The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Does M. Night Shyamalan Work For BBH?
October 9, 2008, 6:49 am
Filed under: Comment

Baa...Baa... Black Sheep by gotsetters Photo: Gotsetters

I think most people know BBH is a bloody great agency.

Sure they’ve had a few issues in the past few years regarding their level of energy, inventiveness and drive – but despite that, they’ve still been miles ahead of most other agencies, even if their great thinking and creative has generally been executed via the usual suspects interms of media channels.

Maybe I’m biased – but I believe the future of that network is going to be driven by their Asian outposts rather than their London or NYC offices.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re European/US guys are brilliant – but in a lot of them, there’s this inherent arrogance which pisses me right off, especially when you compare it to how interesting, aware and – for want of a better word – humble, their China, Singapore and Tokyo teams are.

[See John’s A[P]SOTW assignment as an example – though he’s just buggered off to their London HQ]

Anyway, the reason I am writing this post is because I’ve just seen something they’ve done that is really good … something really, really good.

OK, so it’s for AXE/LYNX – one of their ‘glory accounts’ – but as much as you may it’s easy to do ads that say ‘turns good girls, naughty’, the fact of the matter is [1] they got the client to buy this strategy in the first place [2] they’ve been consistent to the core idea for decades across multiple markets [3] they’ve maintained the tone of voice to ensure it always draws a wry smile rather than a snort of disgust and [4] they’ve continually developed interesting work to keep the strat fresh.


So there’s this magazine in Singapore called Playeur.

It’s basically an Asian cross between GQ and FHM … lots of scantily clad Asian beauties inbetween articles about bloody tailored suits and/or expensive watches.

Anyway because reading magazines is part of my job [that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it] I buy each edition and this month, as I was just about to put it down, I saw this ad for LYNX …


Not sure if you can see it properly, but it’s basically a bunch of photos of the same guy that all look like they’ve been ripped out from various magazines.

Anyway, underneath each pic you see there’s a ‘page number’ and you suddenly realise they all relate to that edition of Playeur.

One is of a model spying on the guy [see pic 2 of this post] … another features a model wearing a locket that has this guys photo in it … another has this guys photo on the mantelpiece etc etc

In short, BBH have worked with the publisher to subtly incorporate LYNX into all the photoshoots, so that when the idea finally gets revealed, it looks like an average Singaporean guy has had a bunch of hot models lusting/seeing/stalking him because he uses LYNX.


Lynx Effect

Of course we all know LYNX doesn’t really have that power over women [sorry Doddsy] but the inventiveness of this idea means that the brands energy and relevance [interms of tone of voice and target customer] is kept high – not to mention the fact they’ve made a normal print ad work about 1000 times harder than it normally would.

This idea demonstrates real thinking on behalf of the creatives [I am assuming it was the BBH creatives/planners who came up with this, I can’t believe a media agency would do it, despite all their claims to be media-free thinkers] so a really big pat on the back to everyone involved – including the publisher – it’s great.

17 Comments so far
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Look you know I love you in the healthiest possible way but I could write/AD/invent 20 seductive smelling Axe/Lynx comms over a Pret sandwich on a the mother of all hangovers and they wouldn’t need explaining. They would just be *takes cheeky creative hat off* 😉

Comment by Charles Frith

That’s true Charles but this is an inventive way of executing it don’t you think?

Reminds me of the Italian horror film “Profondo Rosso” which forces you to go back and rewatch the film because you’ve missed all the blatant (but hidden) clues along the way.

Great stuff Rob, and considering we’re (well at my work) often being dictated to by media companies who go ahead and buy stupid mag packages (which aren’t on brief) at least this might provide an interesting angle to do something different. I’m sending this to our creative guys for some inspiration… thanks.

Comment by Age

i wondered where the hell this post went!

Comment by lauren

Hello Charles, where have you been? 🙂

I agree with both Charles and Age because developing ideas for Lynx is easier than making a cup a soup but this concept is so bang on brand and so involving with the media that it deserves the praise Rob is bestowing on it.

It also shows how creative can understand the subtleties of media but few media people can understand the subtleties of good creative.

Well done BBH.

Comment by Pete

Am I being stupid or is Lauren suggesting this post has been written before? I’ve done a quick search but I can’t find it, am I out the loop?

Comment by Pete

When hindsight states an idea is so obvious that you cannot believe it has not been utilised before, then you can be assured it is quite a good idea. But what I’d like to know is what Jill thinks about your chosen reading material?

Comment by Lee Hill

To answer Pete, Lauren is recalling that Rob “gameboy” Campbell is not immune to having his future posts apear in other people’s RSS some thtwo days earlier than planned.

To answer Lee, Jill knows that he doesn’t read the material, he just looks at the pictures.

Comment by John

To respond to Rob

Yes it’s clever, but how will we know that any readers have registered the cleverness or whether it’s a case of the print working a thousand times harder and the readers choosing not to work any harder at all?

Comment by John

You can’t help yourself can you John … both interms of popping by on here and being a pedantic sod. That should be the name of your blog, sod “makemarketinghistory”, it should be “pedanticsod” but then you’d probably worry it was too associated with mine.

I simply made an innocent mistake as regards dates of blog post publishing Pete – however because John has no life [and Lauren was obviously experiencing a moment of relaxation] it turned up on his RSS reader and he desperately scrambled to see what insightful genius [read: ranty rubbish] I’d come up with.

And John, I couldn’t give a toss whether the readers work any harder at all [well I could, but I have to stick with this as I’m on a losing battle] the fact is BBH did something that COULD get people to work harder and that’s already better than 99.47% of the communication out there.

Funnily enough that’s part of my topic at PSFK tomorrow so I expect the Fallon “Gorilla” teams ears will be burning. 🙂

Comment by Rob

i love you rob for suggesting that by me reading your blog through an RSS feeder that i’m having a strange moment of relaxation, whereas doddsy has no life. and you’re right, of course.

i would love to unilever start to reconcile their lynx/axe campaigns with their the dove/real beauty campaigns. either that, or they position themselves out of intelligence and go hot chicks with douchebags style..

Comment by lauren

oh, and have a ball at PSFK! and can you document it this time please? charles – make sure you have your qik on..

Comment by lauren

My goal in life is to please you Lauren. Oh hang on, no it’s not, it’s just to upset Mr D, ha!

Will see what happens with PFSK, the preso might upset a few people but what’s the point of these things if it’s all some giant love-in?

I leave you with a quote …

“Authors and artists don’t say they work in the ‘creative industry’, the only people who do that are sad people in advertising – which explains more than you could ever imagine”

Thank you and goodnight.

Comment by Rob

ooh – i like that quote…

Comment by lauren

Yes – so do I – and it’ll be brought up tomorrow!

Comment by Rob

Just shows press can still be inventive.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Sad the ‘media’ guys didn’t come with it given they’re always banging on about how creative they are.

Comment by Rob

good luck today, Rob!!!

Comment by Age

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