Monthly Archives: April 2013

Breakthrough Marketing | The Virgin Story

Virgin Group


Virgin, the brainchild of the UK’s  Richard Branson, vividly illustrates the power of strong traditional and non-traditional marketing communications. Branson emerged in the 1970s with his innovative Virgin Records. He signed unknown artists no one would touch and began a marathon of publicity that continues to this day. He has since sold Virgin Records but created over 200 companies worldwide whose combined revenues exceed US $5 billion.

The Virgin name – the third most respected brand in Britain – and the Branson personality help to sell diverse products and services such as planes, trains, finance, soft drinks, music, mobile phones, cars, wine, publishing, even bridal wear. Clearly Branson can create interest in almost any business he wants by simply attaching the name ‘Virgin’ to it. Virgin Mobile exemplifies this strategy. Branson supplies the brand and a small initial investment and takes a majority control, and big-name partners come up with the cash.

Some marketing and financial critics point out that he is diluting the brand, that it covers too many businesses. Branson has had some fumbles: Virgin Cola, Virgin Cosmetics and Virgin Vodka have all disappeared. But despite the diversity all the lines connote value for money, quality, innovation, fun, and a sense of competitive challenge. The Virgin Group is always looking for new opportunities in markets with underserved, overcharged customers and complacent competition.

A master of the strategic publicity stunt, Branson took on stodgy, overpriced British Airways by wearing World War I – era flying gear to announce the formation of Virgin Atlantic in 1984. The first Virgin flight took off laden with celebrities and media and equipped with a brass brand, waiters from Maxim’s in white tie and tails, and free flowing champagne. The airborne party enjoyed international press coverage and millions of dollars’ worth of free publicity.

Although Branson eschews traditional merket research he stays in touch through constant customer contact. When he first set up Virgin Atlantic he called 50 customers every month to chat and get their feedback. He appeared in airports to rub elbows with customers, and if a plane was delayed he handed out gift certificates to a Virgin Megastore or discounts on future travel. Virgin’s marketing campaigns include press and radio advertisements, direct mail and point-of-sale material. Virgin Mobile, for instance, rolled out a postcard advertising campaign offering consumers discounts on new phones.

To identify where listeners to Virgin’s Web – based Virgin radio reside, the company created a VIP club. Listeners join the club by giving their post code, which then lets Virgin Radio target promotions and advertising to specific locations, just as a local radio station would. Once known as the ‘hippie capitalist’, Sir Richard Branson continues to look for new businesses and to generate publicity in his characteristic charismatic style.




When Facebook met Linkedin, this is what happened!

This is hilarious!

Brand Manifesto | Make your brand stand out!


A brand manifesto, is an incredibly powerful tool for entrepreneurs and marketers who want to create a brand that “means something”.

Effective branding is about creating an emotional engagement and connection with your audience. A manifesto, is a public declaration of the principles and values of the brand. It sets the tone and the expectations customers should have of your brand and provides a roadmap for creating consistent experiences with your brand at every touch point.

A meaningful, relevant and engaging manifesto that your brand can live by, and your customers can relate to sets your brand apart and aligns your message with the hopes, aspirations and values of your customers.

An authentic and genuine manifesto can help form an emotional attachment between your brand and your audience, and provides customers a signal to their peers that their and your values are aligned. This let your audience self express, through identifying with your brand’s values and sharing your brand message within their social group.

If you’re a startup or an entrepreneur seeking to develop a richer and more meaningful experience for your customers then consider developing a brand manifesto that declares your values and principles and speaking in real terms to your customers about the issues they care about too.

Some great examples of brand manifesto’s include:

Weber Shandwick

We are engaging – always.
We are provocative, original, surprising – always.
We are conversation-starters, headline-grabbers, attention-getters, sales-drivers, reputation-guarders, brand-builders – always.
We believe in advocacy – always.
And we stick together and work together – always.
We are driven by our clients and their success – always.
We are determined to succeed, improve, excel – always.
We’ve always been this way, and always will.
Weber Shandwick. engaging, always.





