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You're worth it - if white. L'Oréal guilty of racism

· Cosmetic giant fined for recruitment campaign

· First big French firm to be convicted of racism

Part of the cosmetics giant L'Oréal was yesterday found guilty of racial discrimination after it sought to exclude non-white women from promoting its shampoo.

In a landmark case, the Garnier division of the beauty empire, along with a recruitment agency it employed, were fined €30,000 (£20,300) each after they recruited women on the basis of race. The historic ruling - the first time a major company has been found guilty of systematic race discrimination in France - saw a senior figure at the agency given a three-month suspended prison sentence.

The French campaign group SOS Racisme brought the case against L'Oréal, the world's largest cosmetics firm, over the campaign in 2000. Garnier France sought saleswomen to demonstrate the shampoo line Fructis Style in supermarkets outside Paris. They sought young women to hand out samples and discuss hairstyling with shoppers.

In July 2000, a fax detailing the profile of hostesses sought by L'Oréal stipulated women should be 18 to 22, size 38-42 (UK size 10-14) and "BBR", the initials for bleu, blanc, rouge, the colours of the French flag. Prosecutors argued that BBR, a shorthand used by the far right, was also a well-known code among employers to mean "white" French people and not those of north African, African and Asian backgrounds.

Christine Cassan, a former employee at Districom, a communications firm acting for Garnier, told the court her clients demanded white hostesses. She said that when she had gone ahead and presented candidates "of colour" a superior in her own company had said she had "had enough of Christine and her Arabs".

One woman working in the recruitment firm involved said foreign-sounding names or photos showing a candidate was of Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian or other African origin would ensure candidates were eliminated. Another said: "I once had a good woman candidate but she was non-white. I had to ask someone to pretend that our list was full. It was hard."

One experienced candidate said she realised she was not eligible because she was of mixed race. In a normal sample of women recruited for similar sales work, around 40% would be non-white. For the Fructis project, less than 4% were of "non-European" origin.

SOS Racisme said hundreds of jobs had been subject to discrimination in the case. Garnier and the recruitment company were initially acquitted last year, but the appeal court yesterday overturned the ruling. A former Garnier head and a senior recruitment agency executive were acquitted.

Anti-racism campaigners in France hailed the ruling. Racial discrimination in employment is a huge problem in France with a recent survey finding three out of four firms preferred white workers.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's new justice minister, Rachida Dati, the first woman of north African origin to hold a ministerial post, has ruled that special departments in prosecutors' offices should be set up to deal with race discrimination.

Samuel Thomas of SOS Racisme told the Guardian: "This ruling is an enormous victory for everyone currently suffering race discrimination in France. It shows that economic interests cannot be put before the law and morality. Companies here clearly thought that racism was in their financial interest."

He said consumers of L'Oréal products in the UK and the US would be horrified to learn about the racial discrimination.

L'Oréal owns brands ranging from Lancôme to the Body Shop, which it bought last year. It said yesterday it would immediately appeal against the decision, which it found "incomprehensible".

"We believe that diversity and difference are a source of richness and we do not tolerate any form of racism or discrimination," the statement said.

The company was hoping for an altogether different type of publicity in France this weekend when it created a special lipstick for the Paris wedding of Desperate Housewives' star Eva Longoria to the French basketball player Tony Parker.

* Angelique Chrisafis in Paris Guardian

Century of beauty

L'Oréal was founded in 1907 by a French chemist who invented one of the first synthetic hair dyes.

It is the world's biggest beauty products company and owns brands from Maybelline to Helena Rubinstein and the Body Shop. In the 90s L'Oréal was hit by claims over past links to fascism, anti-semitism and the giving of jobs to Nazi collaborators after the second world war. It went some way to satisfy its critics with a boardroom change and other measures. Liliane Bettencourt, L'Oréal's major shareholder, is the wealthiest woman in France. Two years ago L'Oréal's slogan was softened from "Because I'm worth it" to "Because you're worth it" after concerns in France that the original appeared too money-oriented.

Case Study 1: L’Oreal Vitalift

In this segment of our MS4 research we will be looking at three advertising campaigns. The focus of our research will be areas suggested by the dreaded diagram below. In this case we will select audience.The first campaign we will look at will be the L’Oreal Revitalift series of adverts. Before reading on watch a selection of Revitalift commercials on You Tube. Click on the ladies opposite.The opening link is not for the faint hearted.....

The L'Oréal Group is the world's largest cosmetics and beauty company,[2] headquartered in the Paris suburb of Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine, France. L'Oréal has developed activities in the field of cosmetics, concentrating on hair colour, skin care, sun protection, make-up, perfumes and hair care. L'Oréal is active in the dermatological and pharmaceutical fields. L'Oréal is also the top nanotechnology patent-holder in the United States.

