for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant

Coraline: so much more than 3D

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while so whilst I’m in the confessing mood I really should announce how excited I am about Coraline, the new movie from the ‘Nightmare before Christmas’ director, Henry Selick. Everything about the 3D stop-motion film looks amazing – from the brilliant puppetry to the fifty fantastical sets, all painstakingly made by hand utilising crafts and skills that are rarely promoted these days. The talent is astounding, with over 250 technicians and designers involved, including people like Althea Crome who knits in miniature and created all the clothes used on the puppets, at some points using knitting needles that are “almost the dimension of a human hair”. And that’s before we even get on to the story itself, based on the book by Neil Gaiman, which sounds like a thrilling alternate-reality fantasy horror- the type that engages the imaginations of all ages.

coraline website

The website with its eerily beautiful music is an adventure of its own, full of engaging behind-the-scenes content, fascinating videos about the skills involved in the film, downloadable posters, and interactive activities such as ‘Button your eyes’ that are a pleasure to use.


Even better, all of the film’s marketing was just as carefully and creatively thought out and included the sending of 50 handmade boxes to select – and very lucky – bloggers (including the guys at Coolhunting, BoingBoing, and NotCot), that were filled with sections of the screenplay, a selection of props and exclusive corresponding stills from shooting – plus personalised letters relevant to each blog.

coraline box

coraline box2

coraline box3

(Notcot has a great post with images of almost all 50 boxes here)

And then there are the Nike Coraline Dunks – two differently packaged, specially designed ranges including the 100 pairs in the Movie Props edition given to streetwear bloggers such as freshnessmag, and the even more exclusive Wooden Box Edition of which only 15 pairs were produced, packaged in a special key-locked wooden box, and given to the world’s best sneaker boutiques.

coraline dunks

The clip below shows a brief overview of the marketing strategy employed, all of which is pretty darn impressive, so big props to a fantastic campaign by Wieden+Kennedy:

The film is apparently not released in the UK till May 5th (boo), but there’s plenty of content around to keep you intrigued for now…


I realise I forgot to include this great video about the making of the movie. Enjoy

Filed under: clever promotion, entertainment

Crisis takes homelessness to the streets


This is a fantastic piece of advertising – simple, hard hitting, and perfectly positioned. Just goes to show that you don’t need to spend loads on building apps and viral games to get your message across. The cheaper the campaign, the more money the charity has to actually do good.

Crisis is taking advantage of the freezing conditions with a short ad campaign to drive home the message that  rough sleeping is not acceptable in the UK in the 21st century.

Donations from the campaign will help Crisis to deliver its year round services, helping people off the streets with education, links to vital services, housing and employment

Having helped out at the Crisis Christmas shelter this is a charity close to my heart, and one that I hope people will support both financially and vocally – find out more at and add your name to the petition to put rough sleeping to bed for good

Filed under: clever promotion, good,


McDonalds recently launched a campaign to bring the quarter pounder burger to Japan, which includes the converting of two of their locations in Tokyo into exclusive Quarter Pounder shops, but in an interesting move they are positioned under a completely new identity and as such are missing the McDonalds brand.

Instead of golden arches these restaurants have a sleek, minimalist black interior with Le Corbusier sofas, red and black packaging, and a style quite unlike any other of the company’s previous refits. The menu consists of single and double Quarter Pounders only, a new name for the Japanese consumer and one that McDonalds are very cleverly promoting. The temporary brand silence is carefully undeceptive, encouraging consumers to find out more- a competition running alongside the launch asks applicants to name the fast food chain who launched the Quarter Pounder in Japan and win a sightseeing trip to America.

A clever little viral without going down the over-used pop-up route, and one that seems to have gained a fair amount of attention at its rather exclusive-styled opening events.

via FiveByFifty

Quarter Pounder website

Filed under: clever promotion, ,



Yesterday’s Guardian Media Briefing pointed me to The Newspaper House, a public art installation as social and environmental statement currently under construction in East London. Over a one-week period artist Sumer Erek in partnership with Creative City and a team of helpful volunteers, is erecting a five-metre tall house made entirely out of freesheet newspapers contributed by members of the public. The frame for the building is currently being put in place in Dalston’s Gillett Square, built of course from sustainably sourced wood, ready for the week-long paper extravaganza which starts next Monday. The project’s MySpace page explains further:

‘ London has a growing problem with the large quantities of free newspapers that clutter our streets and public transport. Tube passengers alone discard approximately nine-and-a-half tonnes of freesheet newspapers a day.

This is a lot of paper. What do about it?

On March 3rd, sculptor and installation artist Sumer Erek will construct a (5 m3) ‘House’ in Gillett Square, out of newspapers brought by members of the public. Visitors will insert their own observations, secrets, etc into the newspapers and add them to the structure. In this way, the public connects with the Newspaper House; their action is a contribution to the building of a public project.

