Creative Inspiration: Our Fab Four Forces

While it would be lovely to imagine that every creative or strategic idea produced by a Marketing Director was an original product, the reality is usually different. Even the John Lewis’ marketing genius Craig Inglis will search around for inspiration before developing the likes of Sam and his penguin friend, Monty.

Disagree? Think there’s such thing as an original idea? Need proof? Ok – draw me a caveman in 30 seconds. Now, click this link. How many of you drew someone resembling that image? Now answer this – how do you know that cavemen wore animal skins or had long straggly hair like that? Answer – you don’t and there’s no physical evidence to suggest that they did.

But is it a problem that your beautifully crafted caveman – or award winning marketing campaign – is subconsciously inspired by the design of others? No, because while an idea might originate from one or more other sources, it doesn’t mean all ideas are plagiarised – simply that we do well by looking around to get our creative juices flowing.

In the business world, there are many sources of creative stimulation – here are a few of our favourites.

1: Hubspot

hubspot

 

Hubspot describes itself as an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. If you’re wondering how a sales platform can be inspiring to marketers, then you need to get your head into the digital space.

Rather than inspiring through hundreds of case studies – though these do feature within its blog – Hubspot aims to post multiple how-to, why and what articles every single day. There’s so much content you don’t stand a chance of consuming it all in one sitting.

We like: How digestible the content is – e.g. 10 Examples of Exceptional B2B Content Marketing and 11 Tips to Help Improve Your Brand’s Communication Strategy

2: Marketing Magazine

logo

If we have one complaint about Marketing Magazine, it is the lack of B2B-centric campaigns being celebrated on its pages. Perhaps that’s because the proportion of mainstream B2C projects is naturally unbalanced? If that’s the case, we can let it off because, frankly, the site is a joy to read. With a great layout, ideal for scrolling through reams of ideas in seconds, and well-crafted content, Marketing Magazine can inspire anyone, no matter what their sector specialism.

We like: The ‘This Week’ tab which instantly brings you face-to-face with the latest case studies, stunts and goings-on. ‘This Week’ lets you keep on trend and avoid that awkward moment when you tell someone about the wonderful campaign you just discovered, and they point out it was wonderful, yes, back in 2006 when it first happened.

3:  Digital Buzz

digital buzz

Digital Buzz is our source for the best video campaign content. The site posts YouTube videos and Vimeo’s summarising the latest online campaigns – which means you don’t need to read a thing – unless you want a greater understanding of the project of course. In that case the site also features descriptions of each of the pieces they promote.

The Digital Buzz blog tends to be quite selective, posting just a few campaigns each week. In our minds this helps it keep its integrity and prevents it becoming the A-Z filing cabinet for the world’s video content (good and bad).

We like: The ‘shareability’ of the site. With social buttons all over the shop, everything on the site screams – MAKE ME VIRAL – SHARE ME!

4: B2B Marketing

B2B MARKETING

A B2B bible of case studies, how-to pages, features and blogs. While it may not be as pleasing to the eye as other sites, and could benefit from more images, it is a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of content; much of it is contributed by real marketers in the industry. With 20 categories in its knowledge bank section alone, B2B Marketing really does cover every expanse and niche of the industry, and makes it easy for you to scour the creative landscape for inspiration.

On an additional note, though not exactly a source of creative inspiration, we also approve of the B2B-specific training courses it offers.

We like: Purely B2B and lots of creative examples, which makes this website stand apart from most marketing portals.

These are just four of the sites we like to frequent in order to recharge our batteries before a creative brainstorm – there are many others to include on your reading list: PR Week, Communicate and TED Talks to name just three. However, if time is limited, as it often is, we guarantee that perusing just a couple of these will get your brain moving in directions you might not have known otherwise.

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onechocolate loves… the view from the U.S.

