Don't forget. If you want to join in with Assignment 13, stuff has to be in before 10pm GMT on the 15th.
Don't forget. If you want to join in with Assignment 13, stuff has to be in before 10pm GMT on the 15th.
Right, following my slipshod behaviour with the last two assignments it's time to get a little rigorous. I will post on the first of the month. Entries need to be in by the 15th. Feedback will be posted by the end of the month. Honest.
So this is Assignment 13. (I'm counting the 'tell the future thing' as number 12, which I still need to think about). This one's supposed to be a little more real-worldy. See what you think. Imagine you get this email from a senior management person at an agency where you work:
How are you? Good. Anyway.
We have an important new business prospect coming in to see us in 15 days. They are a packaged goods company considering launching a range of eco-friendly cleaning and laundry products. Exactly what that means isn't clear yet. We're going to do all the usual creds and stuff. I'm taking care of this. Then they would like a 10 minute presentation on what we think the state of the market is in this country. This needs to cover - who are the most significant brands and competitors? what are the opportunities in the local market? what important things do they need to consider? You know the kind of thing - come up with some stuff to impress them. Don't worry about international considerations - just concentrate on this country, the one you live in.
As you know, since we spent all that money installing a marble floor in reception we now have no money to spend on any kind of market research or competitive information so you'll have to find all the information you need on the internet. And, I should point out that IT have informed me that email, phones, elevators and electric doors will be down for the next 15 days so there will be absolutely no opportunity for you to ask me any more questions on this project. This is the only information you will receive.
I know you'll enjoy rising to the challenge of this considerable opportunity, I look forward to seeing your thoughts when I'm presenting them to the client. Please bear in mind that if you blow this and fail to impress these people we'll probably have to fire 30 or 40 people.
Does that make sense? That's the assignment. If you'd like to take part please email me (russell at russelldavies.com) a PowerPoint document of 10 pages or less. No more than 3MB. Before 10pm (GMT) on February 15th. No extensions. No other formats will be accepted. 11 pages? Won't get marked. pdf? Won't get marked. 3.1MB? Won't get marked. Is that all clear? Remember to RTFQ. My plan, as part of the feedback process, is to round up some people and record a discussion of what they'd do when facing such a task. So that'll be interesting too.
Okey dokey folks. Here's the feedback on Account Planning School of the Web, assignment 11, The Maple Syrup Imbroglio. Apologies for the delay in getting this done.
Reasons For The Delay In Getting This Done
1. I've been a little busy and rather daunted by 50 entries.
2. I've been having a small moment of turmoil about whether this whole thing is worth doing or not. About whether I'm helping or hindering you all in the pursuit of planning excellence/acceptability.
Conclusions About Whether This Is Worth Doing
On the whole I think it is. As long as we all remember a few simple things:
1. I can't teach you how to be a planner with this blog. That's not what this is about. It's just some fun, a place to hang out, support each other and practice some stuff. I can't walk you through really complicated problems, I can't help teach you how to analyze complex data (I can't do that in the real world so there's no way I can do it on a blog). There's no substitute for real world training. And real world training is no substitute for real world experience. That's the only thing than can teach you planning. Decades and decades of real world experience, which will leave you bitter, twisted and emotionally stunted, like me.
2. But there are some good things we can do here:
We can practise the skills of precis and compression. Practise building compact, memorable language that compresses nuance, emotion and complexity into stuff people can remember and use.
We can learn from each other. I think that's probably most of the value here. Not what I say, but what you can learn from seeing each others stuff.
We can learn what makes an interesting idea. In going through all the maple syrup stuff I found myself writing 'interesting' a lot. Because you're in the business of providing your colleagues, clients and customers with useful and directional thinking stuff. It's not enough to be right. You've also got to be interesting. That's something we can learn here.
And, perhaps most importantly we can learn how to throw ideas out into the world without worrying about it. That's something useful.
Anyway. On with the feedback.
Most of the stuff was OK. No-one did enough good ones to get to be a winner but no-one did anything really terrible.
1. Most of you just didn't think hard enough. The places most of you ended up were incredibly, staggeringly obvious. Canada. Sweetness. Natural. A 6-year old could have got there in 5 minutes. (I know, I tried with Arthur.) This doesn't mean they're wrong, but think about the context. You're competing for attention, either here or with your colleagues, clients, customers or competitors. An obvious answer just isn't going to cut it.