L'Oréal is a listed company, but the founder's daughter Liliane Bettencourt and the Swiss food company Nestlé each control over a quarter of the shares and voting rights.

More details on L’Oreal click the Wiki button


In 1907, Eugène Schueller, a young French chemist, developed an innovative hair-colour formula. He called his improved hair dye Auréole. Schueller formulated and manufactured his own products, which he then sold to Parisian hairdressers.

In 1909, Schueller registered his company, the Société Française de Teintures Inoffensives pour Cheveux ("Safe Hair Dye Company of France" literally "French Society for Inoffensive Hair Dyes"), the original L’Oréal. The guiding principles of the company, which eventually became L’Oréal, were research and innovation in the interest of beauty.

In 1920, the small company employed three chemists. By 1950, the research teams were 100 strong; that number reached 1,000 by 1984 and is nearly 2,000 today.

L’Oréal got its start in the hair-color business, but the company soon branched out into other cleansing and beauty products. L’Oréal currently markets over 500 brands and many thousands of individual products in all sectors of the beauty business: hair color, permanents, hair styling, body and skin care, cleansers, makeup and fragrances. The company's products are found in a wide variety of distribution channels, from hair salons and perfumeries to hyper - and supermarkets, health/beauty outlets, pharmacies and direct mail.

L’Oréal has five worldwide research and development centers: two in France: Aulnay and Chevilly; one in the U.S.: Clark, New Jersey; one in Japan: Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture; and in 2005, one was established in Shanghai , China . A future facility in the US will be in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.

L’Oréal purchased Synthélabo in 1973 to pursue its ambitions in the pharmaceutical field. Synthélabo merged with Sanofi in 1999 to become Sanofi-Synthélabo. Sanofi-Synthélabo merged with Aventis in 2004 to become Sanofi-Aventis.

On 17 March 2006 L'Oréal made a £652 million agreed takeover of ethical cosmetics company The Body Shop.

The company has recently faced discrimination lawsuits in France related to the hiring of spokesmodels and Institutional racism.See column alongside.

In the UK L'Oréal has faced widespread condemnation from OFCOM regarding truth in their advertising and marketing campaigns concerning the product performance of one of their mascara brands.

Multiple video parodies of their advertising campaigns have spoofed their products and can be viewed on YouTube - search L'Unreal for links to content.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLxQsos1PHQ&f eature=related


A book by Monica Waitzfelder, published in French as 'L’Oréal a pris ma maison' and English as 'L'Oréal stole my house!', details how L'Oréal, a company claimed to be anti-Semitic by the author, took over the Waitzfelder home in the German city of Karlsruhe (after the Nazis had engineered the removal of the family) to make it its German headquarters.[citation needed]

L’Oréal's famous advertising slogan is "Because I’m worth it".

In mid 2000s this was replaced by "Because you're worth it" .

In late 2009 the slogan was changed again to "Because we're worth it" following motivation analysis and work into consumer psychology of Dr. Maxim Titorenko.

The shift to "we" was made to create stronger consumer involvement in L'Oréal philosophy and lifestyle and provide more consumer satisfaction with L'Oréal products.You might like to think of more precise reasons

L’Oréal also owns a Hair and Body products line for kids called L'Oréal Kids, the slogan for which is "Because we're worth it too".

L'Oréal still tests new ingredients on animals, which has led to criticism from Naturewatch Compassionate Shopping.

Following L'Oréal's purchase of The Body Shop, who previously were against animal testing, The Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick was forced to defend herself against allegations of abandoning her principles over L'Oréal's track record on animal testing. She declared, that her belief in the power of cosmetics to enhance female beauty was greater than any concern over animal testing. As a result, calls were made for shoppers to boycott The Body Shop.

In 1987 L'Oréal and 3 Suisses founded Le Club des Créateurs de Beauté specializing in mail order sales of cosmetic products.

Community involvement and awards

In 2008, L'Oréal was named Europe's top business employer by The European Student Barometer [6], a survey conducted by Trendence that covers 20 European countries and incorporates the responses of over 91,000 students.

The L'Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science was established to improve the position of women in science by recognizing outstanding women researchers who have contributed to scientific progress.

The awards are a result of a partnership between the French cosmetics company L'Oréal and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and carry a grant of $100,000 USD for each laureate.

The same partnership awards the UNESCO-L'Oréal International Fellowships, providing up to $40,000 USD in funding over two years to fifteen young women scientists engaged in exemplary and promising research projects.

