Friday, November 25, 2011

The end of charity

You never know what the outcome of a campaign is going to be. Creative work only is not a guarantee for success. It helps, but anything can still happen. The distribution of the products, the prize, the PR around the brand, trends, the salesmen and unforeseen influences can make or break the success of a campaign. For our Samsung/Pink Ribbon campaign, we had the bad luck that the phone wasn't in the store at the beginning of the campaign and thereby it lacked the kickstart that was so thoroughly planned with good PR-moments.

But now another unforeseen event threatens the course of the campaign. Recently, there's a lot of bad publicity around the anti-cancer organisation Pink Ribbon. The organisation mainly gets their money from sponsored initiatives by consumers and companies. All sorts of Pink Ribbon products are on the market. And only a small percentage of these revenues actually ends up at the charity organisation. Action groups are against this form of selling, saying that companies make use of the good name of Pink Ribbon and only sponsor it to make more money.

I think that you cannot blame an organisation like Pink Ribbon for this. They could have controlled the tidal wave of pink products a bit more, but they just see it as a smart way to get the hardly needed money for cancer research. Because how else are you going to get money? Nowadays, asking people nicely to donate isn't working anymore. Charities need to do something extra. That's why these annoying students walk around with a ringbinder at the stations to talk people into giving their bank account number. That's pure hard selling. Another way is to give something extra to people in return. A nice gift in trade for your donation; a magazine in trade for your membership.

But the most money is in the hands of the big corporations right now. If part of their revenue goes to charity and everybody is getting better from it, why not? In the case of the Pink Ribbon campaign: the counter is now on €100.000,- for the Pink Ribbon foundation, there's a lot of extra publicity to bring breast cancer under the attention of a broad audience, Samsung sells more phones and women are happy to have a nicely designed pink smartphone. I can't think of anything wrong with that. I think some people just can't accept that giving to charity is not an unconditional thing anymore.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Last days

Last days are always strange. My last days at McCann-Erickson were incredibly boring because they refused to give us any work for about half a year. My last days at Duval Guillaume was killing because they put my to work until the last minute.

My last days at Lemz are a bit in between. I actually enjoy every minute of it now that I'm still here. Yesterday the magnificent view over the river was blurred by a thick fog, which made all the passing ships look like huge moving shadows. Today it was sunny again. The windows at Lemz are like a TV screen with a different program every day.

Less exciting is the work I have to do lately. It's not very busy and I'm just finishing the execution of a small campaign. And sometimes I get a small copy assigment. So I usually stop working before 6 o'clock, so I can go to Jiu Jitsu or watch a movie. The clock is ticking. Just 5 working days to go...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tomorrow Awards

Do we really need another award show? In a time when the amount of Cannes Lion categories grow every year, when some agencies win 30 Clio's a year, when you even win awards you never heard of, it seems that the last thing the business needs is another award show.

So when my creative director Peter wanted to send in for the Tomorrow Awards, I was a bit sceptic. Until I looked at their website. The winners are among the most innovative campaigns that already won a lot of Cannes Lions. The most prominent agencies in the world send in for it. And if you look further you see that this award is actually something new. There are no categories. And the shortlist is decided by public judges first (everybody with an interest for advertising can subscribe) and after that by the experts (so called monster judges). Even the award itself is interesting: it's made with a 3D printer. And there are only five winners every half a year. This is an award you really want to win.

That's why I was really happy to hear that the IKEA 365 campaign was on the shortlist. And another campaign of Lemz, the KLM Live Twitter, was nominated as well. This small Amsterdam agency was there with two entries among agencies like CP&B, BBH and AKQA. Yesterday I went to the award show. And for the first time I didn't have the feeling that I was watching a marathon of people running to the stage. It was presented in an entertaining and engaging way, there were interesting speakers and the level of the winners was so high, that I wasn't even disappointed that I wasn't one of the lucky ones that could go on stage.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NUON Bad service

I'm typing this blog at home with cold fingers. For already two weeks my heater is broken and I'm waiting for the repairman to fix this problem. It was already a hell to get this appointment. My landlord is insured at energy company NUON for failure of the heater and the repair company (Veenstra Warmte Totaal) tried every trick in the book to make sure that they don't have to visit my house. Yesterday I exaggerated by saying I'm in the house with my coat, that the boiler is giving all sorts of numbers and that something needs to happen before it gets colder.

Now I'm waiting for already five hours and nobody came. Twice, I had to call a number that costs 1 euro 50 a minute and all they say is that the repairman is on his way. How can a responsible energy company like NUON and Veenstra do this to its clients? Bad service is the surest way to kill all brand sympathy.