2. You didn't spend enough time sweating the language. If you're going to be in an obvious territory you could at least find an interesting way of expressing it. Evocative language, words that go beyond the rational, something that conjures up memories or associations.
3. RTFQ. Please. I lay down incredibly simple rules for these things. And quite a lot of you just ignore them, either writing too much or adding all sorts of explanatory detail. I hope you're not ignoring the briefs you get from clients in the same way.
What I Did
I copied everything into one, large document. I stripped all the explanatory detail out from those who'd added it (RTFQ) and only looked at the first five answers from people who'd written more (RTFQ). Then I went through and wrote whatever occurred to me at the time. I'm sorry if that's a little perfunctory and brutal but it seemed the only way to cope with everything. And, as I say, I don't think the value you're looking for is in my feedback on your particular answer but in the whole body of stuff that everybody did.
Apologies if I've missed anyone out, misnamed anyone or transposed anything. I've become slightly copy and paste blind.
That's it. Here we go...
maple syrup : naturally sweet.
maple syrup : a sweet sap.
maple syrup : real sweet.
maple syrup : the purest form of sweet.
maple syrup : nature’s elixir
Hmmm. None of those are wrong. 'Naturally sweet' is obviously an important territory. They’re just not very memorably expressed.
Maple syrup - extravenous health injection
Maple syrup - 10 litres healthy sap in one gulp
Maple syrup - extravagantly extra virgin
Maple syrup - Maple serum
Maple syrup - mother nature's milk
I like the use of words like extravenous and serum. Because they’re unusual in this context they stick out and draw the attention. Not sure I buy ‘mother nature’s milk’ maple syrup doesn’t seem very milky to me. I like the idea of extravagantly extra virgin, not quite sure what it means though.
Maple Syrup. Manitou's Ambrosia.
Maple Syrup. Worshipped by Canada on their flag.
Put an end to Bee Slavery with Maple Syrup.
Maple Syrup. Sweet. With Taste.
Pancakes taste like Maple Syrup.
‘Put an end to bee slavery’ is funny. Though arguably it’s more of a creative idea than a strategic one. (Though that’s a horribly blurry line). I guess ‘Manitou’s Ambrosia’ is a version of Mother Nature’s Milk but it’s better somehow. A. because Manitou is an interesting and specific word. B. because Ambrosia doesn’t have the same instant connotations as milk. There’s something interesting in the flag thing – but could you make it stronger? Like ‘the only condiment great enough to make it onto a national flag’. Not sure that’s great, but you see what I mean.
Makes a pancake taste like a pancake
Essence of Canada distilled
The flavour of a Canadian autumn
What people bring back from Canada to prove they've been
Tate & Lyle is from Mars maple syrup is from Venus
I like ‘the flavour of a Canadian autumn’. Nice and evocative. Goes beyond the rational. ‘Essence of Canada’ is clearly a good thought but could it be more interesting somehow?
Maple Syrup. Nature’s sugar substitute
Maple Syrup. The new vanilla, because vanilla is so vanilla.
The reigning Queen of the condiment drawer – Maple Syrup.
Just try to be angry pouring Maple Syrup… told you.
Maple Syrup. Because breakfast shouldn’t be boring.
‘Because vanilla is so vanilla’ is clever, but I’m not sure it’s enough. I could see it as a line of copy, but it’s not a strategic thought. I like ‘just try to be angry’. I like the way it makes you imagine yourself pouring and it’s unexpected territory. Very good that one.
Save the Earth, Tap a Tree.
Maple Syrup: Nature’s Sugar Daddy
Maple Syrup: all sweet, no saccharine
Putting sugar to shame since the first Thanksgiving
‘Autumn distilled’ is good. ‘Save the Earth. Tap a Tree’ is nicely put. I like a little alliteration. Might be a bit of over-claim? And not enough of an over-claim to be obvious hyperbole. I like the way the last one says something anti-sugar and evokes some settler heritage.
Stops your belly and heart from killing each other.
Less guilt per millilitre.
The anti-aging system that works from the inside.
The doom of dull breakfasts and cancer.
Helps you enjoy breakfast on the bed.
You’re tackling healthiness in some interesting ways here. ‘Less guilt per millilitre’ is a good idea. And the medical language catches the eye, because it’s unexpected. But…I think it’s too medical, it’s too distant from the naturalness and pleasure you want from maple syrup.
