A word from our sponsors…

Where to start? Sifting through (even a small portion of) Super Bowl ads after the big event is always quite the task. There I am each year, pen in hand, watching one commercial after another while trying to map various themes in my notebook. Fast-forward a few hours and I realise that the first ad I watched was my overall favourite. <Sigh>

It won’t surprise you to know that most of the game-day ads were a manic conveyor belt of celebrities. Stands to reason that after a looong while, and a few drinks, viewer vision became blurred and it’s hard to remember who paired up with what.

As usual, there were a number of themes, but nostalgia emerged as dominant. Not surprising seeing as we already know that old is gold when it comes to showcasing products and services. And while a large number of viewers won’t be old enough to remember the original films or references, sometimes the stars and ideas are just big enough to transcend them.

Another thing to bear in mind that it’s US presidential election year which means that the majority of advertisers probably opted to keep things light-hearted ahead of a likely second term for the current president. Remember how seriously political most of the ads in 2017 were? (Fear not, this won’t be that kind of blog.)

Anyway, let’s dive in:

Step back in time
Jeep: Groundhog Day – Created especially for (surprise, surprise) Groundhog Day 02/02/2020. A day that Bill Murray is more than happy to wake up each morning to pootle around in his motor with his furry pal. The tagline ‘No day is the same in a Jeep Gladiator’ does the job very nicely.

Walmart: Famous Visitors – For its first ever ad (during the Super Bowl), Walmart brought in a number of familiar sci-fi faces to show off its convenient kerbside pick-up service. Also serves as a reminder that the third Bill and Ted film will be out this year. (Excellent!)

Cheetos: Can’t touch this – MC Hammer makes a return with his 30-year-old hit to remind us of the consequences of eating dusty Cheetos. In this instance, a bag of new cheesy popcorn renders a man useless to everyone around him.   

Mountain Dew Zero Sugar: As Good as The Original – Parodying The Shining feels overdone in marketing but Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston is a nice touch. I’ll allow this one. It’s harmless enough.

Facebook: Ready to Rock? – Facey-B shows off its happy side in what appears to be a trust-building exercise. The ad displays a series of genuine groups (along with a couple of familiar faces) as an homage to the real people who make the platform what it is. All well and good but you can’t help but think that for every happy-go-lucky group shown in this ad, there’ll also be a hate group lurking in the shadows.

Snickers: #SnickersFixTheWorld – Is it trying to be a modern-day Coke ad with this group singalong? Who knows? It’s certainly a long way off from Mr T yelling ‘GET SOME NUTS’ in our faces – but I did enjoy the pair with the selfie stick falling into the huge hole.  

Squarespace: Winona in Winona –For some reason, Squarespace sent the actress – who most young’uns will recognise from Stranger Things – to her namesake, Winona in Minnesota to make a website about it. (No, I don’t understand either.) 

Tech (or sort of)
Budweiser Canada: Whassup Again – This one actually falls into nostalgia, tech and crossover. Bud Canada resurrected the 1999 ad with a present-day twist. Simply put, it’s an empty home full of smart devices and household items chatting away to each other and it’s great fun. Not only that, the other smart thing about it is that they teamed up with Uber to promote getting home safely after the big game by not drink driving. Win-win.

Amazon: Before Alexa – Good, clean fun. We’re at home with Ellen and Portia who are wondering how the world managed before Alexa came along. Turns out ‘Alexa’ has been around longer than we realised.

Hyundai Sonata: Smaht Pahk – An auto ad really, but one promoting remote smart parking assist – or ‘Smaht Pahk’. Boston celebs, Rachel Dratch, Chris Evans and (man formerly known as ‘future Mr Alkis’) John Krasinski, team up with their best Boston accents to talk about all the places in Boston one could park using this technology. Apparently, it’s hard to park cars in Boston. (Fun fact: ‘Smaht Pahk’ became a thing when one of the creatives said it with her Boston accent during a meeting. So there you go.)