Our San Francisco office selected this week’s round-up of inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new tech and cool events… 

#1 Fathers’ first moments

With Father’s Day this Sunday, plenty of brands have been jumping on the annual occasion to promote their products. One of our favourites comes from Dove, who – in true Dove style – has released a thought-provoking ad. The video documents the reactions of 13 men who have just found out they’re about to become fathers for the first time and is also accompanied by the caption “real strength is showing you care, even from the very first moment”. The ad is a great way to build on the beauty brand’s campaign from last year, featuring another clip of moving scenes after a survey found that dads feel underappreciated in the media. 

#2 Emoji love

Emoticon

After a change.org petition which attracted almost 33,000 supporters, it looks like we are finally going to get the taco emoji of our dreams. Mashable announced this week that the Unicode Consortium will soon introduce 37 new emoji images. So what does that mean exactly? There will be plenty more food options, sports symbols, religious-themed emojis and many more. The news comes hot on the heels of the rise of ‘emoji marketing’. Will you be incorporating any emoticons in your brand’s marketing strategy?

#3 Pictograph passcodes for all

British tech firm Intelligent Environments has created a system that allows users to use emojis for their passwords. Rather than settle for the usual 4-digit bank PIN, customers can now choose from 44 different images to create a unique, personal code to access their accounts. According to Uproxx, “the company claims their system is mathematically more secure because there are 480 times more combinations possible than a 10-digit system would allow.” However, no banks have actually implemented the new system, but the company says that several UK financial institutions are thinking about adding it as an additional safety measure.

#4 Google’s Nest launching security devices

Nest Cam

Google has announced a new security camera to add to its growing suite of home automation services. The Nest Cam will retail for $199 and includes high-definition video and better night vision than its predecessor, Dropcam. This is the first announcement from Nest since being acquired by Google, and also includes the Nest Protect, a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. The new Nest app integrates the products, so if your smoke alarm goes off, you can then activate your camera feed to take a look at what’s going on in real time.

#5 Our first glimpse of Pluto

The New Horizons spacecraft, launched in 2006, is aimed for Pluto and is currently travelling more than 35,000mph (about 60,000 km/h). When it finally reaches around July 14th, it will give mankind its first ever glimpse of the planet. With this in mind, the National Space Society created a teaser trailer to get everyone excited for this historic moment. It’s also important to keep in mind that Pluto is some 4.67 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) from Earth, and this spacecraft has traveled for more than nine years already!

6 All in the name of science. And cats… Ctas

A new study in the journal, Computers in Human Behavior, has surveyed 7,000 people via social media about how cat videos affect their moods. Participants reported feeling fewer negative emotions after watching clips of our feline friends. “Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate from working, the emotional payoff may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward,” said author Jessica Gall Myrick, an assistant professor at Indiana University’s Media School. Bring on the cats!

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onechocolate loves…

Our weekly round-up of the most inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new tech, cool events, ventures and happenings that have caught our eye…

#1 ‘The missing types’

blood

To raise awareness National Blood Week (8-14 June), NHS Blood and Transplant has partnered with a whole host of celebs, brands and media publications. Several high-profile brands such as Waterstones, Green and Blacks and the TFL, have removed the letters A, O and B – the letters that make up the main blood groups – from their names and titles. The “missing types” campaign will also ask the general public to drop the letters from their social media profiles to show support. Jon Latham, assistant director for donor services and marketing at NHS Blood and Transplant, explained the motivation behind the campaign: “We simply can’t ignore the fact that there has been a stark reduction in the number of new donors coming forward – a trend seen across the world. While we can meet the needs of patients now, it’s important we strengthen the donor base for the future.”

#2 This girl can

In response to the phenomenal success of its ‘This Girl Can’ campaign – launched earlier this year – Sport England has announced a new app and a partnership with M&S. The original campaign featured a video of ‘ordinary’ women getting involved in a variety of sports including football, Zumba and spinning. The new app encourages women to upload their own version of the video, whether it’s finishing a 5k run, or getting back into rounders. Sport England will then match them with campaign straplines such as ‘hot and not bothered’. The partnership with M&S will see limited edition t-shirts sold in M&S stores and online, priced at £12.50. £1 from every t-shirt sold will be used by Sport England to fund projects to help women get more active.

