Brands for Breakfast


6.30. a.m. Philips radio/alarm clock; BBC Radio 4; John Lewis slippers; John Lewis again (okay, so I wear a dressing gown); iPhone.


Armitage Shanks toilet, bath and shower; Andrex; Halo and Horns shampoo; Halo and Horns soap (the kids’, not mine); L’Occitane bubble bath; Herbal Essences shampoo; Dove soap; Sensodyne toothpaste; Oral B toothbrush; Listerine; Johnson and Johnson cotton buds; Crew hair wax; Lynx deoderant.; Gilette shaving foam; Wilkinson Sword razor; Issey Miyake after shave; D&G aftershave; Vera Wang aftershave; Armani Code perfume; Chanel No5 perfume; D&G perfume; L’Oreal hairspray; DKNY watch. (The perfume’s the wife’s.)

Back to bedroom.

M&S undies; Jasper Conran socks; Hilfiger jeans; Paul Smith shirt; M&S waistcoat; Patrick Cox shoes.


Russell Hobbs toaster; Warburtons bread; Lurpak butter; Flora; Bon Maman raspberry jam; Philips kettle; Lavazza coffee; Silverspoon sugar; Tesco semi-skimmed milk; Nestle Shreddies; Kellogs Cornflakes; Tesco whole milk; Sony CD /Radio; BBC Radio 2; Guardian newspaper; Hoover washing machine; Whirpool Fridge; Dyson vacuum cleaner; Sanyo microwave; New World cooker; Fairy washing up liquid.

Living Room.

Samsung TV; BBC breakfast show for 30 seconds before… Cbeebies and Peppa Pig; Sky+ box; Sony DVD; Blaupunkt stereo.


M&S jacket; Apple MacBook Pro; FCUK glasses; Jaguar key fob; Yale door lock.

I’ve been exposed to at least 69 brand communications before I’ve even left the front door. (And that doesn’t include the contents of the fridge when I got the milk out. Nor the DVDs and CDs in the living room.)

They say the average number of brand messages we are exposed to each day is 1,500 but I suspect this figure is rising all the time with the developments in online media. Out of all those brands clambering for our attention, we remember only two.

Okay, so the half-eaten tin of John West mackerel fillets at the back of the fridge won’t be one of them, but what do we have to do to be one of those lucky two?

1. Have impact.

2. Have relevance.

3. Make the consumer’s life better.

4. Have memorability.

5. Engage the consumer’s neural pathways. (This will allow the communication to get a foothold in their short-term memory banks.)

Get as much info about the client’s brand/product/service as you can. Get as much info about the target audience as you can. Get as much info about the competition/market place as you can. See how you can cross-reference the three to create some insight/relevance for the consumer. Sprinkle some magic creative dust on it. Put it in the New World oven for 20 minutes on British Gas mark 5. And, hey presto! you have one of those elusive ‘2’ memorable brand communications.

Of course, you need people with a modicum of talent to help you negotiate these pointers. But negotiate them we must.

Too many clients and agency people are in such a rush to get the message out there in front of the consumer that they don’t see the relevance of having in-depth research.

Probably the most oft asked question I get about creativity is: How do you manage to come up with ideas?

Simple, I reply. Everything I do is based on information. Information about the brand, the client, the market, the consumer, the competition…

I put them in a mental cocktail shaker and jizz them up into new combinations. Some come out good. Some come out terrible. And, occasionally, they come out great.

But what about deadlines and budgets? I hear you cry.

Sometimes clients don’t have the time or budget to do exhaustive research before they need to get some comms out. Well, that’s pretty standard in our industry. All you can do is work with what you’ve got and advise your client about how you think it should be done to produce effective results.

More often than not these kind of solutions miss the mark with the target audience for a myriad of reasons. The most obvious of which is relevance.

Clients and agencies too often start from the point of view of what they have to sell, rather than what will make the consumers like better.

Until we start from the POV of the consumer’s needs we will continue to produce billions of pounds of marketing wallpaper.

1 Comment

Filed under Advertising, Brand, Design, Ideas, Inspiration, Strategy, Writing

One response to “Brands for Breakfast

  1. Pingback: How PR companies in Manchester can use the 'fog index' | Confessions of a Manchester PR Agency Man

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