Google: Loretta – Dammit, Google! This is a wonderful piece of storytelling about a Google employee’s grandfather looking for ways to remember the love of his life. Naturally, it made me shed a tear or two. Digital assistants serve a vital purpose for so many people out there. But the ad also reminds me of how much deeply personal information we give to the internet as a price. I guess in cases like these, it just has to be the way.

Some crossovers
Rick and Morty x Pringles – Rick quickly realises that his grandson, Morty, is actually a robot and that they’re all trapped in a Pringles ad they can’t escape.  

Tide: #LaundryLater – We’re told the best time to do laundry is ‘later’. Cue a number of tie-ins with other brands while Charlie Day tries to work out when later is. Tide and Bud Knight / Tide and Wonder Woman 1984Tide and The Masked Singer.

Coca-Cola: Show Up – Having plans but wanting to stay at home instead; it’s happened to all of us. Not even Martin Scorsese is safe from being ‘blown out’ by his mate at the last minute. Luckily for ol’ Mart, a glug of Coca-Cola Energy gives Jonah Hill his second wind and the two (pals in real life) hit the party circuit together. Our lives might not be Hollywood, but the storyboard works for me.

And finally…
New York Life Insurance Company: Love Takes Action – Beautiful. Not one of the sexiest ads perhaps, but it’s simple, relatable, and stands out amongst all the junk food on the Super Bowl advertising conveyor belt. I’ll file it under ‘lasting impression’.

*Read our previous Super Bowl blogs:

Super Bowl 2019
Super Bowl 2018
Super Bowl 2017

A word from our sponsors

With each passing year, the challenge to create memorable Super Bowl advertising becomes increasingly complicated as brands try to navigate their way through social hot topics, political issues, and finding the right celebs to help sell products.

The ads are usually as eagerly-awaited as the big game itself; particularly unusual in the era of on-demand television where most of us tend to skip the advertising – if we can – to get to the shows we’re trying to watch. And if it’s a low-scoring game, as it turned out to be on Sunday, the ads need to work even harder.

I watched so many Super Bowl ads yesterday that I have to sit in a dark room for a bit today. While I’m busy doing that, below are the categories I’ve split some of this year’s ads into. As always, these examples only scratch the surface; but they’ll give you a good idea of the broad themes. I’ve not included film trailers by the way; they’re a given. And I think it’ll take a separate blog to cover some of the ads that outraged various groups of people. 

Before we get into the categories, let’s first watch an entertaining game


Bud Light/GoT – ‘Joust Judging by the Twitter reaction, this one gave viewers quite the shock. At first, you’re merrily following the standard ‘Dilly dilly’ malarkey when, suddenly, the Bud Knight faces a new challenger – cue skull crushing and deadly flames.

Doritos – ‘Chance the Rapper x Backstreet Boys’ An ad for nachos featuring BSB. That’s good enough for me. <<Drools over AJ>>

Pringles – ‘Sad device’ Okay, it’s not really a brand mashup but let’s pretend that they’re talking to an Amazon Alexa device.

Stella Artois – ‘Change Up the Usual’ Dude from The Big Lebowski hanging out with SATC’s Carrie Bradshaw. The ad supports Stella’s clean water campaign with Water.org and uses these iconic characters to change up their usual drinks and do good.



Amazon – ‘Not Everything Makes the Cut’  In a follow-up to last year’s ‘Alexa Loses Her Voice’, Amazon gives us a list of Alexa ‘fails’. Though it highlights the fears that many people have about artificial intelligence, including Harrison Ford getting angry at a dog makes it a bit of a comic highlight.

Bubly – ‘Can I have a Bublé?’ One from the PepsiCo family. A sparkling water brand featuring Canada’s Mickey Bubbles (or Michael Bublé as the rest of the world knows him) convinced that the drink is named after him.

Pepsi – ‘More Than OK’  Quite the bold move mentioning the Coke brand in the opening seconds (and reminding people that many prefer it to Pepsi). But there are only so many times a brand can hear the question ‘is Pepsi OK?’ and not answer it unashamedly – which is why Pepsi also covered Atlanta (Super Bowl host city and home of Coca-Cola) in blue with outdoor ads.      



