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CHANGING CURRENTS
REFLECTIONS
The MEDIUM, the MESSAGE and the SAUSAGE DOG
CYCLING TO XANADU
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VIEWS FROM ABOARD THE CHINA EXPRESS:
1 Zola and Retail Marketing
2 Playing the Waiting Game
3 Beware the Ides of March
4 The county not on a map
5 Chinese Chess in Beijing
6 Build it and They'll Come
7 Riding the Water Dragon
8 The Best of Both Worlds
9 Storming the Great Wall
10 Welcome to the Wangba
11 The Catcher in the Rice
12 The Marriage Business
13 The Crouching Dragon
14 Counting the Numbers
15 A Century of Migration
16 Shooting for the Stars
17 Rise of Yorkshire Puds
18 Harry Potter in Beijing
19 Standing Out in China
20 Self-pandactualisation
21 Strolling on the Moon
22 Tea with the Brothers
23 Animated Guangzhou
24 Trouble on the Farms
25 Christmas in Haerbin
26 Dave pops into Tesco
27 A Breath of Fresh Air
28 The Boys from Brazil
29 Rolls-Royce on a roll
30 The Great Exhibition
31 Spreading the Word
32 On Top of the World
33 Moonlight Madness
34 Beijing's Wild West
35 Avatar vs Confucius
36 Brand Ambassadors
37 Inspiring Adventure
38 China's Sweet Spot
39 Spinning the Wheel
40 Winter Wonderland
41 The End of the Sky
42 Ticket to Ride High
43 Turning the Corner
44 Trouble in Toytown
45 Watch with Mother
46 Red-crowned Alert
47 In a Barbie World
48 Domestic Arrivals
49 Tale of Two Taxis
50 Land of Extremes
51 Of 'Mice' and Men
52 Tour of the South
53 Brooding Clouds?
54 The Nabang Test
55 Guanxi Building
56 Apple Blossoms
57 New Romantics
58 The Rose Seller
59 Rural Shanghai
60 Forbidden Fruit
61 Exotic Flavours
62 Picking up Pace
63 New Year, 2008
64 Shedding Tiers
65 Olympic Prince
66 London Calling
67 A Soulful Song
68 Paradise Lost?
69 Brandopolises
70 Red, red wine
71 Finding Nemo
72 Rogue Dealer
73 Juicy Carrots
74 Bad Air Days
75 Golden Week
76 Master Class
77 Noodle Wars
78 Yes We Can!
79 Mr Blue Sky
80 Keep Riding
81 Wise Words
82 Hair Today
83 Easy Rider
84 Aftershock
85 Bread vans
86 Pick a card
87 The 60th
88 Ox Tales
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Silencing the Rumble

Monday, 21st September, 2020

How refreshing to see a celebrity footballer in the news for the 'right' reasons.

In June, Marcus Rashford — who had already helped raise £20m for FareShare, the UK's largest food redistribution charity — wrote an open letter to MPs to plead for the food voucher scheme (in lieu of free school meals) to be extended into the summer holidays. 

This heartfelt activism led to the payment of £120m worth of vouchers to the families of the 1.3 million eligible children. 

As well as winning over the UK government, Mr Rashford's powerful retelling of his own experiences as a kid on free school meals, knowing "what it's like to be hungry", has succeeded in putting the plight of hungry children into the public consciousness.

The cause gained further momentum when, on the 1st September, Mr Rashford announced that he, FareShare, the Food Foundation, and several famous brands in the food industry had formed the Child Food Poverty Task Force, whose aim is to put an end to child food poverty in the UK (#ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY).

At the time of writing this (1pm on the 21st September), the brands on the task force's team sheet are: Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Deliveroo, General Mills, Greggs, Heinz, Iceland Foods, Kellogg’s, Lidl, McDonalds, M&S, Mars, Nestlé, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose.

All of these brands have a track record of supporting FareShare or other charities whose work helps to fight food poverty.

Happily, Mr Rashford's campaigning is making brand-actions in this area resonate louder than ever. The impact of these actions is further amplified by clear, compelling messaging, underpinned by powerful creativity.
 
Heinz's 'silence the rumble' animated film, created by BBH, ticks all these boxes. It tells the engaging story of Jess and her school-day battle against the dreaded 'Rumble'.
 