Claims of racial discrimination in advertising and litigation

On August 11, 2005, the Supreme Court of California ruled that former L'Oréal sales manager Elyse Yanowitz had adequately pleaded a cause of action for retaliatory termination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and remanded the case for trial. The case arose out of a 1997 incident in which Jack Wiswall, then the general manager for designer fragrances, allegedly told Yanowitz to fire a dark-skinned sales associate despite the associate's good performance. When Yanowitz refused, Wiswall pointed to a "sexy" blonde-haired woman and said, "God damn it, get me one that looks like that." Wiswall retired as president of the luxury products division of L'Oréal USA at the end of 2006.

In May 2007, L'Oréal was one of several cosmetic manufacturers ordered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia to withdraw advertising regarding the wrinkle removal capabilities of their products.

In July 2007, the Garnier division and an external employment agency were fined €30,000 for recruitment practices that intentionally excluded non-white women from promoting its shampoo, "Fructis Style". L'Oréal is reported as saying the decision was "incomprehensible", and would challenge the measure in court.

In July 2007, the British Advertising Standards Authority attacked L'Oréal for a television advert on its “Telescopic” mascara, featuring Penélope Cruz, stating "it will make your eyelashes 60% longer." In fact, it only made the lashes look 60% bigger, by separating and thickening at the roots and by thickening the tips of the lashes. They also failed to state that the model was wearing false eyelashes.

The Scale of the Brand

L'Oreal is the global #1 in cosmetics with a portfolio that contains many of the world's biggest hair and beauty products, including such brands as Garnier, Maybelline and Lancome.

It also markets fragrances and cosmetics under license for other companies such as Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren. More than 80% of group sales are generated outside France, with operations in every major territory. Since the 1980s the group has made North America a particular focus of attention, wrong-footing domestic rivals with dynamic marketing and a series of smart launches and clever acquisitions.

Among the most recent of these were the purchase of ethical beauty products retailer Body Shop in 2006 and the YSL Beauté portfolio in 2008.

Advertising Age estimated global measured advertising expenditure of $4.0bn in 2008, making L'Oreal the world's #3 advertiser.


Hadn’t planned to examine the L’Oréal/Beyoncé drama, as others have already addressed it with better perspective, better emotion and better boycotting. Besides, it’s always best to avoid touching a Black woman’s hair—even as a blog topic—unless you really know what you’re doing. Hey, this subject is so combustible, it managed to draw comments at the typically ignored Agency Spy. Anyway, here are a few thoughts from a primarily advertising-related viewpoint.

Contrary to popular protests, it’s unlikely that L’Oréal deliberately lightened Beyoncé’s skin or messed with her nose and other items. The company officially insisted, “It is categorically untrue that L’Oréal Paris altered Ms. Knowles’ features or skin tone in the campaign for Féria hair color.” The company is probably right. However, they’re still probably wrong. Bear with us for a bit.

Technically, it’s a safe bet L’Oréal did not covertly tamper with the superstar. Anyone who has ever produced fashion advertising or fashion photography will attest that lighting plays a key role. When filming hair, incredibly strong lamps are used to make each strand visible and shiny. For example, commercials for Pantene and Clairol often show the backs of women’s heads for two reasons:

1) to display every glistening follicle and;

2) to avoid having the person’s face completely “blown out” (or whitewashed) by the spotlights. Given that L’Oréal is selling a haircolor and highlights product, they undoubtedly employed a ton of lights. Think supernova.

This is not a case of L’Oréal manipulating Beyoncé via Photoshop (at least not beyond the normal ultra-retouching done for fashion shots).

Quite the opposite. L’Oréal should have used Photoshop—to restore the natural skin tone removed by the lighting.

Sorry, but it simply doesn’t make sense that L’Oréal would alter Beyoncé for this campaign when she has already graced numerous ads for the beauty company.

Unfortunately, L’Oréal unwittingly stepped on a cultural landmine, and ultimately displayed their cultural cluelessness.

They should have worked harder with their lighting to compensate for a Black woman (Black hair care specialists are much more savvy about these things). Plus, they should have looked closer at the image to realize the potential issues. Although they were not actively being sneaky or evil, L’Oréal was professionally insensitive in this scenario. Despite being headquartered in Paris—a locale boasting forward thinking—the company is culturally clueless.

Ironically, L’Oréal owns SoftSheen-Carson, an expert in the Black hair care category. Rumors claim the enterprises remain segregated, so it’s not like the White folks would ever consider consulting with the Black sister company. And heaven forbid SoftSheen-Carson might receive L’Oréal budgets to sign up Beyoncé too. SoftSheen-Carson has to settle for Kelly Rowland.

Another dilemma to keep in mind: L’Oréal is working with White beauty standards. Hence, they failed to foresee the damage this campaign has generated. Beyoncé looked just fine to L’Oréal—and she still does. We’ll forgo the standard(s) rant associated with this observation.