The Newspaper House as an interactive public artwork is an opportunity to invite the public to participate and actually be involved in creating an artwork.

The theme of the project is “the city is our home” and as well as being an art work in its own right – exploring a variety of themes around the concept of “house” and the materiality of paper, the notion of waste and value – the project also encourages people to think about protecting and improving the environment, so that we can enjoy a cleaner, healthier world, together with a sense of belonging to their neighbourhood, and a wish of all to make it a pleasant place to live in.’


Getting in on the action, online campaign Project Freesheet took to the streets last night to collect up as many discarded papers as possible within two hours. the 70 volunteers collected close to 8000 free papers- weighing in at 800kg of paper – all of which will be used in the Newspaper House, and then we assume recycled? Despite the project’s huge environmental statement that is being proudly supported by the local Hackney Council, there is so far no mention of what will happen after the big unveiling, nor of the glue being used to hold every rolled-up paper in place or the plastic strips being used to bind each bundle- we can only assume that these are biodegradable and it has all been planned with the highest eco-morals. Otherwise isn’t it just a case of greenwashing for artistic purposes?

Visit The Newspaper House from Monday

Filed under: arts & culture, clever promotion, ,


M&SLeading UK retailer Marks & Spencer has teamed up with Oxfam to incentivize charitable donations. The ‘M&S and Oxfam Clothes Exchange’ aims to get everyone recycling their old clothes by offering a £5 M&S voucher in return for donating a bag of unwanted clothes to one of the charity’s stores that includes at least one item of M&S clothing (they will accept anything except underwear). A six month trial will run from January 28 in 790 branches of Oxfam across the UK and Republic of Ireland, with vouchers received valid for a month, in the hope that free money will encourage more recycling and reusing.

According to the press release:

The Exchange is designed to both raise money for Oxfam’s work to tackle poverty and injustice and to reduce the one million tonnes of clothing sent by the public to landfill in the UK each year. The announcement marks the first anniversary of Plan A, M&S’ ‘eco-plan’.

Stuart Rose, Chief Executive of M&S described it as ‘a triple win – it’s good for customers, good for people in developing countries and good for the environment’, although M&S may find it’s not so good for their profits. Which makes it a campaign to be applauded: with pretty much every wardrobe in the UK containing at least one piece of M&S clothing, and no restrictions on the age or state of the donation nor the amount of times a person donates, Oxfam may find itself giving out quite a lot of vouchers!


Marks & Spencer Plan A

Filed under: clever promotion, good,

Radiohead ‘Secret’ Gig Attracts 1500 Fans Within Hours

A supposedly surprise intimate gig by Radiohead caused a fair amount of commotion in London last night as the intended venue Rough Trade East record store and the surrounding area of Brick Lane was inundated with nearly 1500 fans. The band had quietly announced the gig on their website in the morning and had planned to give tickets to the first 200 fans and place screens outside for anyone else, but with the whole of London in the know by lunchtime and numbers swelling rapidly the event had to be quickly relocated to the club opposite; 93 Feet East. In return for running three hours late due to the move, the crowd was then treated to the whole of their new album rather than just the few songs they had planned. The event was also webcast live on for anyone who couldn’t make it to London that quickly!

After the great media coverage they received for sticking their fingers up at the music industry and giving the album away for free, the band have managed to get another dollop of free PR- with every newspaper across the country picking up on the story, the boys will have no doubt helped future ticket sales. But it somehow doesn’t seem like that was their aim. They are in no way the first band to offer ‘intimate gigs’, just the first to respond to their fans and adapt to a situation to be as inclusive as possible. As one fan said “the whole approach of Radiohead is different. Love it”.

From their website:

So, we’ve got a small gig tonight.

It’s in London at the Rough Trade East shop on Brick Lane, and we’re planning to play a short set of in rainbows material. It’s very limited free entry, first come first served. Also, as it might be a little uncomfortable for anyone queuing early, they’re planning a numbering system so people at the front of any queue can get snacks and toilet breaks in the store. Good bagels round there. But dress warm…doors won’t open until 7, and we’ll play at about 8.

For those who can’t get in – and it’s pretty small in there – we’ll have some screens and speakers outside, if we’re allowed. I think we are. And we’ll also webcast it. I’ll put the link up here, as well as any other info, later today.

Hope you can make it – should be….interesting. Us being us, we’re taking far too many instruments…..

watch a 3 minute video of the event at the Guardian website or watch the whole event at

Filed under: clever promotion, entertainment,

London’s Light Bulb Amnesty

Over the weekend UK home improvement and garden centre chain B&Q, in partnership with British Gas and the Mayor of London held London’s first light bulb amnesty, where Londoners were invited to exchange a traditional light bulb from their home for a free, energy efficient one (or two).

