Marketing Monday: Let's Go

Happy New Year!

Ah, January. Ye of resolutions, leftover holiday treats, the last scraps of Christmas cheer lingering like unwanted party guests. I love a chance for a fresh start and some navel-gazing, which probably explains why I've always loved the anticipatory countdowns and the flip of the page to January. I'm not one for making hard and fast resolutions that I burn out on by mid-January. I am one for thinking about the month and year ahead and working on all the things I already knew I needed to work on. 

2016 was a big year for my little business. Growth is good but it's also scary. A few weeks ago I was working on something that had fantastic potential but which also scared the hell out of me. I was chatting with a friend and fellow career pioneer about it and was explaining that I seemed to be following a trajectory that was getting familiar: "*hand is level* Wow, okay, this is interesting, this is exciting *hand goes up* wait, what am I doing *hand starts coming down, like a rollercoaster* oh my god this is terrifying I have no idea what I'm doing I am going to bomb *hand crashes out* okay, wait, I think I got this, I just need to rely on my experience and believe in myself *hand starts coming back up*" You get the idea. So imagine my delight when I discovered a much more eloquent visual version of this insane journey of throwing yourself out there:

Image from

Image from

There's nothing quite so reassuring as knowing you're not alone, especially when what you're doing is new to you.

That visual reminded me of another one. I don't know who drew this, but I think of it often, whether in work or in rowing or in my personal life.

These are things I'm reflecting on as we begin a new year. Wishing you good fortune, fun adventures, just enough challenge and fear, and the guts to see it all through.



Marketing Monday: Christmas Adverts

Seasonal marketing feels pretty lovely right now, and it's no secret that I'm a fan of all things British. During this busy week, let's enjoy some charming, feel-good Christmas adverts, as they are known in their native land. 

Every year, lots of British companies participate in what would be the equivalent of our Super Bowl commercial competition. Starting in early November, these ads swoop around social media, stirring up buzz and setting the tone for the season.

The most well-known of the annual commercial showdown (DOUBLE MEANING) is arguably John Lewis, a high-end department store. This year's was particularly lovely. (Make sure to check out #MontyThePenguin from 2014, while you're at it.)

Boots is a store I always like to duck into in the UK. It's a bit like CVS and the beauty section of Target thrown in with a bit of something extra (they even make their own lines of makeup and beauty products). And hey, Kate Middleton's been known to pop into Boots as well. Their ad(vert) this year was particularly touching.

Tesco is my favorite place to pick up my favorite British treats (Haribo and Tunnock's), and I think we can all relate to what they've put out here:

This year's Marks & Spencer choice isn't quite doing it for me, but they can't all be our favorite, and this one is ranking quite well.

If you're a Wes Anderson fan, you can't miss this short film he directed for H&M starring Adrien Brody. 

This Heathrow ad is quite a charmer.

Saving the best for last, and cheatin' while I do: Mog stole my heart last year in Sainsbury's ad, and so I'm including her here. Mog is a beloved children's book character in the UK, and this was her film debut.

(Fun fact for my American readers: "mog" or "moggie" are British terms for a cat without a pedigree or not of a known breed. If you rescue a cat from the pound and have no idea what kind of cat it is, you've got yourself a mog.)

Sainsbury's ad this year is also nice, but it will never be Mog. That said, I love that Sainsbury's chooses a charity to support with their campaign each year, and that their ads are subtly but perfectly related. Mog helped with Save the Children to support children's literacy, and Dave the singing Dad is helping the Great Ormond Street Hospital for children. Per UK Fundraising, "All profits from the sale of the specially created Gingerbread ‘Dave’ (£1) and The Greatest Gift film animation kit (£5) will go to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity." The charity is making it possible for parents to stay near their sick children while they're in the hospital.

Check out the behind-the-scenes videos as well: I enjoy them almost as much as the ads themselves. 2015, 2016.

Marketing Monday: Merry Kissmas

In the most recent Friday Find I shared one of my favorite holiday treats. (The non-edible kind. For the edible kind I might need to start a whole new year-round blog. Have you heard of these things called pigs-in-a-blanket?) (Pigs-in-blankets?) Today I'm talking about another favorite holiday treat that also happens to be a marketing spot. And it's food!

Surely most of us are familiar with it: The simplicity that is the genius of turning a classic thing into something it's not, and setting it to music. 

I remember when this ad first came out in 1989, and how fun and different I thought it was, even as a kid. I was captivated. I've enjoyed seeing it every year since, but I otherwise knew nothing about it until I stumbled across this case study that gives a bit of the background and nails what the ad means for me:

"With each passing year, the ad triggers feelings of nostalgia—you can remember when you first saw it, and associate memories of holidays past, making it a tradition in itself.

What may be most impressive, though, is how in just 16 seconds' time, Hershey's somehow gets you into the holiday spirit—and makes you think about grabbing a bag of chocolate Kisses—without saying a single word out loud."

I'm clearly not alone in my nostalgia: 

That's some truly timeless marketing. What's more impressive, possibly, is that the ad only came to be because a marketing exec took a risk and did something he wasn't supposed to do. Check out the Hershey's Archives' story on how the ad came to be. That gamble paid off, and it's now Hershey's longest running commercial to date. It's even inspired tributes (some might say knock-offs).

Bonus #1: It also led me down a rabbit hole of 80s TV commercial nostalgia. Do you remember any of these? I do!

Bonus #2: It also reminded me of these 'give a kiss' ornaments that were all the rage in the 80s. Squeeze their cheeks and Hershey's kiss was waiting for you inside. We had one on our tree growing up, and I want to say it was green. Maybe it was a frog? I don't remember. But man, nostalgia sure will do it every time.

Picture from Pinterest.

Picture from Pinterest.