Archive for August, 2009

Eco Wee

Posted in One to Ponder on August 27, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

The Brazilian conservation group SOS Mata Atlantica has an unusual strategy for saving the planet: peeing in the shower. According to their research, if a household avoided just one toilet flush a day, it would save 12 litres, or 4,380 litres per year.

In the animated spot, which uses humour to engage people, a truly odd array of characters including Gandhi, Michael Jordan, and Stephen Hawking are shown weeing in the shower. At the end of the ad, children narrating in Portuguese yell, “Pee in the shower! Save the Atlantic Rainforest!”

Water is the new oil. By 2025, 2 out of 3 people will face water shortages.

“Weeing in the shower – we want everyone to do it! Men, women, kids, Brazilian or not. The nobles & the everyday people.

Musicians, sportsmen, people that are half man half monster. Spooky beings.

Brazilian mythical characters. Greek mythical characters. Good people. People who aren’t so good.

Artistic geniuses. Science geniuses. Trapeze artists. Lovers. People from other planets. Movie phenomenon.

Basically if you wee then you’re invited to do it!

Wee in the shower – save the atlantic forest.”

This is not the only eco campaign that endorses urinating. The Pee Outside organisation is dedicated to this environmentally-friendly activity, promoting a “Pee Outside day” once a year.

pee outside

In a similar vein, an ad by China’s Greenfamily Youth Association of Environment Protection a couple of years ago, compared polluted water to poo. The aim was to incite environmental caution through psychological or physical aversion and highlight unsanitary Chinese habits that contribute to pollution.

one to ponder chinese poo


Thanks to Matilda Kay for this story. Matilda comes from a long line of eco warriors.


Cockney ATMs

Posted in Miscellaneous on August 27, 2009 by Something for the Weekend


Oh dear. Cockney ATM’s have landed in East London. “Some moolah for ya sky rocket? Ya rattle & tank balance?”, they say. Brummie, Geordie and Scouse versions are in the pipeline. But the Glasgow Kiss prototype didn’t make it past research. We suspect there was some ill-thought strategy that urged an informality and localism of discourse. We banks are just like you. Banks can do “funny” but they should never be “funny”. More than ever, we want our banks to be serious, responsible and somewhat humble.

A slightly cleverer approach is the recent ATM tie-in campaigns – the thinking being that this is when people are most likely to monitor finances at cash points, so ads on mini-statements might be an idea. Would be nice if somebody used this as an opportunity to offer people properly helpful financial advice or even messages like, ‘do you really need those shoes?’, rather than tempting them with discounts for crap sandwiches.


Thanks to Rob Hughes for this story. Rob is the only person at Mother who spends all his day in a cage.

Is there Life after Advertising?

Posted in Culture on August 27, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

After losing his job as a copywriter, Eric Proulx decided to create a job-search site for recently unemployed advertising professionals and tell their stories on Please Feed The Animals. Production company Picture Park took an interest and soon Proulx’ interviews turned into a film. Twitter has played a crucial role in its production and promotion, with Virgin America volunteering transport to filming locations. The resulting documentary, Lemonade, premieres in the US this autumn and reveals how creative and fulfilling life can be beyond advertising, if you’ve ever wondered. 70,000 advertising professionals have lost their jobs due to the recession.


Thanks to Ellie Osbourne for this story. Ellie is a distant relative of Ozzy Osbourne.

Brand Philosophers

Posted in Branding on August 27, 2009 by Something for the Weekend


Brand ambassador of the week. Heathrow Terminal 5 has hired contemporary philosopher Alain de Botton as a writer-in-residence. De Botton, who has been granted access-all-areas, sits in the departure lounge writing general and passenger observations, which appear on a giant plasma screen behind him. The observations will be turned into free book for T5 customers. “It’s brave of them to have me,” says De Botton, “but it’s better for them to have a book that tells the truth than a glossy brochure that people will just throw away.”

Other interesting brand ambassadors:

Tottenham Hotspur hired poet Sarah Wardle as a poet-in-residence.

The Bluewater Shopping centre has Steve Dearden as a writer-in-residence.

Fay Weldon was a feminist-in-residence at the Savoy Hotel.


Thanks to Sara Tate for this story. Sara can’t spell her own name but she’s a really good strategist.

Paid to Queue

Posted in Digital on August 27, 2009 by Something for the Weekend


New consumer champion Paul McCrudden has charged over 50 companies for his time spent queuing in shops and waiting in restaurants only to receive rubbish customer service. The London-based blogger calculated that brands owe him £6,000 for time misspent. Pret A Manger coughed up a cheque for £62 to compensate for the time ‘wasted’ in their cafes, even taking the liberty of refunding the £22 he spent on food. Cranberry, the dried fruit confectioners, took a different tactic, calling him a “nut case” and sending him an invoice for the twelve minutes spent answering his letter. McCrudden is recording the findings on his blog 6Weeks and has 1,000 followers wishing to be equally compensated. Some are even charging ‘brand McCrudden’ for the time spent reading his blog, spreading the word and their correspondence with him.

We sort of like the reaction of Cranberry telling McCrudden where to go. If we accept that bad brands should be properly punished, then why not poorly behaved consumers too? Wagamama’s, which promotes the idea of positive eating + positive living, offers discretionary discounts to ‘good customers’, for example.

Following on from Complaints Choirs, we’re seeing consumers increasingly challenge brands about crappy service and shoddy brand experiences. What we once put up with, we now seek compensation for. To the point that this may become a new revenue stream for consumers and brands alike.

If a brand can’t eliminate say, queues, why not offer a service where someone can do it for the customer? Or offer appointments and callback services, which could feel really premium and at the same time, better manage human resources? Services like Everyday PA offer affordable personal assistance for the lifestyle admin we struggle to find the time or inclination to do.

If you enjoy rants about poor customer service (and general strategy stuff), read this Geordie chap’s blog.


How we will eat in the Future

Posted in One to Ponder on August 21, 2009 by Something for the Weekend


Philips Design has invented three products that could become reality in our kitchens in the next 15 to 20 years, as part of a research project into the future of food consumption. These include the Food Printer: molecular gastronomy at the touch of a button; the Nutrition Monitor: a swallowable sensor which determines exactly what sort of food you need for optimum health; and the Biosphere Home Farm: kitchen as micro farm. Read more.

Cocaine Bars

Posted in Miscellaneous on August 21, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

misc pic

Route 36 in Bolivia has been dubbed “the world’s first cocaine bar”. It has candlelit tables, complimentary bottled water, and Backgammon! This new trend of ‘cocaine tourism’ is a combination of Bolivia’s notoriously corrupt public officials, chaotic ‘anything goes’ attitude, and the national example of President Evo Morales, himself a coca grower. The unintentional ‘pop up’ bar changes location to avoid complaints and the law. We’re seeing a similar trend in the US and UK for smoker speakeasies. Recent statistics show cocaine abuse in the UK is at its highest for 12 years.