Hulu/The Handmaid’s Tale – ‘Wake Up America’ What starts out as being very similar to Ronald Reagan’s 1984 campaign ad quickly develops into a dark promo for the upcoming third series of The Handmaid’s Tale. Yikes.     

Washington Post – ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness’ No doubt of mixed reactions during this era of ‘fake news’. But Tom Hanks is the voice of WP’s first ever Super Bowl spot which honours murdered and missing journalists, while highlighting the importance of fact-gathering and the risks the profession involves.    


Coca-Cola – #TogetherIsBeautiful With Atlanta being the home of Coke (and Pepsi being plastered all over the place during Super Bowl) it seems odd that Coca-Cola chose this year to scale back the advertising. Rather than run ads during the game itself, Coke ran its commercial just before kick-off.

Google Translate – ‘100 Billion Words’ Captivating and definitely on brand. It’s easy to view an ad like this through cynical eyes but I’ve chosen to remain hopeful for humanity.

Microsoft – ‘We All Win’ An uplifting ad showing off accessible game controllers for passionate young gamers. Truly a great example of how technology can help those who need it. (No, YOU’RE crying!)


AND FINALLY (It’s not an ad but still…)
Have you ever wondered what happens inside the control room during the Super Bowl halftime show? Well wonder no more. I watched a bit of Coldplay’s 2016 performance and had a mini heart attack trying to keep up. Hats off to all the hard-working people behind the camera; especially those in live TV.


*Read our previous Super Bowl blogs:

Super Bowl 2018
Super Bowl 2017

Innovate to resonate

Despite the odd bump in the road, Tesco has enjoyed a stellar century and is understandably marking it with a high-profile campaign; the launch of which coincided with strong Christmas sales figures.

Mods on mopeds, disco divas and sepia-toned shoppers highlight just how ingrained in the life of our nation the retailer has been for the past century. And the ‘Prices that take you back’ strapline links the brand’s heritage to a tangible benefit for shoppers.

A 100th birthday is undeniably worth celebrating; but heritage and price may not be what keeps Tesco at the front of the pack. The traditional ‘big four’ constantly hail their low prices, even though it’s the discounters winning on price perceptions. And with all of the ‘big four’ plus M&S, Co-op and Waitrose able to boast long histories, nostalgia alone doesn’t differentiate Tesco.

Meanwhile newer-to-market disruptors feel fresh and exciting and are winning more and more fans. Subscription services like Gousto and Hello Fresh provide new ways to shop and discounters have challenged the way own brands are perceived.

As Tesco enters its second century, playing to the pioneering spirit which saw it innovate in areas such as large formats, online, non-food and loyalty is likely to be crucial in building relevance to shoppers and retaining top spot. The brand has a commitment to innovation, as demonstrated by its latest robot delivery trial. The challenge for Tesco and its rivals will be to find ways to innovate quicker and more effectively than the rest.


Christmas unwrapped

With Halloween and Bonfire Night well out of the way, it’s okay to start thinking about Christmas, right? In fact, it’ll be here before we know it so we might as well spur into action and see what’s cropping up on this year’s wish lists. Those in the know have placed their bets on 2018’s best seller toys. And we’ve packaged up a few of our favourite trends.

Pikmi Pops appears to be this year’s strong contender against LOL Surprise and Hatchimals Colleggtibles. These brightly coloured lollipop-style surprise balls include stickers, scented toys, accessories and lanyards.
Shopkins’ Hairdorables are a little more pricey but come with 11 surprises to unwrap before the owner discovers who their cute mini doll will be. There are 36 varieties to collect – each with different hair, outfits and accessories. There’s even a YouTube ‘Hairdorables’ channel to foster strong loyalty and fandom.

Slime mania
Anyone with kids is most likely used to having the tell-tale signs of this popular trend dotted around the house. With many kids avidly watching YouTube tutorials and making their own slime at home, parents are left to deal with slime residue on furniture and carpets.

