Shane O'Rourke


Aston Martin Targets ‘Femennials’

The 2016 Geneva International Motor Show has been going on for the last two weeks, unveiling new models and car concepts for the year to come. Now in its 86th year, the Swiss auto show has become a who’s who in terms of car brands, ranging from Audi and Honda to Maserati and Tesla.

The crowd favourite however was the Aston Martin DB11, which CEO Andy Palmer calls “dynamically gifted” combining “exceptional design with the latest technology throughout”. Palmer elaborates that the DB11 is “not only the most important car that Aston Martin has launched in recent history, but also in its 103-year existence”. This reflection comes as no surprise due to the luxury automaker’s chequered past. In fact, Aston Martin has slid into bankruptcy seven times during its 103 years and has failed to turn a profit since 2010.

The DB series, named after onetime owner Sir David Brown, was arguably popularised due to its association with James Bond, appearing in 12 out of 24 Bond films. This love affair between two British icons positioned the DB as a bad boy’s car of choice, but has had negative connotations in the form of alienating a female demographic. It has been reported that out of an estimated 70,000 sales, over its entire history, only 3,500 Aston Martins have been sold to women. Therefore, the DB11 will mark a new era for Aston Martin as it introduces a new strategy to broaden its customer base.

Enter Charlotte, a young, attractive and wealthy female buyer-persona which the DB11 is targeting. While at the convention in Geneva, Mr. Palmer further proclaimed that “when you start on a new car, you start with your customer in mind” and thus “the DB11 has been designed for a young lady, sophisticated and rich”. This customer-focused view was ratified by Laura Schwab, President of Aston Martin’s Americas Division, who affirmed that “the car has broad appeal” and “is very approachable, regardless of your age or gender”. But how exactly does Ms. Schwab purpose to reach these ‘femennials’? With a cocktail of experiential events and personal word-of-mouth.

Even before Geneva, Schwab set her plan in motion by sending exclusive DB11 material to existing customers for a first glimpse of the female friendly supercar before the rest of the world. And, as of last week, physical DB11s are currently being hauled across America where Aston Martin teams are hosting parties for their past customers to experience the newest edition to the DB bloodline in person. These parties are being held in settings such as the country club a customer belongs to, and at times even in a customer’s home, where said customer is invited to come along with 11 guests to celebrate the DB11 in style. Not your average test drive huh?

Ms. Schwab believes that for a rarefied brand “to attract new customers, you start with who you know”, and in Aston Martin’s case she seems to have got it right as the DB11 already has 1,000 orders. Although it has not been released yet how many orders have come from so-called ‘femennials’, Christopher Cedergren, of consumer behaviour consultants Iceology, is optimistic. Cedergren claims that the promotional styling of “beauty and performance” is the perfect combination for capturing young and affluent consumers, particularly female.

This repositioning is supposedly just the beginning as Aston Martin hopes to move beyond sports cars and introduce crossovers and full size-size sedans over the next decade. For now however, the newly targeted DB11 has definitely left crowds at Geneva shaken and stirred.

P&G V Unilever: Who Did It Better?

The annual Warc 100 was released yesterday showcasing the world’s best marketing campaigns of 2015. The methodology of this ranking is a culmination of more than 2,000 separate campaign awards across creativity, strategy and performance. P&G walked away as the most effective advertiser with 9 campaigns making the top 100. ‘Like A Girl’ by Leo Burnett for Always and ‘Smellcome To Manhood’ by Wieden & Kennedy for Old Spice were two such P&G campaigns on the list.

P&G dethroned Unilever form the previous year as only three Unilever campaigns made the top 100 this year. According to the report, while both companies have driven efficiency by cutting ‘non-working media’ and shifting to digital, P&G had the upper hand based on powerful advertising and talkability. Have Unilever cut costs so much as to stifle their marketing ideas?warc-firm-rankingElsewhere, Warc named Ikea and Heineken as ‘breakthrough brands’ as both made their top 10 début this year. Warc credited these positions to the Swedish retail brand’s global scale and international success while the Dutch brewing company was awarded more so for its sponsorships such as the Rugby World Cup and to the Bond franchise.warc-campaigns-rankingThe campaign that bagged the top spot however was ‘Penny the Pirate’ by Saatchi & Saatchi for OPSM, an Australian optical chain which produced and promoted a printed book and app to help identify vision problems in children. This combination of traditional and digital media saw 126,000 parents buy the book, an increase in eye test bookings by 22.6% year on year and a jump in sales of 22.4%.

Responsible Advertising for 2016

The Advertising Association’s annual LEAD conference took place at the end of January with this year’s theme focusing on responsibility in advertising, or rather lack thereof. The summit brought together over 300 leaders across agencies, brands and media to debate this growing concern. In the words of Andy Duncan, President of the Advertising Association, responsible advertising is the industry’s “burning platform”.

Ethical advertising may seem mundane in comparison to the number of brand scandals that came to light in 2015; be it money laundering at Fifa, VW falsifying emissions, or child labour at Nestlé. But when research from the AA’s think tank, Credos, reports that 73% of the UK public view advertising as manipulative, strides obviously need to be taken to reverse the verdict. TDLY has therefore broken down this year’s conference into four trends that, as both marketers and consumers, we hope will materialise.