In the end, L’Oréal didn’t intentionally do anything wrong. Unless you believe that an international beauty corporation being culturally clueless is wrong. For the advertising industry—and the fashion industry—it’s par for the course.

The above from a really first rate blog click below responses from “women of colour” most interesting

http://multicultclassics.blogspot. com/2008/08/5792-loral-beyonc-and-cultural.html

Remember that survey we did recently on the claims brands make for their products, how you guys feel about them, and what you’d like brands to do? Well ladies, here’s the results. I’ve delved deep, analysed the stats and talked to a couple of experts with opposing views. Let me know your thoughts in a comment.

We women seem to be locked in a never ending battle with our beauty products. So immersed in scientific jargon, buzz-words and our sometimes lofty expectations, it often feels like cosmetics give with one hand (many of us enjoy making a new purchase that might, just might, make that crucial difference) and take with the other (er, it didn’t really do what it said it would). We seem to be engaged in what amounts to a game of cat and mouse with the brands whose coffers we fill. And we’re the ones feeling like the mice, by the way.

We’re increasingly annoyed about the claims brands make for their products. In the past couple of years, there have been high-profile cases taken by the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on behalf of consumers against beauty behemoths like Proctor and Gamble and Estee Lauder.  Both companies were ordered by the body to remove misleading advertising. Acting on consumer complaints, a TV spot for Olay Regenerist was banned because the ASA upheld complaints that Olay claimed the cream could deliver the same benefits as anti-wrinkle injections. Estee Lauder received a similar ad ban for claims they made about Tri-Aktiline Instant Deep Wrinkle Filler.

More recently, cosmetics company MAC were scarlet for themselves when it was revealed that the visuals for their Colour Craft collection were not, in fact, created using the products in the range. Rather, a brand called Ben Nye was called into play to make the lush, colourful looks used for the model shots. Which, um, were what customers were referencing when they decided to buy the products.  And that’s not the end of it: Avon was also been slapped on the wrist by the ASA for exaggerating claims it made for one of its mascaras, and the list goes on.

Does this mean we now intrinsically mistrust the companies whose products we buy?

Not according to our recent reader survey.  279 of you took part, and a whopping 78% of you all said that while you do trust beauty brand claims, it depends on the company. Aha. So, who’s got a good rep?  For us Beaut.ies, salon- and pharmacy-led Dermalogica, La Roche-Posay and Vichy topped the polls. Clinique, with its science-led focus, and Estee Lauder also did well, as did No 7, who continue to grow customer confidence off the back of the highly-publicised clinical trials they conducted with Manchester University for their Protect and Perfect Intense serum.

If those brands are in favour with us then who’s out? Guess. Oh go, on, I’ll give you a hint: anyone who uses lash inserts in their advertising.

L’Oreal Paris fell foul of this particular trick last year when ads for its Telescopic mascara, starring Penelope Cruz, were criticised heavily for their use of additional false lashes. “When you see mascara advertisements you can clearly see that the model is wearing fake eyelashes. I know that the mascara is not going to give that effect and it puts me off buying it,” said one survey respondent, and there’s plenty more criticism where that came from too.

Excessive airbrushing, use of Photoshop, pseudo-scientific jargon and celebrity spokesmodels were almost unanimous points of animosity.

“I get the distinct impression that a lot of beauty companies think women are idiots and will be sucked in by the promise of ’smoother skin’ or ‘younger looking skin’,” said a respondent, with others adding

“stop using celebrities who have been airbrushed to within an inch of their lives and using lingo that no one has heard before,” “stop airbrushing so much! Stop promising the earth – a bit of realism is necessary,” and “explain why their product does what they say it will using scientific reasons explained simply – either on a leaflet in the product or online.

Don’t use makey-uppey science using pseudo-scientific names that treat us like we’re so easily convinced and won over. Work for our attentions.”

It almost seems like beauty companies can do whatever they like, and to hell with the consequences. But according to Anna Boyle, group product manager for the Vichy and La Roche-Posay brands, that’s not the case.

“Ireland and the UK are very strictly regulated in terms of what a brand can communicate, and we’ve never had a problem with consumer complaints,” she says, pointing to the fact that both brands are pharmacist-created, with a no-nonsense and factual ethos.

If you’re still disenfranchised with the marketing-speak of the beauty brands, then there’s no doubt we’re in a brave new world for consumer rights. The increasing reach and availability of the internet has allowed us to moan like never before, and the proliferation of beauty blogs, forums and consumer review websites all allow people to connect and share opinions on a global scale. That means we’re more informed and can make better choices about all sorts of products we buy, not just those from beauty brands.