Maple syrup – Sticks everything else together
Maple syrup – Lavatic and anti-asthmatic
Maple syrup – Sweetener drained for E-numbers
Maple syrup – Pioneer culture on a bottle
Maple syrup – With pancakes as a nice condiment
Again, ‘lavatic and anti-asthmatic’ seems really clinical and medical. Not right for such a simply natural thing. And I don’t know what ‘lavatic’ means. You should stick to words that most people understand, unless you have a really good reason not to. Pioneer culture in a bottle is interesting. That’s got good associations (and I guess some bad ones) but it is instantly evocative. I’m suddenly imagining plaid shirts, axes and women in bonnets.
Maple Syrup. Breakfast's Best Friend (BBF)
Maple Syrup. 24-hour morning glory.
Maple Syrup. Honey without the sting.
Maple Syup. Maple's natural lubricant.
Maple Syrup. Why Canadian girls are prettier.
Breakfast’s Best Friend is too obvious. I don’t think making an acronym qualifies as an idea. ‘Honey without the sting’ is nice. Though most people buying honey aren’t really worried about getting stung. (Or am I being too picky?) ‘Why Canadian girls are prettier’ is nice and lateral but I can see that being a creative idea you might get to, not a strategy you want to start with. What’s the truth behind that? Could you get to one? If you could rationalise that somehow (in the silly advertising sense of ‘rationalise’) you might get to something better.
Maple Syrup: Eating sap is sweeter than having hives.
Maple Syrup: What bees dream of.
Why Canadians don't care when Americans make fun of them.
Maple Syrup: Sweeter than oak.
Maple Syrup: Family Breakfast Comfort Anytime Anywhere
‘Eating sap is better than having hives’ is funny. Not sure it’s a good strategic idea, but I like funny. And I can imagine something interesting coming out of ‘what bees dream of’, but again it’s not really a positioning idea for maple syrup. Why would bees dream about maple syrup?
Maple Syrup. Pancake lubrication.
From trees, over oceans to the tip of your tongue.
Welcome to gloopy indulgence.
Make breakfasts stickier
Maple syrup - tree adrenalin
I like ‘gloopy indulgence’. Evocative language (reminds you of the feeling, the sense-world of maple syrup) and indulgence is the beginnings of strategic idea. It makes maple syrup into a little luxury. That’s good. Pancake lubrication has something to it too. The idea that maple syrup is the anti-dry. I don’t understand tree adrenalin.
The first candy of the day
Canada's treat for the world
The Morning sweetner
I like ‘tree juice’. It’s not really what I’d call a strategic idea but it’s just a funny, quirky idea. Maybe you need to work out why tree juice would be a good thing. The rest of them are a little too generic. Lots of things could be the morning sweetener or the first candy of the day. Not so many things could be Canada’s treat for the world. But some could be. You’ve not gone far enough with these.
Time for Brunch
The conossieur’s choice of sweetener
These are mostly too broad and generic. And if I remember, you tried to get around this by attaching an explanatory sentence or two with each. But that’s not the point. What we’re trying to learn here is compression. How to create something short and memorable that contains all the stuff you feel like putting in the explanatory sentence. For example, ‘Eat American’, on it’s own is no good, but I think you explained that it’s based on the fact that you only get Maple Syrup from N. America (USA and Canada). That’s a little more interesting. So how do you get that into four or five words? That’s the challenge here. Vermont Viagra and Baby Echinacea are intriguing word-bundles but they don’t tell me enough, how could you extend them and make them make sense?
A breakfast bastion against the high fructose corn syrup blitzkrieg.
A small revolution for idealistic waffles
A delicious diamond within the sweetener landscape
Nature's crafted diamond of sweeteners
Because caviar tastes bad on pancakes
I like that you’re trying more evocative, memorable language. But I think the language might have overtaken the thinking. I don’t know what ‘a small revolution for idealistic waffles’ is telling me, though I like how it sounds. Same for delicious diamond. Why is maple syrup like a diamond? Combating corn syrup is good though.
Maple Syrup. The natural coffee sweetener.
Maple Syrup. Worth getting up for.
Maple Syrup. Naturally good. (No artificial ingredients required.)
Maple Syrup. Sweeten up your sex life.
Maple Syrup. Your faithful sidekick at every meal.
