Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

How Innocent was the ‘Conker’ publicity stunt?

November 11, 2019

Innocent Conkers

The Coca-Cola owned brand Innocent, famous for its smoothies and juices, is a great recent example of how a communication’s team careful management of a publicity stunt gone wrong can save the reputation of the brand.

Running a very satirical social media narrative, Innocent have a habit of coming up with some “fake news” or stunt products such as ‘100% bits orange juice’ and ‘Marmite Smoothies’, however their autumn themed drink didn’t have the same success.

Innocent came up with the idea to poke fun at dairy free products by creating ‘Conker Milk’. They quickly received backlash as horse chestnuts are poisonous and could seriously harm those who consume them. Although they disclaimed they used edible chestnuts rather than horse chestnuts, people still didn’t really get the stunt.

They responded quickly announcing on Twitter their intentions for a clever advertisement and how it didn’t go to plan, tweeting ‘‘Hello everyone. Yesterday we made a mistake. Now we’re trying to put things right. Long story short: PLEASE DO NOT EAT OR MILK CONKERS

People forgave the brand rather quickly, responding lightly to their blunder, asking whether they should take the conkers out of the oven or if they should use acorns instead.

Innocent turned it into a campaign, urging people not to consume Conkers!

‘CONKERS. Don’t eat or milk them. In fact, avoid them at all costs, creating videos on how Conker Milk isn’t real and posting a fake campaign poster by the ‘Conkervatives’.

They made their message very clear. Innocent’s witty responses to their mistake and reiteration to not eat conkers, resulted in greater publicity than they previously imagined. This gave the brand the opportunity to shed light onto their very real and edible nut-based milk products.

Publicity stunts can be great to get people talking, to draw attention and create news but when they go wrong it’s crucial to handle it effectively. The results of a publicity stunt can be unpredictable so it’s important to take calculated risks every step of the way.

At Fuzion we love to push boundaries and be brave, and have done some stunts to create awareness of taboo subjects such as this Maxi Zoo stunt from their #ScoopThePoop campaign. However we always do a risk assessment (promise!!) before a stunt and we plan for the unexpected.

Innocent’s transparency and ability to make light of a situation, overshadowed their lack of thought and research behind the faux product. While their slip could have been detrimental, the bursting personality of their social media team saved the brands blushes and reputation.

Niamh 

Niamh Lawlor is a PR intern with Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork.

 

Michael de Adder and “The Bigger Picture”

July 1, 2019

Micheal de Adder cartoon with Donald Trump

This weekend the prolific political cartoonist and author Michael de Adder was for all intents and purposes, fired from all newspapers in his home province of New Brunswick, Canada for creating a cartoon critical of America’s 45th President.

This contentious piece has since gone supernova, his third one-panel cartoon on the same subject to go viral in a week.

From Micheal de Adder via Twitter:

The highs and lows of cartooning. Today I was just let go from all newspapers in New Brunswick.

Michael says that while he wasn’t technically employed by the papers he was however “let go” from the contract he held with Brunswick News Inc., and thus the three newspapers in his home province.

All three of these are owned by the same company, Brunswick News Inc.’s parent company, J.D. Irving Ltd. – a huge oil and forestry company with trade ties to the US, wary of drawing the ire of its 45th President Donald Trump.

Trump is a man who punishes those in the press he deems to have taken pot shots at him by effectively encouraging his followers to take a literal pot-shot back. It’s so common a reaction of Trump’s that de Adder recently published a cartoon on the subject.

Cartoons from the past two weeks. #Trump

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These were de Adder’s first two cartoons that went viral of Trump, a character so cartoonish in himself that it’s hard not to lampoon him.

Mr deAdder is well aware of where his termination of contract came from…

The Premier of New Brunswick Blaine Higgs is a former Irving Oil executive, and any cartoon I drew that was slightly critical of him [Trump] was systematically axed. You want to know why I was let go? I wanted to do my job as an editorial cartoonist, and they wanted me to do their job.
– Via @deAdder on Twitter

As insightful as those first two cartoons were, it appears that it was this powerful piece that caused de Adder’s employers to finally terminate his contract with immediate effect.