Hamleys recently showcased Elasti Plasti in its six brightly coloured pots. The slime expands by up to 100 times, makes weird and wonderful noises, and can be blown into large bubbles. So Slime DIY Slime Factory is the ultimate do-it-yourself kit that makes neon, pastel and metallic slime along with confetti, glitter and sprinkles.

Robotics & coding
It’s never too early to get the young ones into coding. Given the attention and hype that AI gets, it’s not surprising that a few gadgets caught our eye. Botley the Coding Robot is aimed at the early years and teaches kids programming skills with stickers, coding cards and activity accessories. Boxer is a pocket size AI robot who comes with a mini remote control and tiny football. His cute facial expressions change throughout the 10 game cards.

Last, but not least, we have the BB-9E App-Enabled Droid that parents will pretend to buy for their kids but probably end up playing with themselves! It’s an updated version of last year’s droid from soon-to-be-released The Last Jedi movie and uses a smart device to control it.

Yep, this trend shows no sign of abating. Be it ride-on unicorns that have castor wheels inside the hooves for an authentic ride – or Vtech’s Myla Fantasy Unicorn that comes with a wand that changes the colour of the unicorn digitally.

But the one that really tickles us (or our toes) is a craft kit that converts a pair of stripy socks into your very own personal unicorn pet.

Licensed toys
These popular toys continue to dominate seasonal gifting but the two that stand out are both by Viacom IP: Paw Patrol’s Ultimate Fire Truck which comes with a super cool extendable ladder, and Nella The Princess Knight Talk and Sing doll which says 10 phrases and sings the program’s theme tune.

Both toys are popular with pre-schoolers.

Old school role play
Some things never go out of fashion – like toys designed to encourage role play. Mini kitchens and supermarkets have always been popular but we love this fancy option by Waitrose which also helps build brand familiarity at a young age.

Aspiring mechanics and engineers will enjoy the Bosch Toy Workbench which comes packed with tools, accessories, and sound effects for realistic play. Brilliant for kids to play together and boost their social skills. Playmobil City Life Wedding Limo is somewhat traditional with its limo containing a bride, groom, and a driver. It comes with flowers, champagne and glasses, a tin can trail and veil. It says that the bride cannot fit into the driver’s seat so, if there is a runaway bride scenario, at least the driver will come in handy!

Razor Kids is our specialist kids and family research unit. We turn chatter into commercial insight.

To find out how we can help your brand, get in touch with #LesleyRazor or #ChloeBRazor.
020 3865 1075

I now pronounce you big data and market research

For any laggards out there, big data is the (too large for traditional processing) collection of consumer data relating to our behaviours and attitudes – all captured through our online activity. Companies harness this info to target their desired audience(s). Big data erupted over the last decade and consumer research has never been more effective. 

Three of the companies heavily connected to this are Google, Facebook, and Amazon; all using big data and market research in their strategic decision-making – for better or for worse.

Despite concerns over privacy issues, I’m okay with this. With summer officially gone, I was in the market for a new winter jacket. After a simple Google search and visit to a few online retailers, I transferred my focus to social media where I was suddenly bombarded with adverts of furry parkas as I scrolled through various platforms. I’m now £49.99 out of pocket but am also guaranteed warmth against the chilling winds that will surround me in the coming months.

All it takes is a few searches showing interest in a set of new salt and pepper shakers to impress Grandma with my cooking skills (mainly to add some much-needed excitement to the flavourless chicken I’ve just popped in the oven), and I’m suddenly being targeted with ads for new bowls, cutlery sets, and a new blender. Some may find this annoying but, for me, it makes shopping easier and more enticing than ever. My wallet’s been dented but at least I get to make a delicious smoothie whenever I want.

Unsurprisingly, there’s been a tidal wave of conversation around big data; you have the clear benefits to business strategy and consumer needs on one side – and the societal implications of living in a big data environment on the other. 