I think you’re the only person to explicitly mention usage as a coffee sweetener, so that’s good thinking, suggesting new usage (new to some people at least) is often a good thing. Some of the others are too generic – how sweeten up your sex life? Why faithful sidekick? Ketchup could be your faithful sidekick. Or salt. Or lots of things. And lots of things are worth getting up for. And are naturally good. You need to think of things which could only be about maple syrup.
Maple Syrup. Gooey goodness from sugar shacks, not laboratories.
Maple Syrup. Natural sweetness. No bee stings.
Maple Syrup. Paint a masterpiece on your pancakes.
Maple Syrup. Secret ingredient of grandmas' goodies and hot toddys.
Maple Syrup. Sometimes I put it in my hair
Gooey goodness – good words. Stick in my head. That’s important. ‘Paint a masterpiece on your pancakes’ is good because it’s something no-one else has mentioned. An actual behavour that actual people do, and quite enjoy. Encouraging unusual usage is a good thing. And the evocative power of grandmas and hot toddys is good too. It gets to emotion and memory and stuff.
Maple Syrup: Time is in the essence
Maple Syrup: Sweet simplicity
Maple Syrup: Connoissyrupy
Maple Syrup: Made by trees
Maple Syrup: Makes virtuous waffles
If I remember correctly this was another set that had explanatory sentences attached. And you can tell. Because these phrases on their own are too thin. I can see that there might be an idea in ‘time is in the essence’ - something to do with the time it takes to make the maple syrup and that must be good somehow. But you’ve not compressed that into this phrase so it just leaves me bemused. And there’s something memorable about Connoissyrupy too, but it’s not an idea, or if it is, you’ve not explained it to me.
Maple syrup, the daughter of Sap.
Maple syrup, the only thing Canada beats the USA at.
Maple syrup. Earth's goldmine.
One bottle a day makes the doctor coming back.
Maple syrup, the 2.0 of syrup.
Don’t understand the daughter of Sap, or why that would be a good thing. The Canada v USA thing is too predictable, contentious and not true. Earth’s goldmine is interesting but suggests ‘the ground’ not ‘the trees’. Don’t understand the Doctor thing. 2.0 of syrup is an interesting phrase but I’m not sure what you mean.
The Mr. Hyde of healthy breakfasts.
Rise and slow down.
The best kept secret of morning people.
Resistance against artificiality.
I like ‘rise and slow down’. It’s a provocative thought and seems appropriate for the ‘pace’ of syrup. That’s an interesting emotional territory. Not sure I understand underground honey but I like the sound of it, if you were here I’d ask you to explain more because there might be something in it. Resistance against artificiality seems to be an unnecessarily complicated way of saying natural.
Makes Mondays Sundays.
Made in Trees.
Make up the wake up.
The only thing Canada is famous for.
‘Made In Trees’ isn’t especially original or motivating but it’s very boldly, nicely and simply stated so it ends up being quite powerful. More of a tagline than an idea, but it’s connotations are interesting. ‘Tops everything’ is actually a good strategy, one that not many people have thought about – let’s get out of pancakes and point out that you can use maple syrup on all sorts of stuff. Good one.
Maple syrup. Bees everywhere are jealous.
Maple syrup. Make mornings sweeter.
Maple syrup. Nature's brew on tap.
Maple syrup. Sweet the way nature intended.
Maple syrup. Not just for lumberjacks.
Mostly too generic. Nature. Sweetness. Canada. The same territories as everyone else but not especially memorably done. So, not wrong, but not brilliant.
Keeps breakfast fun.
Too good to be used only for pancakes and waffles.
Guilty pleasure trumps nutrition.
As good for you as a sweet syrup can be (i.e. no additives, perservatives).
Flavoured maple syrup: a world of possibility!
As above. Nothing very original. No great phrases or evocations. Not bad but not great.
Maple Syrup. Your new ally in bed.
Maple Syrup. Something healthy the kids won’t hate your for.
Maple Syrup. Yes, sweet can rhyme with healthy.
Maple Syrup. Found by mistake, thank God for the pancakes.
Maple Syrup. It’s hip and hot in your meals.
Don’t understand the first one. ‘Something healthy’ etc is good in that it acknowledges how people think about buying foodstuffs. ‘Sweet can rhyme with healthy’ is a decent effort at making the sweet+healthy idea more memorable but I’m not sure it quite comes off. There’s something good in ‘found by mistake’ but I don’t think the last bit helps.
makes 'bad' stuff even better.
is from a tree, ergo good for you. You might even say it's a real 'Treet'. Sorry.
rocks, because you're not allowed Mars bars for breakfast.
is sugar you can eat
because bees sting! They suck!! Down with honey!!!
