average Jo. I have to admit, whether it is as a woman, a creative type or just a human; they have succeeded in engaging me….big time.

The thinking is this, of course they want to sell more clobber, however, instead of creating a project that places clothes at the heart of all visuals; they have chosen several female stories that are compelling, interesting and beautifully illustrated to be the central theme. These 5 main biographies are the life journeys of female athletes documenting their rise to fame and strength, often through adversity.

 

If Nike can encourage more young women to play sport, by making them not emabarrassed to get sweaty or grow big muscles or be seen as STRONG – instead of PRETTY and essentially for decorative purposes only, teetering around on SATC style skyscraper high heels – then they will have done 2 things: made the world a better place (tongue in cheek) and sold more womenswear in the process.

Whilst I realise you have to spend money to make money, (and from one of the richest brands on the planet you wouldnt expect them to scrimp and save), in this instance, the thinking & execution is incrediably sound and detailed to perfection. Dont get me wrong, I am no hairy feminist and I wear ridiculously high heels with pleasure a good percentage of the time; but I do  see the inherent unfairness in how the whole world pivots around the idea women must always look pretty. We all know exercise is good for us, no one likes muffin tops – but exercise actually does a hell of a lot more good than just keeping down the calories. After a while you begin to realise it fights the black cloud of daily depression, and the physical achievements you make in the gym gradually carry over into everyday life. I know it sounds gushing and cheesey but its true. I recently went on a yoga holiday in ibiza and my gorgeous inspiring teacher would push us into positions we previously thought were impossible. She told us to see ourselves in the pose in our mind, as the starting point, or we would never get there..the next thing was to take a step, give it a chance and let ‘grace’ carry us the rest of the way. And you know what. It f**king worked. I ended up doing one armed hand stands…(well nearly but I did stand on my head). Her closing words were for us to take that achievement out of the class and into life, to know we could do the things we didnt think we were capable of. I know I know, its like the Just do it…mantra. All Chariots of Fire and motivational speeches…but my point is, I get what Nike are saying with the Here I am campaign. Nike takeyou on an interesting journey into these girl’s lives: Maria Sharapova’s animation, is a pencil drawn linear progress of her birth in Siberia during the chernobyl fallout right through to the tabloid frenzy making her the britney spears of tennis.   

It doesnt stop with the movies online, there is a book of sketches and illustrations to accomany it  which is a stunning mix of multi paper stock and print finishes alongside a cacophany of graphic styles and photography. Blow up pages and images from the book and movies are currently part of an exhibition in Nike Town and we will be  touring it  around key UK universities recruiting girls for the Nike Select Programme. If I dont steal all the artwork first! 🙂  Check out the Here I Am site here