But what you overwhelmingly want is more access to trial sizes, with 27% saying there should be better access to samples and advice on beauty counters. You’re wise to endless launches and know not everything is going to be the next big thing, so you want to check it out before you commit. “Supply more samples. It is unrealistic to spend €30 on something that you mightn’t like when you get it home,” said one reader who took the survey. “Sampling is something that all brands could improve on,” said another, with a third replying “it doesn’t even have to be samples – companies could sell smaller packages so you could try a product for a week.”

More on this click banner below

Review Summary:

Revitalift by L’Oreal has an impressive website because they are such a large company that can afford to market and budget all of their products accordingly. They provide a strong backing behind this product, but it would be better if they could spend as much time and money on the formula that they created. Revitalift by L’Oreal is the anti aging skin care line that includes an anti-wrinkle serum and cleanser to provide radiant smoothing. The claims made by L’Oreal are that you will get brand-new results for your skin within two weeks of using the product.

Product Details:

Revitalift by L’Oreal relies on Pro Retinol A to allow Vitamin A to be absorbed topically into the complexion, which will then hopefully improve the metabolism of the cells to give your face a radiant glow once again. These products also claim to smooth and soften the skin, and also give the added benefit of boosting collagen below the surface of the complexion. L’Oreal is a well-known brand that has provided notable products in the past, and the Revitalift by L’Oreal line has 11 products available, including the Double Eye Lift, Advanced Revitalift, and the Advanced Revitalift Daily Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate.

Revitalift Pros:

   * Revitalift by L’Oreal is a well-known brand, so customers can feel fairly safe in purchasing the products.

   * These products are inexpensive, and you can usually find them for under $20, depending on what you purchase.

Revitalift Cons:

   * L’Oreal does post the active ingredients used in their products, but they do not give a full ingredient list.

   * A customer will have to use several products to get the results that are advertised, which includes a monetary investment for purchasing numerous products within the line. It will also take added time to apply the products nightly.

   * There is no research or scientific information posted on the website to support these products.

Overall Impression

Revitalift by L’Oreal is inexpensive, and it does offer benefits at a low price. The only catch with purchasing these products is that there is hardly any scientific information posted to support that they will give actual results. It would be preferable to see many more testimonials and reviews from customers who have used the products in the past to show exactly how they work. Furthermore, Revitalift by L’Oreal offers many of the same benefits that other anti aging products do, so it would be better to look for a similar product that would give actual results at the same price. Just because Revitalift by L’Oreal is backed by a large company does not necessarily mean that it will give the very best results found on the market.  Though the website is professional and impressive, it would still be more comforting for the customer to have an entire ingredient list posted before using the product.


Click on the images below for research links

Comparethemeerkat.com is our second choice of marketing campaign. Fortunately the designers of this campaign ( VCCP ) are very open about their aims and methodologies and have an excellent web site where they explain themselves and show their wares. Clicking on the button to the right will take you to the business section of their site while clicking on the banner below will take you to the meeerkat campaign


What follows is from VCCP web site;

Comparethemarket.com had a tough but single-minded challenge: to get people to search them out by name.

Few consumers differentiated between price comparison sites and the similar-sounding URLs were easily confused.

Comparethemarket.com needed to find a way to stand out from the crowd and be truly memorable.

With half the spend of key competitors, they required a creative vehicle that drove a disproportionate level of awareness compared to their media budget.

Our concentrated brand idea was to be the price comparison site with personality. The brand world was built around comparethemeerkat.com – an altogether different type of comparison site owned by Aleksandr the meerkat. Aleksandr has become increasingly frustrated with people confusing his meerkat comparison site with comparethemarket.com.

The campaign has been a phenomenal success, transforming the business of comparethemarket.com. In the first 9 weeks quotes increased 80% and cost per acquisition was reduced by 73%. Spontaneous awareness has almost tripled from 20% to 59%. Aleksandr has over half a million fans on Facebook and over 25,000 followers on Twitter.

This makes him officially more popular than Wayne Rooney and more influential than Hilary Clinton!

Join Aleksandr's following on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Viral marketing

From Wikipedia,

The buzzwords viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses.

It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral promotions may take the form of

video clips,

Interactive Flash games,



brandable software,

images, or

text messages.

The goal of marketers interested in creating successful viral marketing programs is to identify individuals with high Social Networking Potential (SNP) and create Viral Messages that appeal to this segment of the population and have a high probability of being taken by another competitor.

The term "viral marketing" has also been used pejoratively to refer to stealth marketing campaigns—the unscrupulous use of astroturfing on-line combined with undermarket advertising in shopping centers to create the impression of spontaneous word of mouth enthusiasm.