#3 Robot vs Master: let the battle commence

We love this video of world record holder and Japanese sword master, Machii Isao, taking on a new challenger and student – the most advanced industrial robot, MOTOMAN-MH24. Using 3D analysis, the robot is able to analyse and – accurately and elegantly – replicate Isao’s movements. The MOTOMAN is a product created by Yaskawa, and this video is a celebration of their 100th anniversary. It’s an absolute must-watch and a glimpse into the future of robotics and 3D capture.

#4 ‘Smartie Pants’

This week, tech giant Google announced that it is working with iconic denim brand Levi’s on Project Jacquard – smart jeans made from specially woven fabric with touch-screen control capabilities. Conductive fibres will be weaved into the fabric, while super-small computing systems with the ability to make phone calls or send messages will be controlled with the touch or brush of the fabric. This venture is the first time a major clothing brand has truly looked at interactive technology in their products.

#5 She_not­_he

Caitlyn

In a week when Caitlyn Jenner ruled the internet, a rather amusing tweetbot has made an appearance and generated a lot of news coverage. Meet the the Caitlyn Jenner twitter bot @She_not_he, made especially to politely correct those using the term “he” when referring to the lady formerly known as Bruce. While the bot may make mistakes (essentially it only looks for tweets with he and Jenner), we applaud whoever set this up. It’s certainly got media talking even though it hasn’t quite amassed the same following as @Caitlyn_Jenner!

#6 Hungover Londoners, rejoice!

Hungover

It’s what we’ve all been waiting for ever since Thursday (and Tuesday and Wednesday) became the new Friday. We love Alison Lynch’s piece in Metro on these fun new London tube badges by Wayward Studio. The ‘I’m hungover!’ design lets your fellow passengers know when you’ve been out the night before and are feeling a little delicate, or alternatively travellers can opt for an ‘I’m important!’ message to battle for a seat. Although tongue-in-cheek, this is a really effective way to catch the attention of the ‘young professionals’ audience, following the classic ‘solution you never knew you needed’ school of PR. We wonder if they’ll catch on…

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onechocolate loves… the view from Germany

Our German office selected this week’s round-up of inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new tech and cool events…

#1 No limes needed

The premium spirits brand Beam Suntory has collaborated with Justin Timberlake to bring out a new range of tequila; Sauza 901. To promote the product launch, a humorous ad campaign has been released featuring none other than Justin Timberlake himself – dressed as a lime! The clip tells the story of how tequila and limes used to have a ‘special partnership’, but limes are now out of business due to Sauza 901; a tequila that is so delicious, you don’t need a lime. Timberlake also stars in a second video , this time as himself, explaining why no limes are needed with Sauza 901, whilst also showcasing other possible uses for limes as sports equipment or pen holders. We love this ad campaign, not only because of the clever celebrity partnership, but also for the entertaining, lighthearted way the brand messaging is communicated. 

#2 The Unique Connection

Sunday May 10th was Mother’s Day in Germany and brands jumped on the national occasion with countless PR and ad campaigns. One which really stood out was Pandora’s. The jewellery brand demonstrated the unique bond between a mother and her child with a small experiment. The children were blindfolded and asked to identify which was their mother through their other senses. The touching advert is a must-watch, beautifully highlighting the message of Mother’s Day.

#3 Traffic lights: signs of love

Vienna traffic lights 

Step aside Paris! The new city of love is Vienna. In preparation for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, which has a huge gay fan base, the city council has set a glowing example for more tolerance and open-mindedness by installing 120 pedestrian crossing lights showing a mix of hetero and homosexual couples. As well as promoting equal rights, the council is also hoping the lights will increase safety by catching the attention of pedestrians.

#4 Smart plants

Samrt plants

Two students from Hamburg recently won the 3rd place prize at the Eclipse Foundation’s  IoT Challenge with a phenomenal promise: no more dead plants! The duo has developed technology that enables plants to assess their surroundings and decide if they need more water or not. The plants are equipped with a sensor that can measure their level of moisture and also communicate this information to other devices. It is even able to send you a tweet to remind you to water your plants. It’s the perfect solution to ensure that you never kill your plants again!