These seem more like the notes you might write while thinking about writing propositions, rather than the actual propositions. It might be that you’ll end up somewhere good, but you’re not there yet.
Sweet blood of Quebec
The borders of Canada are made of syrup.
Music to bee's ears
A Canadian way to reach kitchen's tables around the world
One third of The Holy Trinity of Breakfast
‘Sweet blood of Quebec’ is a attention-grabbing bundle of words but I’m not sure what you mean, and I’m not sure the link of blood and maple syrup is positive. Don’t understand ‘the borders of Canada are made of syrup’. And I think you’re assuming too much global breakfast table commonality on The Holy Trinity bit. I applaud your attempt to use different language and be a little lateral but I think you’re not rooted enough in solid strategic ideas.
Omni-Sauce for tastier desserts
Maple syrup. Liquid candy for everyone
Grow strong with natural food- Maple syrup from tree
(Spring) Lively time made sweetener. Enjoy the result- maple syrup
Maple Syrup. The taste sugar cane can’t compete.
I like Omni-Sauce. That’s an interesting new thought for maple syrup. Good new language. A little bit distant from Maple naturalness but I think it works. Liquid candy is sort of interesting too. But I’m not sure Liquid Candy is a good thing.
It’s tree juice.
It's an extra fancy morning.
No fructose, no corn, just syrup.
Sticky, wet, not yours…but okay to eat.
Tapped from old trees for the young at heart.
Tree juice is good. Simple. Fun. Memorable. ‘Extra fancy morning’ is good too. That little hint of luxury. Could it be more maple-y though? And no fructose etc is simple and clear. Not startlingly original but I guess that’s OK.
Tapping into Nature
I like Canada Gold, though it seems like more a brand name, it’d be a good one. In ploughing through this list, this is the first time I’ve actually felt hungry, like I could fancy some maple syrup. Maybe it’s coincidence but maybe it’s also because Canada Gold evokes something sensory about maple syrup – the colour. And that’s important.
Maple Syrup. Sweet taste from hard wood.
Maple Syrup. The sweet that sticks.
Maple Syrup. Pour on the love.
Maple Syrup. Authentic forest nectar.
Maple Syrup. From the great forest to your table.
‘Pour on the love’ sounds very 70s, but in a good way. I like that. It’s got behaviour and emotion. ‘Authentic forest nectar’ is good too. Lots of naturalness without saying nature, nature, nature. I’m not sure about sweet taste from hard wood – why would that be good?
Maple Syrup… faster than honey, yet slower from the delay.
Canada’s second sweetest think, ladies first.
Sweet support for your immune system.
MAPLE & SYRUP. Can do as well as a cartoon for kids.
‘Pancakes-escort.com’ is a creative idea. The strategic idea would be something about maple syrup being the perfect accompaniment for pancakes. And hopefully if you wrote that you’d get to a better creative idea than pancakes-escort.com. But it’s not a bad strategic direction. Not sure I got the rest of them.
Wherever you are, maple syrup tastes like home.
This is what happens when nature does the processing.
It's the Breakfast lubricant.
Without it, pancakes would almost be healthy.
Worth every cavity.
I like ‘when nature does the processing’ but could you explain what the good of that is? i.e. ‘When nature does the processing you get X’. Maple syrup tastes like home is nice too.
Maple syrup - the best way to make maple sugar.
Perfection and maple syrup making takes time.
Maple syrup on waffles - because you can't put salt on deserts.
Makes life sweeter. And apple sauce too.
Maple syrup - when you're tired of drawing resin from a tree
I like the thought about maple syrup taking time (as well as perfection). Perfection seems like a credible area for maple syrup because it’s so clear and unblemished and perfect.
MAPLE SYRUP : MARMITE ARCH-NEMESIS
THE REASON WHY CANADIANS ARE NOT AMERICANS
THE SEXY SIDE OF SUGAR
DON’T CUT THE TREES, DRINK THEM.
THE BELUGA OF SUGAR.
‘Drink the trees’ is a good idea. But do you drink maple syrup? Would ‘eat the trees’ work? Or ‘suck the trees’? Beluga of sugar is good and appropriate hyperbole too. It’s good when you get into the language of another world.
Maple syrup- without it, it just isn’t breakfast.
Who said the best things in life don’t come from trees?