Viral online marketing is now one of the hottest topics of 2005 and the lack of practical how-to information on viral online marketing is mind blowing. Viral ads are online marketing campaigns that are intended to spread "like a virus."

One minute nobody's heard of it, next minute, it's everywhere.

The term viral online marketing has existed for almost a decade now, and it has only been until recently that viral online marketing has become mainstream and the topics of all internet entrepenuers.

Still the majority of internet marketers are increasingly confused about what viral online marketing is, how viral online marketing works, what viral online marketing should cost, and how to measure the results from a viral online marketing campaign.

First off viral online marketing isn't focused on the brand itself.

A viral online marketing product may raise sales or otherwise help your brand as a byproduct.

But, the main focus of viral online marketing is on the creative so people feel compelled to spread the word.

The heart of a viral online marketing campaign is the content. People don't spread the viral online marketing content because they love your brand, they spread it because they can't help but spread the word of your viral online marketing content.

The most appealing aspect to viral online marketers is how many people your campaign will reach.

Each campaign has the ability to reach millions of potential customers which can make a no-name marketer to marketer of fame in the blink of an eye.

So the basic and most important function is to create a viral online marketing campaign that is either creative, enlightening, humorous or informative enough that people wish to share with their friends, family, and colleagues.

The easiest forum for viral marketing is the Internet using e-mail, websites or blogs.

Aside from consulting or development fees, some of the most successful viral marketing campaigns are low to no cost.

Viral marketing can be broken down into two basic concepts: incentive based and attention getting.

The simplest incentive based viral marketing is making a referral to a friend; if they purchase or join, you get a premium of either money, product or a discount.

Attention getting viral marketing gives away a free product or service then markets other services.

Before launching a viral campaign, decide if you can develop the campaign in-house or need to outsource for outside expertise. Viral marketing is trackable and ever evolving. New styles and methods of delivery are constantly being developed. If you put together an offer that is exciting, fresh and appealing, your campaign will more likely be a success! http://mastermind.sysop.com/viral_online_marketing.ht ml

Clearly this campaign is successful about raising awareness and more people are visiting the target site. It appears to be a splendid blend of tv slots and clever viral marketing each complementing the other

The ‘some brands you can't do great work for' myth

If you can do it for comparethemarket.com you can do it for anybody.

We're talking car insurance aggregator sites here. Not widely perceived to be the greatest creative opportunity. Car insurance has always been a notoriously uninteresting subject - a necessary inconvenience required by law.

Comparethemarket.com was a small player in this category where market share is King. The bigger you are the more likely you are to survive.

In a category where market share is determined by spend. We were fourth in a category of four.

What's more we had little that would help us punch above our weight.

1. In a market where name familiarity is key we had a long (and according to research) unmemorable name

2. Our identity and name were very similar to our nearest (bigger spending) competitor gocompare

3. We had no single feature on which we could build a point of difference

4. We had also been one of the last to market

We are now grateful for this adversity (although hindsight is a wonderful thing).  If it hadn't been for everything being quite so difficult we almost certainly would have carried on fighting in the same territory as the competition. It was because of this poor hand of cards we had to find a different answer. The answer, and if you have seen the ads you will understand, turned out to be love.

They are all amazing products

When you think about it a comparison site is really quite something. Put your details in once and search 400 prices in twenty seconds. It used to take all morning to phone round three.

That is why all the brands were trying to say the same thing. The thinking was that the generic benefit is so amazing that if you could own it you would win. A good summary of the battle is ‘spend more than the competition on communicating the generic benefit'.

Not surprisingly the ads were perceived to all be the same - computer screens, cars with stars and price saving claims.

In a period of land grab the advertising ran at incredibly high weights - four major players shared around 1,500 TV spots a day.

As a result, despite what this new category did for people nobody seemed to like it much. The consumer response was consistent. ‘I can't stand any of it' was the general gist.

Luckily the generic message approach wasn't an option for us because we weren't prepared to spend  to make ourselves heard.

We are all the same

Nor did we have anything different to say that would help us form a new differentiating story. The truth is that to all intents and purposes all the sites are the same.

‘You could save up to £300', ‘We compare more insurers than anybody else', the price you see is the price you pay' ‘almost everybody in the country could save'.

Everybody's facts and benefits were the same. By increasingly focussing on ‘differentiating' claims in advertising all the sites increasingly blended into one.

So the first thing was to recognise that we couldn't differentiate rationally. People were sick of the rational stuff and weren't really listening. How do they know if one claim is  better than another?

In any case because of the high spends people by now felt as if they knew enough. They knew what the sites did and that there was a saving to be made. Money saving, number of insurers etc. - all that was yesterday's news.

Our only option was to do something different. In a context where the competition are perceived to be irritating and disliked if we could entertain and get people to like us then we might just be able to stand out.