#5 Tips for a digital Father’s Day

Digital father's day

May 14th is Father’s Day in Germany and we love Cloud Computing Insider’s round-up of the best presents to buy your father importantly, dads everywhere will be pleased to know that the boring classics of ties and socks are nowhere to be seen in this list. Instead, innovative tech gadgets such as a thermometer app, a bottle opener which is integrated with your mobile phone and a pillow designed like a tie are just a few of the must-have gifts featured in this creative selection.

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onechocolate loves: #Election2015 special

So, the results are in. But which brand got your vote for the best newsjacking PR stunts and digital marketing tactics in the run up to the final countdown? Here are the top brand campaigns we loved for putting ‘the party’ back into politics….

#1 Facebook’s pie in the sky

Election - facebook

In the lead up to the election, Facebook created a stunning stunt using The London Eye and its own data. The big eye in the sky, located just opposite Westminster, was turned into a visual representation of what slice of the pie each party had – according to user engagement levels on Facebook. It was updated every day at 9.30pm and was created with the aim of encouraging members of the public to turn up to vote.

#2 Paddy Power’s cheeky stunt

Election - Paddy Power

The cheekiest election stunt has to go to Paddy Power, who sent a branded lorry to the Houses of Parliament, complete with a spokesperson chanting “Sacked in the morning, you’re getting sacked in the morning, sacked in the mooorning, you’re getting sacked in the morning.” The controversial bookmakers predicted that 75 per cent of MPs would be unseated in the 2015 Election and on the morning of results day the actual number stands at 110.

#3 #EducatingJoey

Election - Joey Essex

In this time of pretty heavy politics chat, one person caught our eye for something altogether lighter. Sending twitter into a virtual meltdown, the delightful Joey Essex kept us entertained on Tuesday with his open admission to lack of political knowledge and his mission to learn, over on ITV2. Twitter was buzzing with #EducatingJoey tweets and, while we were certainly amused by his banter with top politicians and the children he met at Westminster, it was fascinating to watch everyone the take time to speak to @JoeyEssex and hopefully lessen his confusion around all things politics. The show certainly caught the eye of the media, too with coverage everywhere from The Independent, Daily Mail and The Telegraph to OK and regional press.

Digital Spy’s done a roundup of their favourite reactions to the show and, of course, there’s some interesting chat from the man himself.

#4 Paintball politics

Election - paintball

We are loving UKPaintball’s online game which allows you to move your player around the screen, hide behind obstacles, protect yourself from being shot and shoot your opponents. What makes it extra special, is that your targets are actually various MPs and you get to shoot them down. The company has also run a competition with 500 prizes up for grabs. Within a few hours, the game received almost 2k shares on Facebook and almost 3k on Twitter… We highly recommend trying out the game for yourself, a word of warning however: it is really addictive!

#5 General Election round-up: brands reacts

Eelction - Pizza hut

We particularly love this round-up of brand reactions to the Election from Samantha Edwards at Brand Republic. The article is a great illustration of the way brands leveraged the national event to raise their profile on social media. One of our favourites from the article was Pizza Hut, who created a humours range of pizzas based on the characteristics of each of the main five parties and encourage its audience to get to the Polling Station and then to the LOLLING Station.

#6 E4’s Election Day Shutdown

Election - E4

Finally, we were impressed by E4’s clever tactic designed to galvanise young voters. Britain’s most popular digital channel E4 stopped broadcasting from 7am to 7pm on Election Day in a bid to get Britain’s younger generation off the sofa and into the polling stations. Instead of the usual array of teenage drama series and American sitcoms, viewers tuning into the channel were subjected to a bored technician manning the control room. This is the first time in the UK a major broadcaster has shut down its operations for the day as part of a marketing campaign and the message appears to has resonated: according to initial reports, 58% of young people turned up at the polling station – a 20% increase on 2005’s figures!

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