Category Archives: MBA Notes


A simple tease

A vineyard in Switzerland was the last place I expected to come across a QR code. I’ve been negative about their overuse in the past and the unrealistic expectations advertisers have regarding response rates, so, before most marketing execs give up on QRs forever, maybe it’s time for me to praise a good example. The grapes on the vine were … Continue reading


Tourist attraction

Two examples from this summer, one from the Black Forest and one from the German speaking area of Switzerland, but both of classic tools used in advertising to grab attention or raise interest. The first falls into the ‘sex sells’ category with an attempt to compare hills, crevasses and vegetation to, well, a woman’s body. Is this an attempt to … Continue reading


A hole in the strategy

When I stumbled across this chocolate, I had to buy it. I know Aero well from the UK. But what, this says Trumpf on it?! How could this not be Nestle? It seems this German company got there first. They had the name already, they had a product in the chocolate sector (important, as when you register a brand you … Continue reading


WO70 winners

It’s not often we have two winners of the case study, but it’s also not often I show the target group the results of the work. After a small focus group of kids aged 5 to 8, we had two favourites. Qualitative feedback from customers is not statistically representative, so of course we can only assume a larger sample would … Continue reading


A good match with customers

The latest case study winners came up with an alternative for Unilever’s teenage fantasy deodorant Axe (Lynx in the UK). It’s difficult to say if they won because of the positioning versus ‘The Axe/Lynx effect’ or the packaging. The positioning was already clever: while Axe/Lynx plays to a desperate dream of young men that using the product will make complete … Continue reading


WO68 winners

Well, the brief was to hit the big German snack Kinder Schokolade straight between the eyes and this case study group did precisely that. So much so that the packaging looks a little bit similar to the strategic competitor it’s taking on. If the waves in the lower section of the pack are protected, or the concept with the smiling … Continue reading

Unfortunately, we all saw this

Posters for all people

Posters are perhaps one of the most public forms of advertising. You can buy individual poster sites or whole packages matched exactly to your target group, from mothers shopping at superstores to hip city dwellers foraging for fashion – but also even B2B audiences making their way from the airport to the trade fair. So when you’re planning the M … Continue reading


Flavour of the month

This year, the hey-be-cool food and beverages trend in Germany has to have been elderberry. It actually got underway in 2012, if not earlier, but in 2013 I think the product life cycle really gathered momentum. Holunder – German for elderberry/elderflower – first caught a wider audience’s imagination in trendy bars with a drink called Hugo, a sparkling wine or … Continue reading

A boring attempt to attract new customers?

Strong, pink, strange…

The German discount supermarket Lidl has been selling a limited edition drill in the UK, in PINK. I’m trying to get my mind round this most basic kind of segmentation, men versus women. OK, they’ve worked out there’s a new kind of emancipated DIY enthusiast out there – women. So it could be potential new business by stretching the target … Continue reading


Maybe it’s over

Continuing the recent theme regarding the English prefix Mc and its use in German brands, let’s zap to England. I’m not sure how, but the German prefix über (‘over’, as in Übermensch, the etymological root of superman) crept into English a couple of years ago. Its use is the same. So a person can be uber-cool, uber-careful, etc. Pronounce it … Continue reading



I noticed a long time ago that the Germans like to poke fun at the Scots for being thrifty and tight with money. It seems to be acceptable here, more so than mocking the Swabians. But when it comes to the use of “Mc” in some brand names here, it took a lot longer for me to feel what the … Continue reading