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The cartoon depicts Trump having disembarked his golf cart at the edge of the water, looking down at the bodies of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, who tragically drowned while trying to cross from Mexico into Texas last week (God love him and his daughter).

Their sad fate was captured in photographs which has further fuelled the fire of debate on immigration in the U.S.

This photo is perfectly evoked in de Adder’s powerful cartoon. Standing over them with an enigmatic smile, Trump’s apathy to human value and dull mimicry of social propriety is captured in his “Do you mind if I play through?”.

Taken together, this is an incredibly powerful and emotive piece, which was clearly too much for the oil company owners of the New Brunswick Times.

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One can only assume that the oil company must have a financial interest in silencing any dissent against the most divisive character in the U.S.. This is dangerous, but not a precedent. Silencing and demonising the press is a familiar tactic from the late 1930s and early 1940s here in Europe. It certainly makes a case for significant oversight on media ownership.

With our own derisive characters clamouring even now for attention from the far right, it’s hard nowadays not to be familiar with their cry for protection of free speech – unless it’s something they disagree with.

It is hard to imagine why an oil company should be allowed such control over the press. It is even harder to imagine how they thought that cancelling Michael de Adder’s contract would silence dissent against the “bigger picture”.

Cartoonists capture our imagination by articulating often in only one frame what so many of us are thinking.

They can remind us, warn us, amuse us and educate us. They are often at the front lines of change and dissent and can pay dearly for it, as we saw in the case of France’s Charlie Hebdo and the ensuing Je Suis Charlie movement in 2015 where 12 people were killed by gunmen at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Michael de Adder, has filled out his side of the story on his Twitter account (@deAdder).

He has detailed his account of the situation and is thankful for 17 years of his 20 year career honing his craft locally. He has stated that while he will miss working with his local papers he still freelances for some amazing newspapers and already had a book due locally in September.

At Fuzion Communications we wish him the best and every success and look forward to enjoying his work for many years to come.

#RESIST

Mark Kenny, Graphic Designer, Fuzion CommunicationsMark Kenny

Mark Kenny is part of the Graphic Design Department in Fuzion Communications, who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Fuzion Design and The Importance of a Great Soundtrack

June 14, 2019

Fuzion Communications, Graphic Design, Cork, Dublin, Ireland

A classic tune may be something most of us can agree on but as much as we have in common, we all have different tastes and different ways of selecting our music.

I spent years building up an extensive music library and had a well-honed recommendation algorithm through Apple, to feed me exactly the tunes I like. I had always had an aversion to radio – partly the advertising, partly an avoidance of what was “popular”.

So, when I heard I was going to be part of the Fuzion Graphic Design team I only had one worry. This wasn’t to do with any aspect of the role, as I was over the moon with that, it was because I knew the Fuzion design department work was accompanied by the dubious melody of a radio.

I couldn’t imagine how anyone could have that racket on and get any work done, because in my book good music leads to great focus as every designer knows, so the opposite must also be true!

I needn’t have worried!!

Very shortly into my first week, I discovered the advantages of a carefully curated up-to-date playlist.

BBC 6 Music is the channel of choice, the chatter is smart, the music is excellent and the ads non-existent.

Within weeks my own library, which was stagnating around 1998, was refreshed with The Knife, Pigs (x7), Oh Sees, Mattiel, The Comet is Coming and the slightly “pretendy” but brilliantly loud Dublin band, Fontaines DC (Coley knows all the words!!).

All of this new music led to some greatly refreshed recommendations too.

It pays to have an open mind and to remember that a recommendation algorithm is only as good as the information you feed it. Read Hannah Fry’s excellent Hello World for more on that.

Sure, we still go on archaeological digs through Greg’s spare circa-2004 iPod from time to time, but when we strike gold there, it takes hours off the day. A good soundtrack allows us to focus on moving from job to job, designing everything from visual identities to web sites, from large social media campaigns to exhibition materials.

With a good soundtrack we can improve our productivity, better our mood and measure our day on the off-beat, to really #WinHappy.

..I get extra brownie points for typing that!!

Mark

Mark Kenny is part of the Graphic Design Department in Fuzion Communications, who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Career Guidance Counsellors should try #WINHAPPY

February 25, 2019

Left or right

It was reported last week on Valentine’s Day by the Higher Education Authority that a number of Irish third-level courses have up to 80% drop-out rates.

