Category Archives: Political/Legal


Mocking the powers that be

Smoking ban? Who cares!

I’ve been waiting with baited breath to see how the German cigarette companies would deal with the smoking ban in bars. Trust my favourite brand (NO, I don’t smoke) to strike the right chord. Here’s how they dealt with it in Baden-Württemberg, which implemented the ban last year. Rather than go more abstract (than they already are!) they met the … Continue reading


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Piggyback rider

This has to be one of the most blatant examples I’ve ever seen of “passing off”. Basically, the neatly named “Dromedary” is counting on Mexican illiteracy, cross-eyed consumers, or pure ignorance. It may be no surprise to hear that – as far as I’m aware – this brand (that is clearly riding on the back of another) is no longer … Continue reading


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Get the drink get the girl

Problem-solution advertising through and through, scanned in from a German magazine: But somehow this is so blatant, it’s corny. OK, the target market is clear. OK, it clearly shows the “brand benefit”. OK it’s encouraging men to drink this alcoholic beverage and not just women. But do me a favour. Actually, under new guidelines in the UK, this advertising would … Continue reading


Cats created by condoms

In assessing the impact on the marketing environment made by technology change, Kotler describes a somewhat unexpected chain of trends, products and markets created by the invention of the condom and contraceptive pill. In fact some claim contraception was one of the most influential inventions on mankind in the whole of the 20th century. The chain: – contraception led to … Continue reading


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Car wars

Nothing like poking fun at the competition. Some people would maintain you must be desperate for something really interesting to say if you have to resort to mud flinging, but this sequence of ads from South Africa was amusing. It started with this: To which came this superlative: Others joined in: It was rounded off by a totally arrogant stance … Continue reading


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Smart ideas

According to the story I heard, a few years ago at the big German car show, the IAA, the makers of the new Mini (BMW) decided to put their car next to a Smart (made by arch enemy Mercedes) and fill them both with ping pong balls. As visitors to their stand could clearly see, they got more ping pong … Continue reading


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Tempting copy

Leading maker of biscuits in Australia, Arnotts, dominates many product sectors. Their TimTam brand is a household name. Yummy chocolate layers, yummy cream chocolate filling, yummy chocolate covering. Enter Dick Smith, the local hero Down Under and a keen opportunity spotter. Dick is a champion of me-too products and the curse of many a brand manager. So, wanting to cash … Continue reading


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Mr Marlboro’s gone

We all know cigarette advertising will be banned in Germany some time. It’s already happened elsewhere and European law will take eventually precedence. So it’s interesting watching the industry limber up with many parallels to what happened in the UK. The first major move there was to forbid ads that show a person holding a cigarette. Next advertisers had to … Continue reading


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I love you baby

Sometimes when you see stark contrasts you realise how unbelievable it is that legislation wasn’t changed earlier. This ad is shocking to modern eyes. And normally it’s the old generation that is shocked by what the following generation is up to. And as for this one, and the whole concept of passive smoking…


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Scare tactics

[WARNING: this post contains shocking images – do not scroll down if you are squeamish] In 2001 I brought back a picture from England of a pack of cigarettes with what for German smokers was a HUGE warning on it. It was, it was a third of the front of the pack (unlike the German packs of the time – … Continue reading


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Green cakes and excess packaging

According to a Local Government Association report released in October 2007, up to 40% of packaging used by leading UK supermarkets cannot be recycled. This includes leading names like Marks & Spencer (the worst offender) but also a big German retailer: Lidl, rapped for the worst wrapping on a “standard basket of 29 goods”. I was surprised Lidl scored badly. … Continue reading