In a highly hedonistic and post-modern market environment, I say ‘hell yeah!’ to big data.

Unlike during the 60’s, when my Grandad was told that Brylcreem was the only way to get the Elvis shine and hold, consumers now give the directions. It’s us in the driving seat and brands are our passengers. We’re creating demand like never before. Having our behaviours and attitudes mined and analysed means our needs and demands are met instantly through segmented targeting.

When I need something, I want it now (I am a millennial after all). So, it’s good to know that my data’s been collected and my needs are being catered to. (And I will get it delivered tomorrow afternoon thank you very much.)

Naturally, this phenomenon raises considerable ethical issues – particularly when companies transfer any consumer data they’re holding to external companies without prior consent. The Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal is a high-profile example. In spite of this, the collection and transfer of data across multiple industries continues and competition has never been so fierce.

Big data has transformed the quality of secondary data sources because they tell the researcher the ‘whats’ and allows them to tailor their methods to discover the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’. 

Despite experts claiming big data could replace market research, it’s clear that a long and happy civil partnership between both will serve consumers far more effectively; not to mention, giving brands a competitive advantage.

I’ve got to go now. Instagram’s just shown me the perfect panini grill I’ve been searching for.

‘I’m fine. I’m totally fine!’

We love a good natter over lunch at Razor HQ. (We chit-chat all the time but it’s even better with food.) Anyway, one of our recent lunchtime discussions steered itself towards social media and growing up in the digital age.

It’s been a hot topic for quite some time and I always end up with a feeling of sadness when thinking about it. While today’s teens have so many opportunities, there’s a flip side that isn’t so happy and rosy; there’s what feels like constant self-marketing, rating self-worth by number of likes, and feeling a need to always conform to the masses. I once read somewhere that 8 out of 10 girls around the world avoid a range of everyday activities because they feel bad about the way they look. 8 out of 10 girls?! How did things get so bad?

A couple of hours after our conversation ended and, as if perfectly timed, a contact shared a Dove advert on my LinkedIn newsfeed and I just love it.

As part of its Self-Esteem Project – designed to help kids with body confidence – Dove created an ad that scratches beneath the surface of what being ‘fine’ really means. It focuses on the complexity of young people’s minds – from being bombarded with impossibly perfect imagery to struggling with self-image and trying to figure out who you really are, all whilst going about your normal day to day. It makes me tired just thinking about it all!

Alongside this ad, they partnered up with Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe using a series of videos to educate kids about body confidence and self-esteem. The short one-minute clips cover topics such as teasing and bullying, comparing looks, media, and celebrities.

We’ve seen brands like ASOS and Misguided challenging the norm and targeting girls before now, but their campaigns tend to focus on the older teen audience. This is one of the first brands I’ve seen actively targeting tweens and younger and talking so openly about the pressures of living in a social media world.

When we carried out our own Razor Kids study ‘The Beauty Project’ with teens and tweens back in the Spring, Dove wasn’t a brand that was cutting through with any of the girls and if anything, was perceived as a bit ‘mumsy’. This move is bound to increase positivity towards the brand for our future shoppers and hopefully encourage more parents/friends/teachers/relatives to take a bit more time to check in and ask what ‘I’m fine’ actually means.

Well done Dove!




Healthy eating

As consumers increasingly look for more convenient, healthy food options that deliver on flavour, could the recent launch of Deliciously Ella’s frozen food range help revolutionise the category and change consumer perceptions?

It’s been years since I last bought a frozen ready meal. The only reason I visit the freezer aisles is for peas and the odd late night trip for some Ben & Jerry’s Karamel Sutra Core (a girl’s got to have some guilty pleasures in life!). I naturally assume that frozen ready meals are of poorer quality, full of nasties, and lacking in flavour. And who can blame me, given the bad rep frozen ready meals have had over the years (*cough* 2013 horse meat scandal)?

