0 Tony Singleton, Author at Mr Wolf - The Challenger Agency
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Author: Tony Singleton

We’ve moved.

Like an hermit crab with a sweet tooth, we've outgrown our current digs.  So it's with a heavy heart that we say 'Au Wiedersen' to Woolloomooloo and, instead, say 'Howdy-Doody' to The Rocks. Our new office has a great view of Circular Quay and, if you squint, The Opera House too  - so next time you're in the 'hood' - pop in and say hi....

Apple the Underdog?!

Scanning the blogosphere, the fervent high built up around the Apple Watch launch event seems to have dissipated more rapidly than normal. Many informed commentators seem a little lukewarm in their response. However, that Apple will have a huge impact on the hyped wearables category is not really up for debate. According to research firm Canalys, in 2014 there were 4.6 million wearables shipped. Apple’s initial order of Watches alone is reported to be more than 5 million units. And although some do question it’s future ability to keep the successes rolling, no one is seriously questioning Apple’s ability to remain the most valuable company in the world for a while longer. So, what’s this self serving rubbish about Apple having an Underdog narrative? Well, it’s not me who made this observation first, it was those wild renegades over at the Harvard Business Review. In what remains probably the most well researched paper on the subject - ‘The Underdog Effect: The Marketing of Disadvantage and Determination through Brand Biography’ (told you they were wild and wacky!) – the enduring appeal of the Underdog brand narrative and it’s potential power to recruit people to your brand was tested. In one experiment they looked at purchase intent against two fictitious chocolate brands: “One brand had an underdog story: We described it as small and new, competing against powerhouses like Lindt and Godiva. The other brand had a top-dog biography, characterized by experienced founders and a big marketing budget. The result: 71% of subjects chose the underdog chocolate.” They also identified that Apple has carefully protected and projected the two key characteristics of an Underdog brand narrative: A disadvantaged position - they highlight a company’s humble beginnings and portray it as being “outgunned” by bigger, better-resourced competitors A passion and determination to triumph against the odds. In a triumph of careful story telling and PR, nearly everyone knows that Apple was started in the Jobs’ house. We also know that the company was in a near death struggle with the Gates Boogieman – it helps to have a villain - over at Microsoft (which was also started in a garage, but somehow has never...

Deceive your intuition

When an ad is direct enough to tell you to ‘pay attention’, there's no doubt some ad-trickery at play.  And in this clever piece of content from Skoda, there most certainly is.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpPYdMs97eE The simple act of directing the viewer's concentration solely to to the car, effectively forces System 1 to activate System 2. As a result, System 1 completely misses a whole raft of relevant context that ordinarily it would have picked up. Of course, this technique isn't new. Transport for London adopted a similar technique for cyclist awareness some years ago. And this, in itself, was based on research into intuition deception by Simons and Chabris. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTv4yD6BKlA However, the success of this content idea spawned a sequel that was equally successful - in terms of shares, likes and message takeout: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubNF9QNEQLA The key learning here is that System 1 largely manages to tune out from advertising - unless something happens that truly engages, or trips System 2 into action - which is exactly what's happening here. Advertising that truly makes you think. Genius stuff....

Is your System 1 telling you stories?

Can I borrow 1 mins 24sec of your life? – don’t worry all you have to do is click and watch a youtube video (and it’s kinda work, so you don’t even have to feel guilty about it!) [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FIEZXMUM2I[/embed] So, can you tell me what you saw happening? Apparently I’m like the vast majority of people (and I mean I’m like virtually everyone apart from unfortunate souls suffering from autism). I saw a rather aggressive large triangle who was being a bit of a bully. He was picking on a smaller triangle and circle, chasing them around. The smaller triangle and circle are friends. They’re a little intimidated but eventually help each other out so they can escape from the ‘bad’ triangle who ends up angrily smashing everything up when they have escaped. Did you see something like this? The interesting part of this is that it’s a brilliant demonstration of the amazing story telling ability of everyone’s System 1 thinking (I’m channeling my inner Daniel Kahneman here). But look again.  What I actually saw was just 2 triangles, a circle and a few lines moving around a page. But somehow I managed to imbue in these simple shapes characteristics we would normally only associate with people – bullying, fear, friendship, desire, anger (I even managed to decide the large triangle was male presumably because of an associative link I have between bullying and males!) The amazing part of this is once my System 1 had brought this narrative to my System 2 - and it accepted it - I didn't stop to consider an alternative narrative - one where all I was really seeing was (in)animate objects. This is the root of one of my favourite TV ads of all time – Ikea Lamp. Brilliant, simple story telling with a really rewarding end. So ask yourself, are you harnessing your audience’s System 1 to help you tell better stories? Tony [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBqhIVyfsRg[/embed]...