Diversity Driven

Conservative MP Caroline Oaks slammed the advertising industry for their stereotypical representation of women. Fellow MP, Hannah Bardell, reiterated Oak’s sentiment with her declaration that advertising in the UK conforms to a “male view of what is normal”. Protein World’s “Beach Body Ready” campaign was just one of the brands put on the chopping block for objectifying women through obvious body shaming. Gender diversity was not the only issue however, with Labour MP Chi Onwurah arguing that the advertising sector needs to better reflect the demographic make-up of the UK in terms of ethnicity, sexuality and disability. The problem here is that new legislation around body image and diversity is unlikely, and with the ASA being seen as more of an advisor than an enforcer, liberal behaviour is down to the brand. However, as progressive campaigns continue to emerge from the likes of Dove, Lynx and Listerine self-regulation may not be so farfetched.

Overcoming Obesity

With Prime Minister David Cameron refusing to rule out sugar tax, and the ever-constant Adland debate regarding advertising unhealthy foods, tackling childhood obesity was another topic up for discussion. Celebrity chef and activist Jamie Oliver was one of the leaders behind this brigade and gushed about how the advertising industry contains some of the “most incredible minds” who could potentially solve this public health crisis. The discerning Ribena brand, who positions itself as a “juice for kids”, was criticised within this conversation for using adult guidelines for the nutritional information section of their labels. In truth, we originally thought Oliver was just a promotional plug, does anyone remember the polluted salmon farm debacle of 2004? But, after his holistic input about communicating health and nutrition basics, moving away from simply flogging products and, somewhat controversially, incorporating subliminal messages he may actually be onto something.

Data Discretion

With great power comes great responsibility. Christopher Graham, UK’s Information Commissioner, stressed that today’s digital economy brings opportunities and risks for brands and that data can quickly turn from oil to asbestos. For example, research conducted by the ICO found that 57% of respondents would consider to stop using a company’s services after hearing news of a data breach while 20% said they would stop altogether. TalkTalk fell victim to such a statistic after a hacker attack stole private customer data in October 2015 which ultimately resulted in the telecommunications company losing almost 100,000 customers.

The new General Data Protection Act, which will come into force in mid-2018, adds a further monetary layer to data control whereby the ICO can fine companies found to be in breach at a rate of 4% of global turnover or up to €20million, whichever is greater. However, a brand can withstand financial repercussions but what is far more costly is the time and energy needed to rebuild customer confidence. Therefore, it is not about what you can do with data but what you should do.

Inspiring Integration

Responsible advertising cannot be marginalised. It cannot be looked at for only half an hour on a Friday afternoon. Nor, can it be just a façade to deceive the general public. Can a company’s reputation be turned on and off? Of course not, and thus neither should its efforts to maintain/ become a responsible enterprise.

Former BP chairman Lord John Browne was another panellist at this year’s LEAD summit and claimed that responsible advertising is worthwhile, only, when it reflects real attitudes within the company. Lord Browne contended that responsibility needs to be aligned throughout the entire business and enacted in all day-to-day activities. James Murphy, founder and CEO of adam&eveDDB, provided an agency point of view and insisted that responsible advertising is also dependent on selectiveness in terms of the clients an agency agrees to work with. Murphy provided an eye-opening anecdote from when he took on a civil defence client soon after the 7/7 London bombings but after receiving the first brief for a weapons system marketed to foreign states the agency quickly realised it had made a mistake. The learning point is that agencies are not duty-bound and should know where to draw the line. For the advertising industry to move forward in an ethical way a responsible agenda and narrative needs to be communicated in and out of the business.

What’s your opinion on advertising responsibility for 2016? Leave a comment below!


One Last Sales Push

Whether its parties, presents or parents, don’t let the festive season take away from what really matters, Sales! As 2015 comes to a close TDLY offers three tips for sales reps to make one last push and finish the year as a top performer.

First In Line

According to, leading provider of cloud-based sales prediction services, 50% of sales go to the first salesperson to contact the prospect. Acting first lets you shape the buying process and frame the conversation around your strengths (and against your competitors’ weaknesses). In this case, the best offence is a good offence. If someone beats you to the punch you may find yourself on the defensive side, which is a tough position to leverage. Topping the rankings is all about effective lead generation. It’s not about hounding every lead but rather knowing immediately/exactly which lead is exhibiting the strongest buying behaviour.

Content Is Key

A 2015 study conducted by IDC, the world’s foremost provider of market intelligence, advisory services and IT events, found that 83% of B2B decision makers expect a vendor’s interaction to be relevant and contextual. Similarly in B2C markets, in a survey conducted by marketing solutions company Magnetic, 83% of consumers today want to receive a personalised cross-channel experience. Therefore, what you say is just as important as when you say it. Relevant content can turn your unwelcome sales pitch into a valuable conversation. The key to tailoring your sales strategy is data. As a sales rep you should always be armed with your prospect’s interests and history.

Too Little Time

When CRM experts’ Salesforce asked their sales consultants what their greatest challenge was, time was the resounding sentiment. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. As technology accelerates, so too does access to information for brands and customers alike, bringing with it multilateral consequences for both parties. Luckily, there are a few firms out there, salesforce included, whose sole purpose is to harness this power to benefit us vultures.

So with the year-end in sight, trade your decorations for datasheets and finish 2015 as a sales MVP.