I imagine I’m not alone on this subject and it would most likely take a new kind of frozen ready meal to draw rejecters back into the category. It feels like the Deliciously Ella frozen range has the potential to achieve this and here’s why:

  • Plant-based – Deliciously Ella is known for her veggie-focused recipes/products and this new range could provide a good mid-week or easy meal solution to help consumers cut-back on meat. All the packaging states that it’s ‘vegan friendly’ and reassures on taste with simple and clear ingredient listings and imagery on front of pack to aid decision-making.
  • Fresh and healthy – While I haven’t reviewed every frozen meal on the market, I would guess that most of them contain some additives and stabilisers to ensure longevity and boost flavour. The fact that this range doesn’t contain anything artificial is a real plus and could encourage more brands to look for ways to offer healthier alternatives.
  • Practical – The range is based on meals for two, so even if you’re buying for yourself, you can have leftovers the next day. This could help minimise food waste (and the dreaded guilt of having to throw food out!). It’s also priced quite reasonably at £3.99 – £4.99 for a meal for two and all the packaging is recyclable – something that could help consumers feel more virtuous in their food choice.
  • High quality – Deliciously Ella has huge brand-building success and credibility for creating fresh, healthy and great tasting food. Don’t get me wrong, there are other ‘healthier’ brands in the frozen food category (like Amy’s Kitchen). But few have the brand capital of Deliciously Ella, so this feels like a real opportunity to drive innovation and help lapsed/rejecter consumers re-engage with frozen food.

So, while the Deliciously Ella frozen range won’t necessarily be right for all occasions (roughly 45-minute cook time and you’d need to buy/prepare side dishes to go with it), it does have the potential to provide a practical solution for consumers looking for genuinely healthier meals that don’t compromise on taste or break the bank.

I’m excited to see whether it can shake up the category and help drive innovation. Particularly if, like the rest of the brand’s products, it becomes available to the masses in Tesco and Sainsbury’s (it’s currently only available at Whole Foods and theough Ocado). Watch this space…

And if healthy eating is something you’d like to learn more about, you’ve come to the right place. We conducted a large-scale study earlier this year and identified six discreet typologies to help grow your business. Kate Razor would be happy to tell you about the latest consumer perspectives and trends. Drop her a line.

Corporate mantra

Brand purpose has been a big trend in marketing for some time now. Like all trends, it has its champions (most prominently, Unilever CEO Paul Polman) and its detractors (Marketing Week columnist and professor, Mark Ritson, for one). Either way, it’s not going anywhere soon.

For those late to the party, ‘brand purpose’ is the idea that brands should strive to make a more positive contribution to society than just turning a profit. In contrast to CSR, a brand’s purpose should extend from the product; i.e. how the brand makes a profit.

Supporting a good cause – however worthy – is not considered a brand purpose if it doesn’t relate to what the brand does. You’ll notice a slight paradox here: purpose is about more than just making profits, yet it must also derive from how those profits are made…

Contradictions aside, campaigns around purpose have started to come downstream from original pioneers like Patagonia and Dove. Recent positioning work has seen us testing ‘purpose-based’ territories for all sorts of brands. And the reaction from consumers has been overwhelmingly positive.

Without fail, the ‘purpose one’ will generally come out second or top in a group scenario. And that’s not just a group effect; one-on-one they’ll tell you the same. It’s because purpose appeals to our ‘ideal self’ (who we would like to be), rather than our ‘real self’ (who we actually are).

Most of us would like to think of ourselves as the type of people who would pay more for the responsible brand – rather than opting for the cheapest, or the most premium, or the most fashionable. But, in reality, these factors exert a greater hold over us than we would often like to admit.

Unfortunately, brands themselves are also guilty of idealising consumer behaviour. The assumption is that by appealing to our better instincts, we will naturally flock to their product/service. That’s not to say consumers aren’t seeking responsible behaviour from brands; rather, that purpose needs to be thought of within a broader set of choice factors. Moreover, established ideas around aspiration remain sticky – in some categories consumers really do just want to feel cool/stylish/sophisticated rather than virtuous.