Pancake’s best friend.
Pour it on.
The best thing to happen to waffles since bacon.
No-one’s said the best things in life don’t come from trees have they? People’ve said that money doesn’t go on trees, is that what you were thinking of? These are OK, but more like stabs at interesting taglines than strategic communication ideas.
Maple syrup. Drip, Drizzle, Dribble then drool!
Pay your pancake the perfect compliment!
A good friend who always MAKES breakfast!
The maple tree: Its bark's alot worse than it's bite!
The reason bees sting!
These are the same as above. Decent lines but not communications ideas.
"Maple Syrup is S W E E T."
"What would pancakes be without it?"
"It brings out the flavor in ham."
"Maple Syrup--that Sweet sticky thing."
Same here actually.
Maple syrup. The Grand Cru of Syrups.
Maple syrup. Traditional signal for the coming of Spring.
Maple syrup. The “blood” of the maple tree.
Maple syrup. The other side of the sweet leaf of Canada.
Maple syrup. The Native American all-natural sweetener
Another blood example, just not sure blood is a parallel we want to draw. Grand Cru is doing a similar thing to Beluga. Quite nice. There’s definitely a thought in ‘coming of spring’ but you need to do more – what’s good about that for maple syrup? Is it the taste of spring or something?
Maple Syrup inside.
Maple Syrup, nature transfussion.
Maple Syrup, sticky energy
Maple Syrup or the strength of trees
Maple Syrup, the future generation of movers & shakers.
Sticky energy is an interesting collision of words. Is there something in going further than this and positioning maple syrup as an energy food. I’m not saying it’s right but at least it’s something new compared to all this natural, sweet talk.
Maple Syrup – the DNA of our nature.
Maple Syrup – makes everything glow.
Maple Syrup – top dressings for all seasons.
Maple Syrup – Mother Nature’s sweetest gift.
Maple Syrup – bee grateful for it.
The last one’s just a pun. Remember this isn’t about writing the line, it’s about the idea. Sure it’s got to be well-written, pithy, memorable, but the idea is the main thing. ‘Makes everything glow’ is the beginnings of an idea. The DNA thing’s not right.
The preferred pancake make-up.
Only thing you’ll see place Canada on top of the US.
Use to befriend your taste buds and toast.
Every suicidal pancake dreams of drowning in it.
Bliss for bland batter.
‘Bliss for bland batter’ might be going too far in the memorability stakes, but the basic thought is good – an antidote to boring pancakes. ‘Pancake make-up’ is a new way of thinking about condimentiness. The Canada/US thing is just a cheap shot. Good, imaginative language here but not enough ideas.
Maple Syrup – it’s only natural.
The sweetener with flavor.
Syrup is product of nature’s perfect balance.
Sap on tap.
Maple Syrup - Three centuries of tradition in every bite
‘Sap on tap’ is good and simple. (Has someone else done that?) But you’re not telling me why I’d want to eat sap. The rest are OK but not great.
Maple syrup is sweet by nature.
Life can be sour; maple syrup makes it sweet.
Maple syrup is sweetness that sticks.
Maple syrup. Keeping America sweet.
Maple syrup is the sweetest thing from Canada.
All five of these are about sweetness, basically just repeating the same thought 5 times. You need to explore more thoughts and directions. What else is interesting and desirable about maple syrup?
We don’t care how you use it, as long as you enjoy it.
Pour some sunshine. Taste the leaves.
Life’s too short not to.
It’s a piece of crave.
‘Pour some sunshine’ is good. Says nature. Evocative. You don’t need ‘taste the leaves’. The others are too blah.
Maple Syrup. Slave labor free sugar tradition
Maple Syrup. The original snocone flavour
Improving foreign dishes since 1620
Maple Syrup. Accepted from breakfast to desert
The only tree cutting not protested
The first one is bold – but do you really want to be brining up slavery in this context? Seems to be trivialising or at least inappropriate. There’s something in bringing up snow and the taste associations with snow and forests and stuff. And there’s something in tree cutting you don’t object too, but it’s probably more of an executional idea than a strategic one.
Maple Syrup. Thicker than both blood and water.
Maple Syrup. The Tree’s Giving.
Maple Syrup. Fortify your stomach.
Maple Syrup. Maplifest Destiny.
Maple Syrup. Slow and steady wins breakfast too.
Maple Syrup. Gold things come to those who wait.