According to Mayor Ken Livingstone:

‘For those people who have made a New Year’s Resolution to go greener, taking part in London’s first light bulb amnesty is an ideal way to start. This scheme gives Londoners the chance to cut harmful emissions and save money at the same time, by swapping their old, energy guzzling light bulbs for free, energy efficient bulbs. Small lifestyle changes like this really do add up – if all homes in the capital used energy efficient bulbs, we could collectively help reduce emissions by over half a million tonnes, and save £139 million every year.’

Despite some worries over the health warnings around low-energy light bulbs announced last week, the UK government are planning to totally phase out the sale of all conventional bulbs by 2011, following closely in the footsteps of Australia who are bringing into effect a legal ban on all incandescent bulbs by 2009-2010. No word yet on how many bulbs were brought in, but the amnesty and the impressive accompanying website are a very positive start to a better 2008.

Filed under: clever promotion, evironmental insights

Power to the Poachers

poach the mountains

To protest the fact that there are four “fascist”ski resorts in the U.S that still don’t allow snowboarding, Jake Burton, owner of snowboard brand Burton, has launched the “Poach for Freedom” challenge, encouraging snowboarders to submit videos of themselves “poaching” the forbidden mountains. Acknowledging the fact that this is particularly difficult task to achieve, the company are offering $5,000 for the most creative video from each resort. Alongside this, Seattle-based winter sportswear retailer evo is adding an extra $5,000 to the prize fund ($1,250 extra per resort) in a move that they claim is aimed at promoting synergy between skiers and snowboarders, both of whom make up their client base.

On his site, Jake makes some very relevant points about the enforced segregation, in particular that two of the four resorts operate on federal forest land and therefore should be available to all taxpayers, snowboarders included. The site also clearly expresses that they in no way encourage breaking the law- just the rules!!

“Until snowboarders everywhere are free to ride where they want to ride, until the snow and the slopes of this great nation have been purged of the scourge of segregation, until the four elitist, fascist resorts lift their draconian bans, there shall be no rest, no justice, and no peace. In the face of this blatant and aggressive disregard for the Declaration of independence and the Constitution of the Untied States of America, poaching isn’t simply a peaceful form of protest, it is truly your patriotic duty.”

The competition was launched in November and the deadline for entries is March 1st, but as testament either to the impossible – or ridiculous- nature of the task, so far the only video on the site seems to be the one posted by Burton affiliates. Sounds like easy money for anyone looking to make a quick $25,000!!

Watch the video – or upload your own- at

[via jaunted]

Filed under: clever promotion, stuff on the streets

Greenpeace gets Gamers to Battle for a Greener Future

clash of the consoles

With games consoles top of many Christmas lists, Greenpeace are taking their fight to the gamers themselves and asking for their help in forcing the gaming industry to get greener. The campaign, known as Clash of the Consoles, pits the three key players- Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft- against each other with a scoreboard rating each on their toxic use, toxic policy, recycling credits and energy use.

“In gamespace everybody wants to save the world. But back here on planet Earth, your favourite games console contains deadly agents of real destruction: toxic chemicals that shouldn’t be there and may be contributing to mountains of e-waste when thrown away. Clash of the Consoles is the website where you can check out how your favourite game heroes stand up against their rivals, and how you can help battle the boss monsters to green their game”

Within the website Greenpeace have created a a 90-second video featuring three of the most iconic game characters – Microsoft’s Master Chief, Nintendo’s Mario and Sony’s Kratos – competing for the prize of a greener games console, and calling for gamers to “Jump in…Tell your game console company wii would like to live and play in a toxic free world.”

According to BBC News, Greenpeace’s campaign to persuade the whole electronics industry to eliminate hazardous chemicals has found that “Game console manufacturers are lagging way behind the makers of mobile phones and PCs who have been reducing the toxic load of the products over the past year”, and from a survey conducted by the organisation on Habbo hotel last month found that of the 50,000 teenagers who responded, 74% rated global warming over drugs, violence and war as the issue they were most concerned about.

see more at Clash of the Consoles

Filed under: clever promotion, evironmental insights,

Artists offer a One Night Stand in London

one night standLeave it to the art world to take the pop-up idea to the extreme. The ‘One Night Stand With ….’ is exactly that; a one night only art show which invites one artist to take over VINEspace gallery (in trendy arty Bethnal Green) and create a temporary display within the space, be it performance, exploratory art or installation.

Coinciding with Time Out’s First Thursdays programme where over 80 participating galleries and museums in East London stay open till 9pm free of charge, the series is now on its 6th iteration, and this month sees artist Sara Preibsch presenting her video installation LATE BIRDS.

Catch it while you can- the exhibition is on tomorrow 6th December – only!

via Londonist

Filed under: arts & culture, clever promotion