That said, when brand and cause are aligned, purpose can be a powerful way to enhance a brand’s offering.

Ikea has given new expression to founder Ingvar Kamprad’s purpose to ‘create a better everyday life for the many people’ through its commitment to sustainability. But rather than simply using it as a comms platform, the company has embedded it into every aspect of the business – from packaging to product to store design.

Crucially, Ikea hasn’t changed what it stands for; by folding sustainability into its existing purpose, it’s enhanced what it offers in the process.

This approach to purpose recognises what drives consumer behaviour at a basic level (affordable, stylish furniture i.e. the ‘real self’) while also allowing consumers to indulge their ‘ideal self’ by framing the brand as a sustainable choice.  

As more and more brands throw themselves headlong into purpose, Ikea’s thoroughgoing yet realistic approach surely presents the most viable way forward for the concept.

Old is gold


“What’s French for ‘va-va-voom’?”

Either of these sound familiar? Possibly not if you were born during the nineties or later. But that’s okay; let’s take a trip down memory lane.  

I realise that nostalgia (or looking back at the past with rose-tinted specs) isn’t for everyone. Personally, I’m okay with being reminded of simpler or happier times in my life. Social media does it to me regularly by waving photos under my nose every now and then which result in a usually warm and fuzzy reaction.

Music and fashion have always evolved by bringing past trends and sounds back in a new way. Culturally, we’re constantly idealising the past and the internet provides all the inspiration needed to do so; particularly for those of us raised in the 80s and 90s as we’ve personally documented so much from those decades. TV’s The Goldbergs and Derry Girls are just two current examples. 

Be it a post on Facebook or introducing your child to a TV programme you watched twenty years ago, if it’s about something you love(d), you’re more likely to share it with others.  

Nostalgia is powerful and brands know it. 

Enter, Renault.

The French car manufacturer is currently showing off its new Clio range – and celebrating Renault’s 120th anniversary – with a 90s nostalgia activation. Click here to see the ‘showroom’ being taken to millennials. 

Thierry Henry fans will also be pleased to know that he’s returning as brand ambassador and will appear in new TV idents that will appear on Sky Sports during the 2018/19 Premier League season.

Will any of the above make me buy a Renault Clio? No. But what makes this kind of marketing work are its social media sharing opportunities and positive emotional brand associations; which in turn drive business. (Car pun intended.)

McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Walkers and countless others have been doing nostalgia marketing for years. Whether it’s packaging, logos, retro posters, or good old TV advertising, bringing the past back to life is a gold mine for some brands.

I recently found my old Nokia 8110 ‘banana’ phone while doing some belated spring cleaning. It still had some charge on it too! Who could resist a game (or several) of Snake after a discovery like that? Rumour has it that, like the 3310, it too will be making a comeback. Again, I won’t be rushing out to buy a new handset but here I am telling you about it… 


Creative sparks

There’s always so much to take in during the International Festival of Creativity that I find it overwhelming. Not only because I spend the week trying to keep up with the entries, winner, speakers (and performers!); but, as a former media planner, my social media timelines are always full of friends and former colleagues living it up in the south of France. (That’s right; I didn’t go. And I’m not at all jealous.)

Aside from all the glitz and glamour synonymous with Cannes, I was most curious about the kind of subjects that global advertisers addressed in the past year. There’s not exactly been a shortage of sensitive topics to choose from the world’s current affairs stage.

They didn’t disappoint either. Here’s just a small handful of the standout campaigns; ranging from punch the air with delight to harrowing:

Period taboos
Blood Normal by Bodyform/Essity/Libresse (UK)

Palau Pledge by Palau Legacy Project (Australia)


Trash Isles by LADbible and Plastic Oceans Foundation (UK)

Racial bias
The Talk by Procter & Gamble (USA)

Armed conflict
Hope by International Committee of the Red Cross (Spain)

To see all the 2018 winners, visit the Cannes Lions website.

Note: Look out for #JamesRazor’s follow-up blog next week. He’ll be talking about creativity in business.