The fact that there is a worrying percentage of students failing to complete their course naturally raises questions of student decision-making, and the level of advice and guidance they may be accessing in making informed decisions on their futures. The issue of the quality of career guidance in schools is suggested as a potential significant factor in this process.

This brought me back to when I was choosing my subjects for my Leaving Cert.

I met with my guidance counsellor in school and told her proudly I was going to be a journalist. I was expecting a response of “what a creative and exciting career, young Miss Jordan- go for it. Do what makes you happy.

Instead I was met a condescending answer of needing to follow a more “structured” and “safe” career path. “Study science and business studies for your leaving Cert, Miss Jordan,” she told me, “make sure you can get a job after college, work isn’t’ supposed to be exciting Miss Jordan. It is a job.”

My 15 year old self left that office deflated and picked subjects that were “safe, reliable and structured” for my Leaving Certificate. I then followed the same path by choosing to study Economics and Politics for my degree.

I am very much a case study of someone who is right-brained. If my creative muscles are not stretched or challenged it actually affects my mental health.

You can imagine how much I loved studying Economics!!

I thought college was supposed to be the time when young minds are challenged to question how the world works, and figure out how to make it better. Economics does that for many, it did not do it for me. While I did not drop out of college, it was certainly a struggle at times.

When I finished my degree I decided to pursue my 15-year-old self’s dream.

I would be a reporter. And I was. I worked for local newspapers in the west before moving to the “Big Smoke” to work for national titles.

I then discovered just how creative PR and communications can be, and worked for a number of International Aid organisations.

The experience gave me the opportunity to report on the biggest international crises of the past five years.

I reported on Ebola, as it happened, from West Africa. I travelled to the Syrian border, Jordan and Turkey to report on the Syria and refugee crises.  

I met with girls who had been abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and I travelled to famine-stricken and war-torn South Sudan to tell the stories of displaced families.

Ciara Jordan

I think my fifteen year old self would be proud. I’m not so sure about the career guidance counsellor. There was very little about my career that was “safe and structured”.

When I met Greg and Deirdre, the principals of Fuzion Communications, where I recently joined as Account Director, they told me about their #WinHappy philosophy.

Here is that philosophy in a nutshell: work should not be something you dread, it should be something you are proud of. When you go home on Friday, you should feel like you have done something that was challenging and made you happy. Work might be hard, and it won’t always be plain sailing but you have still done worthwhile work.

It was like Fuzion was talking to my 15 year old self!

Perhaps the #WinHappy philosophy should be shared with Guidance Counsellors nationwide?

Perhaps then we would see a decrease in drop-out figures, along with an unprecedented rise in job satisfaction.

Ciara Jordan - Fuzion CommunicationsCiara

Ciara Jordan is an Account Director with Fuzion Communications, a full service agency who provide Marketing, PR and Graphic Design Services from offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

Note re image above: Ciara, reporting from an observation and Interim Care Centre (OICC) in Sierra Leon, where children who have been affected by Ebola, or who have come into contact with somebody with Ebola were observed and cared for.

 

From a rugby career ending injury at 28 to a global successful software business with Conor O’Loughlin, CEO of Glofox

September 25, 2018

Conor O'Loughlin, IBYE Winner 208

In this episode of the Fuzion Win Happy podcast, Greg chats with Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2018, Conor O’Loughlin, CEO and Founder of Glofox, who shares his story of huge disappointment with an injury, which finished his rugby career with Connacht at the age of 28 to a new career in computer software.

Realising that his rugby career and dream was over, he started a web development company where through his client work he discovered an untapped niche in bespoke software solutions for the gym and fitness sector.

With the help of a Competitive Startup Fund from Enterprise Ireland he managed to start developing a bespoke solution and later accessed further funding as part of the High Potential Startup Fund.

Fuzion Win Happy podcast thumbnail

This business has expanded globally from Ireland thanks to the hard work and focus of Conor and his team and the careful navigation of the complex world of funding with Enterprise Ireland, Angel Investors and VCs.