In order to help convince you that this is a break through - at the time of writing this paper all our competitors are still battling it out on the same generic claims.

A search led strategy

If comparison sites want to keep costs down they have to get people to type in their brand name. Google charge less if people search by brand name, they charge more if they search for something generic (ie car insurance).

With a relatively low spend, creating affection for the name was crucial. Not that easy with a name like ours.

Research showed us that getting people to remember compare was relatively easily done. In research Compare.com (which doesn't exist) was as well remembered as Comparethemarket.com. People would describe gocompare's ads and site and attribute them to Comparethemarket.com (and visa versa). Owning comparison or being associated with comparison wasn't going to be enough and would consign us to being a small player.

The only thing that distinguished us from the competition was ‘market'. We felt that it was by drawing attention to this that we might be able to create space between us and the competition.

Some work that didn't work

Creatively, comparing and market takes you to market traders i.e. in a street market comparison is a good thing. The parallels are obvious.

What is good about this approach is that it plays on market but it doesn't provide the interest warmth and affection that would help us out shine the competition. We felt creatively we could do more.

In any case the answer lay elsewhere in the brief.

Back to the future

Actually the brief was more of a look backwards than a leap. Historically, many great insurance brands had been built on affection and salience embodied in an icon. Admiral, Churchill, Hastings all developed warm iconic personalities with which to become famous.

Its just that the comparison site category had been too keen on its revolutionary product and moved away from what have been highly successful (but very unfashionable) conventions.

The leap forward came in not only asking for a character but also being clear what type of character we didn't want. Sheila's Wheels and Michael Winner had built great amounts of salience without building affection and respect. We didn't want saliency at any cost. We were a serious player and had to be seen to be worthy of respect.

The brief was to borrow from outside of our category. Cadbury's gorilla came up again and again in groups - even for car insurance. Its audacity and fun had stepped outside the rules of its category and provided much of the inspiration of our brief. Although the idea of a drumming gorilla was ludicrous, people respected the brave approach and pure creativity. So although it was fun it was also worthy of respect.

We asked the creatives to fuse the fun of gorilla into our functional product (fun-ctional was mentioned in the briefing). This approach would allow us to reward the consumer emotionally but also allow us to communicate product messages where and when necessary.

The all important footnote

Importantly the brief also contained one small footnote . So small and ambitious that it seems  a little wrong to put it forward as having been the kernel of what ended up being such a great creative idea.

The footnote asked the creatives if they could find a way of side stepping  the high cost per click on the word market (which is over £5).

We asked the creatives if they might be able to find a way of introducing  a cheaper term or phrase into the advertising that could exist alongside ‘market'.


We weren't sure that we had cracked it with Comparethemeerkat.com. At first they were based in Yorkshire and next door to the offices of Comparethemarket.com.

It ticked many of the boxes but research found that the play on words didn't drive the required affection and in many cases was met with groans. We weren't sure that it was so bad that it was good.

On the other hand, the comparemeerkat.com website (where you can compare thousands of meerkats) seemed to capture the imagination in research. In exploring this idea we also found that cost per click on meerkats was in the region of 5p (market was £5)

So we rebriefed the idea to the creatives asking them to create layers of character, warmth and affection. Aleksandr Orlov was born. A loveable but complex character who is desperately frustrated by the confusion between Comparethemarket.com and Comparethemeerkat.com.

As a result the love people have for Aleksandr has had an outstanding impact on the fortunes of the brand.

Aleksandr in social media

After the creation of Aleksandr, planning on ‘Meerkats' moved into another phase. Our aim has been to place social media at the very heart of the campaign

We wanted to create and facilitate hundreds of conversations about Aleksandr Orlov, comparethemeerkat.com and comparethemarket.com. We also wanted Social Media to be the "glue" that integrated and linked together the ATL and Digital aspects of the campaign. With that in mind, it was critical that the Social Media components were absolutely integral through out the campaign and not a media bolt-on. We concentrated primarily on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook was designed to be the place for Aleksandr's community to engage, create and connect together. We are using the space almost as we would a blog - uploading content, pictures, videos and notes on a weekly basis. We use Facebook to encourage consumer uploads of meerkat suggestions (which are being fed into version two of the website), meerkat photos and ideas for new marketing launches (toys, ringtones etc).

Aleksandr is the first UK advertising character to have his own Twitter account. He is an active and engaged participant in the Twittersphere, sharing links, photos (like the user generated content one of Aleks and Stephen Fry stuck in a lift together!) and his daily thoughts.

He is also committed to answering specific questions that his fans tweet him. We have also used Twitter to find real people to appear as part of his new Testimonials page on his website. Aleksandr now has 456,000 friends on Facebook and 16,000 followers on Twitter.

