Sponsorship Ructions, Net Neutrality and a Graphic Design Win

WW1 soldiers in a muddy trenchThe Sainsbury’s ad causes ructions. Another crucial step has been taken towards protecting net neutrality. And graphic design’s profile gets a credibility boost courtesy of Australia’s Bureau of Statistics.

3 cool bits of marketing news

If you’re in marketing, you’re living in particularly exciting times… here are my favourite bits of marketing news for November.   

Does Sainsbury’s Christmas advert lack compassion?

Are you uncomfortable about ‘The Sainsbury’s advert’? Apart from the saccharine way they’ve portrayed the sheer horror of the First World War, the sponsorship aspect has completely overtaken the cause. Sainsbury’s appears first in the credits list with the charity, The Royal British Legion, mentioned in second place. Which feels disrespectful.
If I was Sainsbury’s I’d be a bit more sensitive, putting myself second. Do they really care about the charity’s aims and the people it serves? It doesn’t feel like it, and feelings are pretty important in this context.
I wonder what my Great Granddad, Frank Hutchinson, would have felt about  supermarket harnessing his soul-destroying Somme experiences to sell food and FMCG? He survived WW1 to lead a long and happy life in Scruton, one of the few ‘Thankful Villages’ to which every soldier returned safely. I owe him my life, as do my mum and gran. He deserves better than Sainsbury’s sugary efforts which, underneath the gloss and high production values, don’t seem particularly compassionate.
I just hope the charity benefits as much as the supermarket. It’d be interesting to know.

Happy news for a neutral internet

At long last, the big political guns are coming out in favour of a neutral internet. Barack Obama has asked the US Federal Communications Commission to adopt rules in support of net neutrality, the idea that all the data on the web is treated equally.
Net neutrality means ISPs won’t be allowed to charge for preferential access and could even see them reclassified. Instead of being treated as ‘information services’ they might become ‘public utilities’, forced to provide internet access in the same way as water and energy companies. And as such they’ll come under regulation.
If it becomes law, the ruling means ISPs won’t be able to speed up, slow down or block  connections to any online service, or charge for priority services at the expense of people and businesses with shallower pockets.

Plain packaging does reduce shelf-appeal

If you don’t appreciate the considerable power and influence of graphic design, it’s time to think again. Here’s some proof. The Australian Bureau of Statistics says their revolutionary cigarette packaging experiment has borne fruit.
Apparently in the first quarter of 2014, tobacco consumption in the country hit an all-time low. It looks like plain fag packets have indeed slashed the appeal of ciggies, to the dismay of the tobacco industry. It’s also great news for graphic designers, whose credibility has probably enjoyed a huge boost. If you’re thinking about cutting corners on graphic design, you might want to think again!

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