November 28, 2006

Ah Mr. Brand...We've Been Expecting You.

I watched Casino Royale over the weekend and whilst I enjoyed the film immensely (and found Daniel Craig a great addition to the pantheon), I couldn't help feel that it wasn't on-brand.

Many of the ingredients we've come to expect of the 007 series were missing and the film played like any other superior action flick of the last few years (think Bourne Identity), with plenty of beautifully choreographed high-speed chases and set-piece battles.

But where was the evil maniac, thirsting for world domination from his fantastic island headquarters? Where were the gadgets? Why deny us the classic 007 music until the very end?

Whilst there appeared to be some effort to take us back to the very beginning, when Bond became Bond, I doubt very much that the franchise would have survived forty years on such conscientious storytelling. So what if Bond had become faintly (or not-so-faintly) ridiculous! So what if its producer Barbara Broccoli felt that "maybe things had got a little too fantastical"!

A great part of the appeal of 007 James Brand lies in that fantasy. Its owners shouldn't be lulled into believing that they can get away with playing all grown-up and earnest with the Bond legacy simply because the drawing-power of the brand continues to fill cinemas worldwide.

If Casino Royale is followed by another in the same vein, then I suspect the brand will find itself on a slippery slope and will require more than a suave, smooth-talking agent with a license to kill to rescue it.

November 18, 2006

Lightwait, I'm Afraid

Regular visitors may have remarked the absence of updates on my reading of Penguin's 'The Glass Books Of The Dream Eaters' (see my previous posts: Worth The Wait In Gold? & Wait Lifted), which was launched to great fanfare in October.

It's left me distinctly underwhelmed to the point where I've falled behind in my reading by two or three episodes (the publishers had me believe I'd be eagerly awaiting the next episode to arrive) and I couldn't care less what happens to the various characters.

I mentioned in a previous post that my teenage diaries strike me now as self-conscious and contrived. Dream Eaters suffers the same weakness. The most recent book arrived with an invitation to go online and share my experiences with other readers but I can't be bothered.

I really loved the original idea but don't believe it's been delivered successfully. What a pity.

I'm The King Of The Castle

Watched the entertaining film 'Starter For 10' last night in which Rebecca replies to Brian's "That's a joke" pronouncement with "I'll be the judge of that!".

As brand owners, we often forget that it's not we who decide whether our brand is funny or important or relevant. The customer is the judge of that too. When we keep that in mind, we're far less likely to come out with boastful claims that are just begging to be punctured.

November 09, 2006

Sometimes, Three's A Crowd

Denny Hatch, in his latest Business Common Sense argues that marketeers should steer clear of humour in pitching to customers ("with very few exceptions, humour in advertising doesn't work").

His argument is that it's not enough to draw attention to your offer, it's got to be the right type of attention. I wonder whether the same thinking mightn't extend to much of the excitement about numbers that currently dominates discussions about the internet. There's no doubt that many websites and services are drawing a crowd - but is it the right crowd, in the right frame of mind to listen to your pitch?

As always, it comes down to the quality of the relationship that your customer is looking for. It's no good playing to the crowd when your customer is looking for something a little more discreet. Check that the numbers add up before rushing into a stadium when a more personal approach is what's required.

November 06, 2006

Sparkles Like Diamonds

Arrived before my lunch-date at Fallon & Byrne in Dublin’s city centre and was shown to my table where I promptly ordered some fizzy water (living on the edge, that’s me). Whilst sipping on my drink, I received a text that I was in the wrong place – we were to meet instead at The Winding Stair Café across the Liffey.

Not a little abashed, I made my way to the maitre d’ to let him know that I was headed elsewhere and how much did I owe for the fizzy water? Without missing a beat, he told me that the drink was on the house and asked was I going anywhere nice for lunch? When I said where I was headed, he said he’d heard great things about The Winding Stair and invited me to enjoy my lunch (which I did).

What a star! Rather than sulk because I was taking my business elsewhere, my host chose not to see me as a fly-by-day customer but as a guest at this table, however short-lived.

Needless to say, I’ll be back (and for more than a glass of fizzy water on the house).