The North Face




Exploring Europe’s Museums

Museums of every type across the European continent amaze international visitors with their millions of priceless exhibits from all over the world. Here is a list of the most important, impressive and interesting Museums that everyone should visit at least once.

Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece

museum1Inaugurated in 2009, the Acropolis Museum offers yet another impressive point from which to admire the sacred rock. The near-translucent building, designed by the renowned architect Bernard Tschumi, houses objects on or around the hill and dating all the way back to the Greek Bronze Age. In the Parthenon Room on the building’s fourth level, the visitor can observe the temple’s famous sculptures illuminated by the natural Athenian light. Museum visitors have access to a range of visitor services including the ground floor café and second floor restaurant–café with its panoramic views of the Acropolis. A temporary exhibition gallery, auditorium, a virtual reality theatre and two Museum shops assure a high standard of visitor experience in the Museum.

National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece

3209634363_e87423bc04An essential stop for anyone wishing to learn and explore the ancient Greek and Cypriot civilizations from early prehistory to late antiquity, this treasure chest hosts a panorama of sculptures from the Classical period, black-and-red-figure vases from the Archaic era, Geometric jewellery, Agamemnon’s gold funeral mask, as well as a vast collection of Egyptian art and much more. The National Archaeological Museum is largest archaeological museum in Greece

Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece

Benaki-Museum_Gallery-view_3441More than 40,000 works of art are exhibited at the Benaki’s beautiful building on Pireos Street and its neoclassical flagship on Vasilissis Sofias Avenue in the historical centre of Athens. Works dating back to antiquity, Roman times, the Byzantine period, the years of Frankish and Ottoman occupation, the War of Independence in 1821, and the period during which the new Greek state was born, together with frequent temporary exhibitions, have turned this active institution into one of the dearest in the hearts of locals and visitors alike.

Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece

cycladic_bannerThe Cycladic figurine, which for many is still closely related with the magnificent opening ceremony at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, is the emblem of this superb museum. In the main building at 4 Neophytou Douka Street and the neoclassical Stathatos Mansion designed by Ernst Ziller on Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, the 3rd millennium BC – along with other historical periods – is brought back to life in excellent displays of ancient Greek art. Its Cypriot collection is one o the biggest in the world.

Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens, Greece

Byzantine_Museum_Athens_-_Room_of_the_icones_-_Photo_by_Giovanni_DallOrto_Nov_12_2009The Byzantine and Christian Museum, which is based in Athens, is one of Greece’s national museums. Its areas of competency are centred on – but not limited to – religious artefacts of the Early Christian, Byzantine, Medieval, post-Byzantine and later periods which exhibits, but also acquires, receives, preserves, conserves, records, documents, researches, studies, publishes and raises awareness.

The museum has over 25,000 artefacts in its possession. The artefacts date from between the 3rd and 20th century AD, and their provenance encompasses the entire Greek world, as well as regions in which Hellenism flourished. The size and range of the collections and value of the exhibits makes the Museum a veritable treasury of Byzantine and post-Byzantine art and culture.

Musee d’ Orsay, Paris

orsayThis wonderful former railway station on the bank of Seine instantly catches the eye of every visitor. Inside, a rich collection of 19th century art found its ideal home, making it a must visit museum. Its collection includes works by Cezanne, Rodin, Renoir and Van Gogh, among others. Before it opening as a museum in 1986, it also served as a film set of movies including ‘The Trial’ by Orson Welles in 1962.

Louvre Museum, Paris

800px-Louvre_Museum_Wikimedia_CommonsOne of the most imposing art museums in the world, the Louvre owes its fame firstly to the majestic 210,000 sq.m. building in which it is housed – originally constructed in the 12th century as a fortress which was later used as a royal palace – and secondly to its collection of standout arworks, which include the Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’, and Paolo Veronese’s ‘Wedding at Cana’.