Marcus Rashford, always keen to shout-out the actions of the brands on the task force, was impressed enough to tweet the 90 second film to his 3.3 million Twitter followers, with the message:
 
"Thank you @HeinzUK for partnering with Magic Breakfast to #silencetherumble."

Replying to this tweet, @sjcnj was moved to write, "Oh Marcus, that's spot on. Slightly brings a tear to my eye... "

I'm sure that @sjcnj speaks for many.

I am also sure that the leaders behind the food-industry brands that have not yet supported the cause will now be more likely to step up to the plate.

References:

https://fareshare.org.uk/

https://foodfoundation.org.uk/ 

https://www.magicbreakfast.com/news/heinz  

https://www.heinz.co.uk/silencetherumble

https://www.nestle.co.uk/en-gb/media/pressreleases/allpressreleases/nestle-uki-and-marcus-rashfords

https://www.ft.com/content/a538959e-ce56-4054-ab90-69e9c0a43018

https://www.ft.com/content/e5061be6-2978-4c0b-aa68-f372a2526826 

https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/heinz-silence-rumble-bbh-london/1694718

https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/news/118354/uk-food-giants-join-rashford-to-form-child-food-poverty-task-force/ 

https://www.retailtimes.co.uk/mars-food-proudly-joins-marcus-rashfords-child-food-poverty-task-force/ 

https://www.retailtimes.co.uk/general-mills-joins-marcus-rashfords-child-food-poverty-task-force/ 

https://www.tes.com/news/marcus-rashford-calls-free-school-meals-expansion 

https://twitter.com/MarcusRashford/status/1306144432690024449 

 

Rugby's Big Return

14th August, 2020

To celebrate the return of Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Taylor Herring came up with a big idea in more ways than one... to paint the faces of three of the game's most exciting players onto the canvas that is Twickenham's hallowed turf. Then came the hard work. After 100 hours of planning, close to 200 hours of artistic toil, and the use of 1280 litres of biodegradable paint, the UK's largest painting was unveiled.

Harlequins' prop Joe Marler, one of the chosen three, was both "ecstatic" and "euphoric" that his face was "being immortalised". Continuing his typically deadpan tongue-in-cheek delivery, he was quick to point out: "Even though they say it's being immortalised, that's not really true is it. Coz it will just go when they mow it next."

In the meantime, news of the giant painting was reported in several national newspapers, among more than 200 pieces of media coverage.

charts/Twickenham5.jpg

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Giant pitch portrait of Premiership Rugby stars unveiled at Twickenham to mark long-awaited restart of the season. from Taylor Herring on Vimeo.

Creature Discomforts: Life in Lockdown

18th July, 2020

Big ideas stand the test of time. The idea of using 'claymation' model animals with human voice-overs to strike an empathetic chord was famously (if you're British and of a certain vintage that is) adopted in 1990 to promote the use of electric central heating. 

The concept was inspired by 'Creature Comforts', which earned Nick Park, its creator, the Oscar in the 'Short Film (Animated)' category at the 1991 awards. This was the first of his four Oscars, so far. Another of his creations, Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out, was also nominated in the same category in the same year.   

Fast forward 30 years and claymation-lookalike zoo, circus, and aquarium animals are again raising the awareness of their plights – this time using the voice-overs of Brits talking about lockdown, and its effects on their lives.

In the first scene, the tigress says, "I think there's been times when you feel, just a bit rubbish and just feel a bit sorry for yourself. Her mate, an Eastenders' pub-landlord soundalike, retorts: "I think that's what living with me 24/7 gets ya."  "Yeah!" adds the tigress even before he finishes the sentence.

Another scene features an elderly circus elephant, standing alone inside a dingy, patched-up Big Top. Speaking for many in these uncertain times, she laments: "You wonder just how much longer it's going on for, though, don't you." 

The film was made for the Born Free Foundation, which campaigns to "Keep wildlife in the Wild".  


Creature Discomforts 

Client: The Born Free Foundation

Creative agency: Engine

Created by: Pete Ioulianou and Ollie Agius

Directed by: Peter Peake

Production company: Aardman Animations  

Creature Comforts

Client:  Electricty boards' Heat Electric campaign

Advertising agency: GGK

Directed by: Nick Park  

Creative Director: Nick Fordham

Art Directors: Phil Rylance, Newy Brothwell

Writers: Paul Cardwell, Kim Durdant-Hollamby

Awards: More than you can shake a stick at.

