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In this month’s article, taken from a new column series in PM Forum Magazine, called Marketing Lessons written by owner of Elephant Creative, Helen Hammond, we take a look at what is going on in the wider marketing world and draw out some lessons for the professional services.

When I look back over the campaigns that have caught my eye this month, they have all had one thing in common: a clear understanding of their target audience and what the brand wants them to do.  The professional services can scoff, stating that it might be easy to do innovative marketing – inspiring viral following and sharing – if you have a huge budget, but there are still many things we can learn and apply to our own work.


1.     Mercedes-Benz Magic Body Control TV Commercial ‘Chicken’

Let’s be honest… in recent years Mercedes-Benz hasn’t had the best reputation for having a sense of humour.  But their recent ‘Chicken’ (closely followed by ‘Cat’) campaign came to my attention via Facebook.  This nails the consumer thirst for all things ‘animal’ on YouTube (remember Fenton?).  It creates a simple, entertaining video that communicates one simple message (that you can get thrown around all over the place and your new Mercedes-Benz will control everything to keep you going forward smoothly).  How many times do the professional services complicate their communications by trying to tell it all?  This advert works because it only talks about one benefit, in a way that is directly in tune with its target market.  I defy you not to hit ‘share’ when you see it.


2.     Freeview – Cat and Budgie

Whilst we’re on the subject of animals the Cat and Budgie advert tapped into the previously mentioned love of dancing (and singing) animals to build a cult following through canny use of landing pages.  They used this ‘destination’ (which aggregated all campaign content) as a vehicle for collecting data.  There are options for using a hashtag, opportunities to log in via Facebook to listen to more content, to add the musical duo to your website or even to share animated gifs.  But in all cases Freeview is collecting data… that they’ll no doubt use to follow up with digital and telemarketing.  This is something we should learn from.  Effective marketing isn’t just about generating instruction – it can also be about collecting useful data and intelligence about your consumers.


3.     Chanel and Asda

As a part of Paris fashion week Chanel stunned fashion-lovers around the world by transforming the Grand Palais in Paris into a supermarket.  And over in the UK Asda decided it wanted in on the action.  The supermarket chain took inspiration from Chanel and used its shop floor as a runway to showcase the latest George at Asda collection.  Through speaking to their customers’ aspirations the supermarket chain demonstrated why they’re considered innovators in the low-price clothing market.  In fact, if you were to look at the photos side by side with Chanel, you’d be hard pressed to work out which is which (don’t tell M. Lagerfeld).  There is a lot to be said for aligning your marketing communications with brands that your clients aspire to.  Why call a spade a spade when your clients want a gardener?  The professional services don’t need to be afraid of promoting themselves as being the ultimate solution (and resulting emotional result) rather than sticking to talking about the transactional task.


4.     Red’s Ten Commandments

I have to thank @conscioussol for this one… when I was at my lowest ebb, contemplating a piece of steamed salmon, I saw his tweet about having just eaten ribs at Red’s True BBQ and how he loved their Ten Commandments.  Such a clever bit of marketing.  Turning the ‘why we’re great’ communication into actions that you want your customers to do for you… turning sales conversion into a customer experience.  How many professional services firms would be bold enough to lay out ten things they want their clients to do to get more from their client experience and to promote them to their network?  Now that, I’d love to see!

If you’d like to suggest campaigns that have caught your eye you can contact me through Twitter on @helenhammond or via email on