Why do so many people think it’s a good idea to raise the image of blood? I like the pace of life ideas in the last two but I don’t think you need the gold pun. Maybe I don’t mind it. Not sure. Slow and steady wins breakfast is good.
Thank god it is not sugar, It is sweeter yet
Maple Syrup for Men: Aphrodisiac on your supermarket shelf
Maple Syrup: Keep's you going, the healthy way
Safe on your heart, good for the immune system
Sweet as Honey – But the Maple tree lives on
I think you’re the only person to raise the aphrodisiac possibility. That’s at least an original position. The rest are OK but a little obvious.
Inspires tree hugging
It’s not syrup unless it’s maple syrup
The spread that spreads itself
There’s more to it than pancakes
Tree hugging is a new thought. The rest are too generic, they could be about almost anything. Does it spread itself?
Maple syrup - Natures smoothie
Tap into taste.
Make a difference, treat the taste buds.
Savour the flavour.
Treat your food to a goluptious cuddle.
Nature’s smoothie is maybe an idea, not sure it quite works though, maple syrup isn’t very smoothie like. It’s more like Nature’s Desert Topping. Savour the flavour is just a rhyme. The cuddle idea is good though. Could do with a little more wordsmithing.
Maple Syrup - Pancakes are naked without it
Lose weight like Beyonce - go maple
Forget chocolate, maple's your staple
It comes from trees but please - pour it on!
Maple Syrup - Dress for dessert.
These are taglines, not strategic ideas. Except maybe the Beyonce one. They’re not bad but you need to work back to the bigger idea.
Maple Syrup. Making everything situation sticky.
The sticky solution for male sexual healing.
Maple Syrup. Making pancakes edible since 1492.
America’s original agricultural enterprise.
Nature’s sweet reward for hard work.
Seems like stickiness is an interesting territory, but you’ve not made it a positive yet. I like ‘making pancakes edible since 1492’. The edible bit is a funny poke at pancakes and the 1492 bit evokes some pioneery, heritage-y imagery.
There we go. All done. Hope that was useful. Huge thanks to everyone for participating. It is rather marvelous that you do that. Especially those of you who don't normally write in English. I'll get the 'tell the future something' thoughts up soon and a new assignment next week.
This post is by way of an apology. I'm way behind with my marking and all sorts. I owe you responses on the Maple Syrup assignment, and the last one. And I'm planning to write up some thoughts on the creative brief thing really soon. And I've not done anything about Post Of The Year, too late do you think? Just wait for Post Of The Month for January?
I have no excuses except for laziness, feckless time-wasting, being slightly over-whelmed by the response and the need to make a living. It's harder to get this stuff done when you're working for yourself rather than slacking off under the corporate yoke. I will get everything done just a bit after as soon as possible. Sorry.
Here's Richard again. 45 minutes this time. We talked about is planning killing blogging? the importance of not disappearing up our own arses with all this new marketing theory, are we painting a realistic picture of planning? is all this revolutionary planning stuff actually implementable? is new marketing worse than old marketing? what advertising killed in the 90s, the future of the advertising agency, the silliness of the distinction between above-the-line and digital, CDP, the future structure of advertising agencies - creative generalists handing on to specialists, brand ideas, brand slogans, the pointlessness of idea factories, Sky TV, the uncoupling of marketing communications and content, free newspapers, getting seriously long-tail, branded IPTV channels, go beyond TV, MomMeTV, how2kids channel, the polarising of airtime, optimising interruptive TV advertising, ad avoidance, air-conditioning noise.
I owe Richard a bit of an apology. I tried to record a video interview with him months ago but I screwed up the sound and it was unusable. Then last week I did an audio interview with him, but I became convinced it wasn't good enough so I decided not to use it. So I made him do another interview on Monday. And he was relatively smiling and uncomplaining though-out the whole process. Good man.
I was really keen to do a good interview because I think Richard is doing more rigorous, useful and nuanced thinking than any planner around. It's particularly worth paying attention to because he's an actual working planning director not one of us pontificating, blogging freelancers who aren't really at the coalface. He's thinking smart and useful stuff about how to build the communications agency of the future, how to make television advertising work harder now (while acknowledging that it probably doesn't have a 10 year future) and how to create useful brand ideas (over and above communication ideas or product ideas). And he's the opposite of a knee-jerk thinker; he's informed and enthused about all the new communications possibilities that are arriving. But he also refuses to throw the baby out with the bathwater; he's committed to using all the tools and channels available even if they've been around for 100 years.