Creature Comforts – the short film

Idea by: Nick Park

Directed by: Nick Park

Produced by: Sara Mullock, Aardman Animations

Model & Sets by: Michael Wright, Greg Boulton, John Parsons and Cliff Thorne.

Animal Sculptures by Debbie Smith.

Photography by David Sproxton, David Alex Rideett and Fred Reed.

Interviewer: Julie Sedgewick.

Edited by: William Ennals.

First aired:15th July 1989 on Channel 4 

 

References:

Campaign, Pick of the Week, Born Free plays to a captive audience, by Jennifer Small, 30th July 2020.  

Campaign, Born Free channels lockdown anguish to highlight animal captivity, 24th July 2020.

https://www.aardman.com/ 

https://www.oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/1991

https://www.bornfree.org.uk/about-us

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creature_Comforts

https://aardman.fandom.com/wiki/Creature_Comforts_(short_film) 

 

You're Not a Salmon 

Kitkat, 2003 

Who better to cast as KitKat's 'break philosoper' than Jason Statham, who played Bacon in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). Statham recounts the painfully arduous journey of the animal that is spawned to strive, before alerting viewers to the dangers of trying to emulate this.

Year: 2003 (first aired in late February or early March).

Starring: Jason Statham

Client: Nestlé 

Agency: J. Walter Thompson

Brand Tagline: Have a break, have a KitKat

Brand Tagline Copywriter: Donald Gilles, JWT, 1957.

 

'Saint George'

Tango, 1997 

"The customer is always right." Ray Gardner, Spokesperson for Tango, doesn't agree. At least, not when it comes to an exchange student having the temerity to not like Blackcurrant Tango as much as the brand's other flavours. Rather than writing back, Ray goes that extra mile to show that action speaks louder than words.

First aired: 17th October 1997

Starring: Ray Gardner (playing Ray Gardner)

Client: David Atter, Tango

Agency: HHCL & Partners

Creative idea and writing: Chas Bayfield & Jim Bolton

Film Director: Colin Gregg

Agency Producer: Pete Muggleston

Agency Planner: Dave O'Hanlon 

Account Director: Minnie Moll

 

'The Battle of Naseby'

Weetabix, 1989 

14th June 1645, Naseby, Northamptonshire, England. The Royalist Army faces off against Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentarians. A lone rider gallops toards the waiting enemy's long line of infantry. He brings news. News that would change the course of history.

Year: First appeared in 1989

Copywriter: Paul Weinberger

Art Director: Rod Waskett

Director: Paul Weiland

 

'Boy on the Bike'

Hovis, 1973 

Hear the opening bars of Dvorak's New World Symphony and what's the first image that pops into your mind?  The thoughts of Brits of a certain age, like me, are likely to be a long way from the New World and the imagery that inspired Dvorak to write the symphony in the 1890s.

Far more likely, the grainy, desaturated images will be of a flat-capped delivery boy, laden with freshly-baked Hovis bread, struggling to push his bike up a cobblestoned, steep hill.

The TV commercial was directed by Sir Ridley Scott, who still talks fondly of it and the other four commercials he shot for the campaign. The series was created by CDP's Geoff Seymour, whose creative genius propelled the ads into popular culture.

Indeed, it was Seymour's track-record that persuaded Scott to sign-up for the series. “Anything that Geoff Seymour wrote I very much paid attention to because he was kind of special,” Scott told Marketing Week in 2018. 

Talking of special, the tag-line Seymour wrote for the series, 'As good for you today as it's always been', is one of the all-time greats advertising-lines. Today, the line that has done so much for the brand lives on in slightly shorter form, 'As good today as its always been'. 

The postive impression that 'Boy on the Bike' made on the minds of millions is such that, in 2019, it was voted 'Britain's most iconic and heart-warming' advert. To celebrate the accolade, Hovis commissioned the British Film Institute to digitally remaster the advertisement. Also, 46 years on from their orignal recording of the New World Symphony, the Ashington Colliery brass band was invited back.

And, of course, the end 'pack shot' of the Hovis loaf was long past its sell-by date, so was replaced by one with the latest packaging.

How does it compare with the original? 

For me, it's as good today as it's always been.

Agency: CDP

Created by: Geoff Seymour

Director: Sir Ridley Scott 

References:

https://www.hovis.co.uk/our-story 

https://www.marketingweek.com/sir-ridley-scott-golden-age-advertising/