broadcasting, content creating, distributing, experiencing, phdcast, popping up, television

PHDcast 02.08.13 – its not the ooh laa la edition of the PHDcast as we talk TV, The Power Inside and Magnum Pop-Up

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morning PHDcast listeners. Nic was in the hot seat this week for the not-the-ooh laa la edition of the PHDcast. bien sur 😉 … awesome job Disco

much of the debate this week was in and around TV watching – how it’s changing and what the implications are, especially for brands. I wrote about some of the aspects of this in my post on Friday, but it’s worth dwelling on a point Stew makes at the twenty minute mark around people watching programmes not channels. I think that’s true but I also think its not quite as clean cut as that, and as the CBS / Time Warner stand-off enters it’s second day – leaving 3 million American’s without shows like Hawaii Five-0 (I know) – it’s clear that there is much more to come as the distribution wars heat up.

also on the cast we got round to talking about the Magnum Pop-Up Experience hitting Sydney. following the success of the store in other cities, the ground floor of Westfield in Sydney’s CBD has for the last three weeks been the latest place to get the pleasure pop-up. you get to design your own magnum … white, milk or dark chocolate plus plenty of toppings, all for a mere $7.

as I say on the cast, it’s a phenomenal example of a brand pulling the trick of landing marketing that gets people to pay for its own existence. and the fact that people are queuing up for it is proof positive of the indulgence for which the brand is known.

Magnum_pop-up Magnum_pop-up_2 Magnum_pop-up_3

experiencing, popping up, sampling

When a brand in hand isn’t enough: why binding experience and sampling together is an opportunity most brands shouldn’t afford to miss

Haribo_Edinburgh_sampleDr Pepper_Edinborgh_samplegrabbing samples at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; (top) Fraser and me grabbing some Haribo, (bottom) Mark and I on the Dr Pepper

so my good mate Mark this morning sent me thru the above pics taken whilst we were in Edinburgh a few weeks ago.  during my heady couple of days of non-stop show-seeing and jumping around at the Fringe, we stumbled across a couple of brands sampling festival-goers on the Royal Mile.  hence the rather delightful pics above of my good self with Fraser and Mark (who doesn't normally have a moustache but who was in a show and so has at least one good excuse)…

which brings us to the subject of sampling.  when to do it, how to do it and who to do it to.  I guess my brief Edinburgh experiences tell me a couple of things; one – that its essential to get the right people at the right place (no poo Sherlock) but two, that I'm not very convinced that sampling on its own is enough…

to the first point; it was sunny, we were festivalled up, having fun and running around.  in that context both brands were spot on in terms of understanding who they were targeting and why.  a bag of sweets and a can of sugary good stuff were perfect additions to the afternoon.  for both brands, adding their fun-filled good stuff to such a positive and buzzing environment meant that they complemented and were complemented by what was going around the sampling teams.

but to my second point, what was the actual benefit of the exercise?  they got brand in hand but I'm sure there's more to the opportunity than this…  shouldn't both of these brands have been looking to add an experience to the sampling moment that made more of the sample's investment but also more of the person's investment in taking time to sample / experience the brand.


it is in many ways the opposite situation to that of Pot Noodle's (above) effort at last years Festival, where Mother staged a musical (which I wrote about here).  great experience but what about the sampling opportunity?  at the very least handing out pots of the stuff after the show…  but they could have gone further – what about Edinburgh Festival limited edition Pots, or a mechanic that incorporated a sampling experience into the show.

the bottom line is that sampling and experience are increasingly part of the same equation.  but not just in some strategic 'yeah cool lets join it up' way, but rather in an intrinsic, bound together, one can't and shouldn't live without the other kind of way.

a brand on which I currently work is using pop-ups shops to sample some NPD, because venturing into a space which lives and breathes what a brand stands for whilst being offered an opportunity to take a bit of that brand's product with you is infinitely more powerful than being handed it cold in the street…  and when that street in Edinburgh is one of the busiest, crowded and expectant streets in the world, that's an opportunity you couldn't and shouldn't afford to miss.

direct-marketing, popping up

Popping up at Somerset House: How Bombay Sapphire’s Dusk Bar is engaging drikers with it’s botanicals intrinsics story (and mixes a mean cocktail)

Bar_logo so last night Mediation went along to the launch event for Bombay Sapphire's Dusk Bar at Somerset House.  the pop-up – which will have residency at the site for the duration of the summer – is an explosion of illuminated blue plastic and metal, the brief of 'bring the iconic bottle to life' being more than met.

what's was more interesting though was the expression of the product intrinsics at the bar.  all spirits are comprised of 'botanicals' – key flavours and ingredients that contribute to the spirits taste profile.  Bombay Sapphire has ten – all of which were on display in various forms at the event.

the actual botanicals were there in bowls themselves, everything from the juniper berry (natch) to the Orris root and Grains of Paradise amongst others; but beyond this, Bombay Sapphire had asked ten leading mixologists from London's most fashionable bars to each create a cocktail from the bar. each cocktail is inspired by a botanical ie key product intrinsic (Mediation's favourite turned out to be the one with elderflower cordial but I can't remember it's name).

so the question of whether or not Bombay Sapphire and Co. can mix an awesome cocktail aside (they can) there's the bigger question of why do a pop-up bar in the first place?  what's it adding?  who is it for?  and what's the payback?

I put this question to a few bar trade magazine editors who were present, and beyond "it get's Bombay Sapphire talked about" it was hard to track down more of a specific answer.  presumably there's hard and soft measures for this kind of thing…  hard ones along the lines of 'does the bar pay for itself?', how many people do we engage with an experience of the course of the summer?' etc.  these and more like them should pay back in the immediate term.

as always though its the longer term softer effects that are harder to pin down.  does the experience change people's attitude and perception of Bombay Sapphire?  does it help increase their brand reputation scores?  and crucially, will in increase the volume of Bombay Sapphire sold in bar and in future consumption thru supermarkets.  the brand has a lot to do – gin consumption is in free-fall (down 14.5% year on year).

I can't answer any of those questions, but I hope Bombay Sapphire can.  because an investment of this scale, even if it is paying back, should be aligned to a very specific long term strategy and objective.  from my perspective, if it was to communicate the existence and balance of intrinsics, as well as change my perception of gin-based cocktails, it was a job well done.  and that's not just the cocktails talking.


the Bombay Sapphire Dusk Bar is popping up at Somerset House until October 2009, for more details see their blog