How do you switch off when you take a break?
Some years ago, we made the mistake of holidaying in our own country (Ireland) where, apart from the poor weather, I found it difficult to completely switch off thanks to the almost hourly reminders of my working life through newspaper, radio, billboards and overheard conversations. In particular, I found any mentions of brands that I was working on or alongside heavily distracting.
Since then, we've holidayed overseas, typically in France, where the change of language and scenery offers a good, easy-to-access balance between the novel and the everyday. Once we step off the plane in France, I have the impression that I've left all professional responsibility behind me on the tarmac in Dublin. Any thinking that I do around brands over there tends to be of the daydreaming sort.
Snoozing by the pool this summer, I basked in the background sounds of children making their choices at the refreshment booth and marvelled at how comprehensively Magnum towers over the ice-cream market in France and elsewhere. When I recall my own childhood, a time when ice-creams were sold as childish treats and the only adult choice in the refrigerator was choc ice, it seems extraordinary that it took so long for a brand to capture some of the more sensual and grown-up flavours of the treat.
Within my own family, I've seen how Magnum has firmly established itself as a brand of arrival, something you qualify for as you grow up. This summer, my youngest graduated from the ice-pops that had previously been his favourite poison to Double Chocolate Magnum, and I heard the talk of similar rites of passage echoed by other parents and children as they made their way to the kiosk and debated their purchase.
Magnum's more recent advertising for its Java flavour plays explicitly to this sense of ritual, makes for a brand that has truly carved out virgin territory for itself in the forest and leaves behind those of its competitors who wish to stay playing in the sandbox.