Mr. Wolf wins Taylors Wines

Mr. Wolf wins Taylors Wines Leading Australian winery, Taylors Wines has appointed Mr. Wolf as it's lead creative partner following a competitive pitch against a number of undisclosed agencies. This marks an important step for the family-owned Clare Valley winery, which has a growing range of premium wines and more planned for the coming months and years. “It is our mission to become one of Australia’s favourite premium wine brands, so finding the right creative agency partner is obviously critical,” said Cameron Crowley, Chief Marketing Officer Taylors Wines. “After seeing some great presentations, the team at Mr. Wolf just stood out – they really got our brand and delivered exciting and fresh creative thinking. Their ideas went well beyond the brief and it was great to see an agency thinking about our whole business and not just our communications,” Crowley said. “We were looking for a creative partner that could analyse the challenges our brand faces and present interesting creative solutions to these. Mr. Wolf presented some really thought-provoking work,” added Miles Omodei, Senior Brand Manager Taylors Wines. Managing Partners of Mr. Wolf Richard Carr and Tony Singleton said they believed their alternative approach and bespoke senior team were the reasons behind the business win. “Taylors Wines is a progressive and ambitious business. We’re honoured to have the opportunity to partner with such an iconic Australian brand,” said Carr. “Finding out we were up against some agencies that we really respect was a little unsettling at first, but it just makes the win more meaningful,” added Singleton, also Head of Strategy at Mr. Wolf. Winning the Taylors Wines account tops off a great few months for Mr. Wolf, being the fifth new business win for the fledgling agency since it opened its doors mid-May....

1stAvailable calls in Mr. Wolf

Pioneering, healthcare technology start-up 1stAvailable.com.au, has appointed Mr. Wolf as its lead strategic and creative partner.  1stAvailable makes healthcare work more smoothly for both patients and practitioners alike through the application of technology. Their initial service is an online/mobile booking engine that allows patients to make appointments with health providers such as Doctors, Dentists, Allied and Specialists, 24/7. It simultaneously provides healthcare practitioners with a way to improve the customer experience for existing patients, find new patients, fill vacant appointment times and reduce the resource drain of booking appointments over the phone. “1stAvailable is exactly the type of Underdog business that great strategic and creative thinking can have a genuine impact on” said Tony Singleton, Managing Partner, Mr. Wolf.  “They’re progressive, on a high growth path, able to make rapid decisions and hungry for thinking that goes beyond traditional communications”. “I can’t say that my experience of the world of marketing agencies has always been that impressive – vague, self interested approaches and promises that are often not backed up by rigorous thinking or a commitment to results” said Klaus Bartosch, Managing Director, 1stAvailable.  “The team at Mr. Wolf are different.  They just get our business and are focused on helping us achieve our commercial - not just communication – challenges.  I also really like that they’re happy to back themselves by offering to put real skin-in-the-game.   It’s great to bring them on board”. This is one of a number of new business assignments that the fledgling agency has landed since it opened it’s doors in mid-May.  Details relating to these will be announced in the coming weeks.  “The client feedback on our Underdog proposition has been overwhelmingly positive”  adds Richard Carr, Managing Partner. ”There seems to be a genuine appetite for our new model and this appointment is testament to this.  We’re really looking forward to working with Klaus and the rest of the team at 1stAvailable.”...

Why Sly could whoop Rockys’ ass in the underdog stakes.

Sylvester Stallone's life story is a true underdog tale.  His rise from an impossible situation to the fame and fortune he now enjoys is almost unfathomable - and is certainly more dramatic than the Rocky Balboa story itself.   (The following extract is taken from http://belowzerotohero.com/sylvester-stallones-zero-to-hero-story)   Stallone’s Zero-to-Hero Story Not a lot of people know this, but due to complications during labor, the lower left side of Stallone’s face is paralyzed, including parts of his tongue, lip and chin. This incident at birth is the cause of his trademark snarling look and his slurred manner of speaking. For the first five years of his life, Sylvester Stallone lived in an area of New York known as Hell’s Kitchen. He bounced from one foster home to another while his parents fought and squabbled endlessly in a bad marriage. Although he was eventually reunited with them, his troubled past and his oddly paralyzed face made him an outcast among his classmates. He often received suspensions for his frequent fights, poor grades, and behavior problems.   Below Zero Status His adult life was just as difficult. Hard times and a lack of income resulted in the actor getting evicted from his apartment. As a result he was forced to live on the streets for close to three weeks. Eventually he came across a casting call for a soft core pornography film; out of desperation he attended the casting call. For two days of filming the actor received $200. According to Stallone “it was either do that movie or rob someone, because I was at the end, the very end of my rope”. After getting back on his feet he was eventually able to attend college. However, deciding this path was not for him, he left before graduation and moved to New York to pursue an acting career. He tried out for nearly each and every casting call he could, and contacted as many casting agents as he could find, stripping porn games with no victory. After numerous failed attempts he made the decision to try his hand at writing various screenplays. After numerous failed attempts he found himself broke once again. In an act of desperation he waited...

“Show me the money”

  Source: www.worldpayzinc.com/tech-wealth/ Apart from slightly macabre joy of watching just how quickly big global companies rack up the dollars - quite a lot of them out of my own pocket! - this is a beautifully simple demonstration of the power of clever presentation when it comes to data. worldpayzinc.com have taken something that is outside of our normal ability to comprehend what it really means - like Apple generating $171Bn in sales in 2013 (apparently it's to do with having no readily available mental reference points for numbers of that scale) and made it tangible and accessible by showing us how much money the global uber brands are generating every second. And making the data more accessible allows us to see new things.  Like Google aren't anywhere near as dominant as I think of them.  And how much money and profit Microsoft is still generating.  Also how relatively small LinkedIn and Twitter remain as they struggle to fully monetise their offerings and how the decline of Sony is not only restricting revenue but also relative profitability - normally the strength of more aspirational brands. But the biggest thing this brings into focus for me is how well Samsung have done in turning around their underdog brand status.  Sure, they've still got some way to go in terms of profitability in comparison to Apple, but their clever products and marketing are generating 25% more revenue than Apple. Good work worldpayzinc...