Despite the huge demand for IT talent in Ireland and in Dublin, Glofox have managed to continue to attract great people to their team who are enjoying the excitement of being part of a place where they can make a real difference.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the link below:

From a rugby career ending injury at 28 to a global successful software business with Conor O’Loughlin, CEO of Glofox

We hope you enjoy Conor’s and the Glofox fascinating story!

The Fuzion Win Happy Podcast is produced by Greg Canty

 

Don’t be a Commodity, be Remarkable!

July 31, 2018

Health Bars in Multiples

Queuing for my salad at lunchtime in the corner store near our office today in Dublin, I couldn’t help but notice the piles of health bars above the sandwich bar.

Even if I wanted one, I wouldn’t have a clue which one to pick as there were so many different brands, all offering the same thing!

A few years ago, health bars didn’t even exist and now they are competing for space at every till across Ireland. So much noise and so little differentiation.

Health bars have become a commodity.

How can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you and your business?

You have to keep on reinventing, reinvesting – in you, in your business and in your brands.

You have to continually give your target audience good reasons to engage with you. You have to create compelling stories about your products and your business.

As Seth Godin says in his Marketing Bible ‘The Purple Cow’ – you have to be ‘remarkable’ to stand out.

Looking at the image (above) of all these health bars, despite the investment in packaging, despite negotiating shelf space, despite “magical” ingredients that will make you leaner, fitter, healthier, not one of them is remarkable.

Why not make it a resolution to ask yourself right now – what steps could you take today to make your business more remarkable?

If you need any help guiding you towards the answers –  I’d love to help…….

Deirdre 

Deirdre Waldron - Network Ireland PresidentDeirdre Waldron is the founding partner of Fuzion Communications, a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Beginning of Our Journey

March 2, 2018

Fuzion DesignRecently myself and Fuzion’s Creative Director, Jonathan, held an internal presentation.

We added a few new members to the team, some of whom had not worked directly with designers before. So to introduce ourselves, what we do, and how we do it we came up with a little presentation.

The presentation itself was not all that different to what we do for clients.

We explain the research, driving ideas, the process and how we deliver our final result – but there was a key difference.

Jonathan had the idea of putting in one slide of how we got into the design, day one, what sparked our interest, what visuals or interaction fuelled our love for design.

This exercise became the most fun part of the presentation, and an interesting insight for each other into our reasons why.

Have a look at the visual above..

I am not going to dive into who liked what and for what reason but it was nice to look back and see the beginning of our journey, to remind us of why we started and even question if it was still relevant..

It was.

Paul Wade

Paul Wade is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Consistency is key

June 26, 2017

consistency - Aristotle

Consistent: acting or done in the same way over time, especially so as to be fair or accurate.

Consistency is one of my favourite words in the English language. I live by it. Do not be fooled, consistent does not mean boring, it means recognition.

Imagine every time someone asked you your name, you give them a different name.

Eventually if you are in a group everybody will be a bit confused. More so if someone calls you on the street – how do you remember every name you gave to people? People know your name because it never changes. The conversation changes, how you look changes but your name remains consistent.

This word alone is my bible in graphic design – Consistency.

All elements for your brand need to marry. They need to tell the same story, send the same message and the public need to know it is you. Every element of your brand from your logo to signage to the message you send needs to be consistent.

Be different, be you but be consistent about it!

Paul Wade

Paul Wade is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Finding your creativity

June 6, 2017

Recently my colleague Paul Wade wrote on our blog about how he deals with creative block. I’d like to share some of what I do to help push my creativity further.

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj

Firstly, in the words of Paul Smith, design is everywhere, and he’s right. It’s just a case of looking for it.

When I teach design to students in CIT, one of the first things I ask my students to do is to start looking at things with fresh eyes, to question what they have taken for granted, and to revisit and review things. For some it’s a difficult exercise, because you are asking people to essentially think in a way that they have never done before (right brain/left brain tasks).

Originally to help myself remember these things, I started carrying a small notebook around with me, and as I saw or found things that interested me I would document them, creating a reference library for myself that I could use.