Now, listening back to the interviews I've realised there's really good stuff in both of them, and I probably should just have posted the first one. And there's also brilliant stuff in the second one. But now of course, there's quite a lot where we repeat ourselves. So I'm probably going to upload them in bits. Here's a taster, it's only about 15 minutes so it's a quick listen. I'll post the other stuff tomorrow.
"Physicist Richard Feynman once said that if all knowledge
about physics was about to expire the one sentence he would tell the
future is that "Everything is made of atoms". What one sentence would
you tell the future about your own area, whether it's entrepreneurship,
hedge funds, venture capital, or something else?
Examples: An economist might say that "People respond to incentives". I had an engineering professor years ago who said all of that field could be reduced to "F=MA and you can't push on a rope".
What a great idea. And it solves a problem for me - let's make that the Account Planning School of the Web assignment for December. (I'm still crunching through the Maple Syrup entries hope to get them up soon. Sorry.)
Let's pretend that the future might be interested in whatever it is we do and try and tell it a sentence that might be of use to future planners/brand people/communications people/whatever. Get your entries in by January 8th. You can add your sentence as a comment below or email me. I'm looking forward to this.
Interviewed the irrepressible Martin Cole this morning. He's a planner with WPP and a top musician. And I took this, my first pinhole polaroid portrait. Which means Martin managed to hold this half smile perfectly still for 30 seconds. Spooky.
We ranged far and wide, including things like; how to wrap cable, Agent Sumo, The Search For Cool, (youtube links), what is cool discussion, what is cool result, Kim Jones, jobs on microsoft and taste, iain tait's youth image, Livingstone Skate Park, Whitby and Goths, (we talked pathetically about the collision of goth and hip-hop, betraying that we know nothing about it, but it seems to be out there and represented best by Alias), Bill Drummond, No Music Day, bowling for columbine. The audio is roughly edited because of battery failure on various devices but it seems reasonably listenable.MP3
thankyou Martin, that was an absolute treat.
Don't forget, if you want to get your maple syrup propositions in do so by the end of December 8th.
Simon and I have just been through all 50 entries for Assignment 10 for the last time. And since there were so many entries I don't think we can mark each one individually. Sorry about that. Instead we've recorded about 30 minutes of audio talking about the best ones, what might be good stuff to do and what to learn from this exercise. Hopefully.
Here are the 10 propositions from the winning paper from Ben M.
1. Apples help digest everything else.
2. Eat apples. Save the trees. Reduce global warming.
3. Sweet snack, good for teeth, recycled packaging
4. Apples. Earth’s vitamin tablet.
5. Apples. The dawn of Atheism.
6. Apples. Detox since before tox.
7. Apples. Smoothies without plastic.
8. (RED) Apples
9. Apples. Faster food.
10. English apples. Fruit without emissions.
They're not all brilliant, but quite a lot of them are. More than I could have done. As we discuss in the audio a proposition is a limited tool, increasingly unsuited for building communications today but it's a really good thing to get good at. It's like a musician practicing scales. Thinking propositions teaches you to think about precis, memorable language, tangental thoughts, differentiation, all sorts of things.
Even people who don't like propositions find themselves using this kind of thing as a kind of internal headline. A way of summing up an idea.
Quite a lot of you didn't really do propositions. Many of you gave us ideas for the marketing of apples, which is fine and dandy and many of them were great ideas, but that's not really what we were looking for, this is not what this exercise was about. This was about creating pithy little communications thoughts such as those above. Similarly many of you gave us 'territories'; areas where we might find a proposition (healthiness, range, englishness, temptation, etc) but didn't distill it into a coherent thought.
This might be because lots of you didn't read the task properly, including the addenda (is that a word?) to the task we added in the comments. First rule - read the whole assignment. However, it may be that we weren't clear so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and apologise for that.
Anyway - we'll bumblingly try and explain what we mean in the audio.
BUT, although Mr Grant will think me a hopeless ludite, I think this proposition thing is well worth practising so I'm going to suggest we do it again as a quick end of November task.
The subject is Maple Syrup. Just 5 propositions. Each one just a sentence of 10 words or less.
Try and do some as good as numbers 4, 6 and 7 above. Get them in before December 8th.
Hope this makes sense, and congratulations to Ben who wins this month's challenge. Though I've not worked out what his prize is yet.