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I’m loving the current fashion for nostalgia in PR and advertising. You’ll have done well if you managed to miss the massive Wispa campaign last year. Stuff like that is just such strong testimony to the power of using brand advocates to spread your messaging for you.

The recent trend is a bit different but aims to generate that same nostalgic buzz. Three examples are Persil, Hovis and Nestle (with Milky bar).

Persil is cutting in clips from their ads over many years  – I love the ’90s one with the teen pouring powder all over the floor – celebrating 100 years of the brand. It’s great. Really can’t help smiling watching it.

The Hovis ad is a little bit different – same concept as the Persil ad, we watch a boy running through time from when Hovis first launched, through to the present day. I don’t recognise the clips or the music so I think it’s been made from scratch, but it’s meant to feel familiar.

Then today the Milky bar Kid found his way back into our hearts. I can’t find the ad, but Zoe Wood’s Guardian article looks at all of these examples.

I hadn’t read the Guardian article until I sat down to write this post, and I feel a little sad that it wasn’t just me wondering what the psychology is that is behind this – although also secretly pleased that my random musings on the journey home may actually be interesting.

So what is the psychology behind this trend? Well according to Wood, as well as researchers from Washington State Uni and Wolverhampton Uni, it’s about remembering ‘better times’. Wood’s article contributes the rise to the current economic doom and gloom. People look back on the past with a fondness, so the nostalgia ads give us that warm happy glow that makes us want to part with not only our money but our brand loyalty too.

So the launch was…not quite a success. But just over five months on, BA are launching a new campaign to shift public opinion and reassure the world that ‘Terminal 5 is working’.

According to coverage the campaign will be a multi million pound marketing campaign covering print, online, radio and billboard advertising.

The one ad I saw on my way home today is…well it’s ok. It’s doing exactly what the campaign aims to do, which is concentrate on the simple messaging, and the campaign is apparently going to make use of real ‘genuine customer experience’, look at stats showing how T5’s improving security, baggage handling and general timeliness.

I have to say it’s not blow-away, but will be interesting to see how far this goes to shift public opinion. I’d be interested to know how much the campaign is going to make use of online media – for example through travel booking sites and holiday forums. What are they doing to promote to previous customers also, i.e. those who have travelled since March?

Most importantly, whether the message is believed or not, will this actually change people’s travelling habits? Had their travelling habits been changed in the first place, or is this more just to redress what was an embarrassing opening to a very expensive venture? As the Londonist aptly puts it, are BA just reminding people of previous mistakes unnecessarily?

Will be interesting to see reactions to this campaign as it develops.

Once again I would like to point out a rather clever advert I clocked on the underground, only I can’t find it anywhere online.

HSBC have released an advert promoting their sponsorship of the Wimbledon Championships 2008. According to the official website,

HSBC– becomes the Official Banking Partner of The Championships, providing banking facilities at the HSBC Bank on site by the Museum Building.  HSBC has also agreed to donate to charity a sum equal to the total amount generated via the HSBC branded red ticket resale boxes, in 2007 the amount donated to charity was in excess of £85,000.  In addition, HSBC will be working with the All England Club to expand the Road to Wimbledon junior event, henceforth to be known as The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 and Under Challenge.

The advert is really pretty cool. It actually took me until the second time I saw it, standing waiting for my tube home this evening, to actually figure it out, but once I did I was impressed with the subtleties they have applied, and found the whole ensemble really rather engaging.

I don’t want to give the whole thing away as it really is quite inventive and fun to look for all the little touches, but they have set up the inside of an HSBC branch as a tennis court. It’s very very subtle…! Ten points if you spot more than ten tennis-themes – if you’re desperate to know what the ten I saw were skip to the end and I’ll add these in…

Being responsible for SAGE’s sponsorship I was also pleased by the simplicity of the messaging. The whole piece gave lots of food for thought. It’s strongly branded, simple, and clever. Just what a sponsorship ad should be. Lovely. Good work HSBC. Just put the ad online somewhere so I can link to it?? Thanks.

The eight references…Tim Henman at the desk on the front left; strawberries and cream on his desk; the two female tennis players (handbags as rackets), the umpire, the net, the runner, the green watercooler, the wimbledon mug, the Cliff cd’s, SW19 on the ladder.

I’ve been searching online but have been unable to find a link to the new BT display adverts for home broadband. If you haven’t seen them, essentially they are several very neatly produced ‘happy homes’ – a house with a smile built in to its architecture, either through a strategically positioned fence, or hedge etc etc. What I like is the fact that the main picture is not trying to be subtle at all, but it has built in some much more subtle touches throughout the piece – so a smiley face in the flowers, or in the sky, or a heart-shaped smoke plume coming from the chimney.

What I also find interesting is the fact that there is a cat pictured in each ad. Now this may just be a coincidence and perhaps the designer on the job is just very fond of cats, but I also found myself wondering as I sat gazing at these ads on the tube over the weekend whether BT has any research on what consumers consider to be ‘things that make mine a happy home’. Do cats feature highly on this list? Maybe they don’t and this is all far too elaborate, but it did get me thinking about research and persuasion again.

On this topic, I was commissioned last week to re-write some copy for a direct mail campaign, to make it a little more ‘persuasive’. Not strictly being a copywriter by trade, I fell back on some of the principles of persuasion laid out in Goldstein and Cialdini’s ‘Yes’ book: absolutely worth a read if you are ever trying to write ad or marketing copy. It sets out examples of where persuasion has worked, based on a number of psychological and real life experiences. I’m fully intending on reading it a second time and highlighting some of the best tips on this blog – but in the meantime I can strongly recommend buying a copy.

I’d fully intended to spend some time on CPD this weekend. Unfortunately I was scuppered by a perfect sunny bank holiday. Somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to spend it indoors…