Much of these (and I have many, some going back 25 years since I started college) are full of small scribbles, found objects and coded illustrations that mean nothing to anyone other than myself, but they give me ideas and help to jumpstart my thought process. Often the thought of a blank page can be the hardest start to a project, so these small seeds can frequently give me the start of something that turns into something else.

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj

The second thing that I would suggest that everyone would do, is to visit their local art gallery.

In a world of non-stop connectivity and “always-on”, taking a few minutes out of your week to allow you to clear your head is a generous gift to yourself, and one that can often push me into looking at things with a fresh perspective.

We are very fortunate to have a number of galleries in Cork, including the award-winning Glucksman on the grounds of UCC, and the Crawford Art Gallery towards the Opera House, both of which have a wonderful rotation of exhibitions, and in the case of the Crawford, a truly beautiful permanent collection.

Recently I was lucky enough to attend a lunchtime lecture by Dr. Michael Waldron in the Crawford where some of the lesser known secrets of some of the works were shared, opening up a completely new insight into these works, and how I now perceive them.

Frequently in graphic design, I like to challenge my clients, that while everything should have a meaning or at the very least, a rationale behind the design, that it’s not entirely necessary that every piece of design should bear its full credentials in a literal sense – ultimately, my thinking is that you don’t have to give everything away immediately, that people appreciate working for detail a little in design.

The other thing that I keep noticing, is that often in galleries, the art is as much the building as its contents.

JLM

Finally, I use photography – or, to be more honest, I use image making as possibly the most powerful avenue for creativity and to force myself to look at things differently.

The reason that I call it “image making” rather than photography is that I see the process of taking the photograph to be the first part in creating any image. Technically, I am a terrible photographer, I have little or no regard to F-stops or ISO numbers, and my tripod is wobbly no matter what I do with it. But I take the shots and process them, frequently (and much to the annoyance to “pure” photographers) through Photoshop and I achieve the results that I want.

More and more I find that the outlet for this creativity is Instagram.

I have a number of APPs on my phone that when used in combination with Instagram. allow me to create images that otherwise, may or may not exist when published online.

Instagram provides me a platform that allows me to share these images with other people, and with the tactical use of hashtags I can build a somewhat curated gallery, available to like-minded people.

My true purpose is that I can create a set of images that have come about through looking at a situation, and environment, a person or a puddle, and allow me to redefine this scene into something that I want it to be. In some cases this means that the neon strip of a petrol station canopy can become an abstract, surreal landscape, in others, it means that I can create a hero out of a basketball hoop, or a pushback tug in an airport..

By taking a new view of an object, you can create a world of questions, many which have no right or wrong answers.

What I find incredible about Instagram, is that once you ignore all of the gym bunnies, the endless selfies and dinner images, there is a community there who are appreciative, supportive and creative.

Over the past year, I have been fortunate to meet quite a few of this collective, and have found them utterly inspiring in how they see things. I have stood next to people, taken the same image on practically the same device, and created utterly different images.

I have learned how to approach subjects that I would have avoided (street photography still scares the hell out of me!), and I have participated in events, from 10 people wandering around UCC pointing phones at things, to the incredible 24 Hour Project where nearly 4000 people in 840 cities, across 112 countries posted an image an hour over a 24 hour period last April.

Have a look for #24hourproject and #24hourprojectCork on Instagram to see some of my work as well as that of others.

Being creative day in and day out is a demanding challenge (like many jobs!), but with a little bit of focus there are ways that you can allow your mind to wander in a constructive way, and hopefully help to boost the inspiration that really is everywhere!

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj - FuzionJonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj leads the Graphic Design Department in Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

 

Don’t Think Outside the Box

May 14, 2017

Think outside the box

It’s a term we hear all the time in business, and especially in the creative industry –  ‘”Think outside the box”’.

I see it in briefs, job descriptions and I hear it said in meetings.

I hate it!

The term has become meaningless, if everyone thinks outside the box then all you do is create a larger box!

The fact is there is no avoiding the box. Everything we do in business and in life has boundaries. There are laws on the street, marketing campaigns have a budget and designing a billboard always has size constraints.

The best way forward is to be creative within the box – Use the boundaries, work within the limitations and show people that you are still, more than capable of being different and creative.

I love the box!

Paul Wade

Paul Wade is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland


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