A few results

* The campaign achieved all of its twelve month objectives in 9 weeks

* It is now number 1 in spontaneous awareness and consideration

* Its cost per visit has been reduced by 73%

* Quote volumes have increased by over 83%

Below an article from Campaign magazine by an insider in VCCP a marvel of the clear and elegantly written. Click on button above for the magazine proper

This is the L’Oreal mission statement

Striving For Excellence

Perfection is our goal. We are determined to continue enhancing our brand portfolio with innovative products and to meet the most demanding standards of quality and product safety at all times.

A Passion For Adventure

Our expertise drives our passion for new discoveries and innovations in cosmetics. Each new achievement and each step forward are in themselves new beginnings.

Enrichment Through Diversity

Understanding and valuing each individual is an essential part of our corporate culture. Our staff members come from many different backgrounds and work together to offer a full range of products through varied distribution channels. Our goal is to serve the beauty and well-being of our consumers in all cultures throughout the world.

Valuing Individual Talent

Just as we are dedicated to enhancing the well-being of our consumers, we also make it a priority to ensure that each employee has the opportunity to develop his or her potential through personal and professional growth.

Leading Innovation In Beauty

Research is as much a part of our business as is marketing, sensitivity to consumer needs is as important as is scientific rigor, and know-how and expertise are as essential as is intuition. Building on our unrivalled experience and expertise, fundamental research is a specific focus of investment that drives creativity and contributes to developing the cosmetics of tomorrow.

L’Oreal U.K.

Use the UM (Universal McCann)

advertising agency


VCCP has won the bid to run the Government's alcohol harm reduction account that will launch next spring. This multi-million pound campaign will build on the messages in the Government's alcohol strategy Safe. Sensible. Social. that was published in June 2007.

The appointment follows a competitive pitch against DDB and AMV, each agency drawn from the Central Office of Information's advertising roster, and conducted jointly between the Department of Health, the Home Office, and the Department of Children, Schools and Families. The appointment came following a presentation to key ministers from each department.

Ian Priest, Founding Partner of VCCP said: "It's rare you get the opportunity to work on such an important and interesting piece of business. We are delighted to have won."

Our third choice of advertising campaign is the NHS alcohol harm reduction campaign which concentrates on alcohol unit information rather than straightforward scare tactics. This campaign is being led by VCCP the same agency that introduced the Meekat campaignlIt uses tv slots, a specially designed website, (click above) magazine pages  and billboard posters

Mrs S’ students should thoroughly research this web site,clicking into its farthest corners. They should think how it might be used by individuals , groups and organisations.

Can an audience be thought to be passive navigating this site?

To what extent could it be thought to be interactive?

Comparing this web site with the commercial TV slots what differences do you see in the two approaches to a likely target audience?

Why did the VCCP agency use a clear gender division, to the extent of producing separate TV slots?


Drinking alcohol is ingrained in our national psyche. This is not something that has happened overnight - habits have been formed over thousands of years. Drinking is a national pastime and it enjoys many positive associations: it’s sociable, it’s relaxing, it’s fun and it’s legal. The challenge was not to tell people that they should not drink, but to drink in moderation.

The Department of Health briefed VCCP to begin educating the public about alcohol with the following objectives:

to inform people how many units are in alcoholic drinks,

to communicate sensible drinking levels and

reinforce that men should not regularly exceed 3-4 units a day and

women 2-3 and

to highlight the health consequences of regularly exceeding these daily amounts

The campaign has been a huge success.

Prompted advertising recognition across all media was 73% after the campaign launched, far exceeding COI targets.

Before the campaign only 6% correctly said there were 3 units in a large glass of wine but this more than tripled to 21% after the first burst of activity.

There has been a notable improvement in awareness of daily units guideline figures: from 29% to 34% saying that the recommended maximum number of units per day for men is 3-4.

On the day of launch the campaign was the most talked about story on bbc.co.uk.


These are the ads designed for print based publications and billboard posters.

Comment on the use of colour,the relative scarcity of print and the empty background.

Evaluate the end line/catch phrase Units.They all add up.

Why does the text use questions rather than statements?

Which of the five posters do you find the most effective?

It is possible to research the cognitive impact of this raising awareness campaign by questionnaire and focus group work but is it possible to know if the target audience will actually drink less and more sensibly?

Perhaps this campaign ambitions do not go beyond the informative.

We have been informed about the dangers to health when we smoke but did that knowledge change smoking habits?

Mrs S’ group will be looking at all three advertising campaigns above from the point of view of Audience which involves looking at:

• audience/user targeting

• audience/user positioning

• audience responses and user interaction

• debates about the relationship between audiences/users and text.