Le Centre Pompidou, Paris

tumblr_m4ecnppnfw1rwddp1o1_1280This multicultural complex, whose high-tech pop exterior has made it one of the French capital’s most instantly recognisable landmarks, was designed by the architects Richard Rogers, Gianfranco Franchini and Renzo Piano at the end of the 1970s. The Pompidou Centre houses the National Museum of Modern Art, a library, the reconstruction of Constantin Brancusi’s studio as well as event halls and a movie theatre. The Centre Pompidou was inaugurated on 31 January 1977 . Since its opening to the public on 2 February, 1977, it has proved a huge success, far exceeding expectations. It quickly became one of the world’s most popular cultural venues and one of the most visited monuments in France.

British Museum, London

British MuseumEvery continent is represented at the British Museum which this year will be celebrating its 260th birthday. Its extensive collection incorporates archaeological findings of immense significance, including Babylonian, Aztec, Viking and ancient Egyptian antiquities. The Rosetta Stone and one of the six Caryatids from the Erechtheion on the Acropolis of Athens are just two among the more than 2 million objects owned by the museum.

Tate Modern, London

tate-modernThe most popular of the four venues is also the most-visited contemporary art museum: 4.8 million visitors annually pass through this former power station on the banks of Thames river. Tate holds the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art. The Turbine Hall, which once housed the electricity generators of the old power station, is five storeys tall with 3,400 square metres of floorspace. It is used to display large specially-commissioned works by contemporary artists, between October and March each year.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain

01_villanueva_galeria_central_museo_prado_m.jpg_1306973099Velazquez and Goya are the undisputed stars of the Spanish capital’s most venerated museum. Home to a multitude of significant sculptures, engravings and paintings, the Prado offers visitors a comprehensive guide to Western art. Among its most breathtaking masterpieces are Ruben’s “Three Graces” and “The Nobleman with his hand on this chest” by El Greco, to name just two. Also visit the fascinating decorative arts collection.

Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), Barcelona, Spain

9707802MACBA’s collection shines a spotlight on Spanish and Catalan artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as works by their international counterparts. During your visit to this museum you will also have the chance to enjoy the impressive sight of dozens of skateboards that have turned the square in front of it into one of the world’s most famous sports meeting point.

Vatican Museums, Vatican City

vatican-museums-spiral-stairsMichelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael frescoes are just two of the many reasons visitors from all over the world flock to this independent state in the heart of Rome. The Collection of Modern Religious Art comprises sculptures, engravings and paintings from artists like Rodin, de Cirico, Klee, Gauguin, Kandinsky, Dali, Picasso and many others.

Alte Pinakothek, Munich

munich-art-galleryThe Old Picture Gallery in the city’s neoclassical “art district” is a showcase for works dating from the Middle Ages to the Rococo period. Among the artist represented in its collection, which numbers some 800 works, are Rubens, Tiziano Dürer and Frans Hals.

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Top_10_art_galleries_and_museums_in_the_world_Kunsthistorisches_Museum_ViennaUnder the octagonal cupola of the grand palace which comprises the Vienna’s Museum’s of Art History main building, the collections of the House of Habsburg include works of art, utilitarian objects, manuscripts and weaponry, while Roman antiquities and Egyptian artifacts co-exist with famous paintings such as Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “Tower of Babel”.

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

tumblr_lcewbxNw4X1qzkp97o1_1280This palace overlooking the Bosporus served as the residence of Ottoman sultants for some 400 years and today is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded following the conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror in 1459. As a museum it offers the unique opportunity to get an idea of the everyday life in the complex. The palace complex has hundreds of rooms and chambers, but only the most important are accessible to the public today. It contains large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armor, Ottoman miniatures, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts and murals, as well as a display of Ottoman treasures and jewellery.

The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

ambassadors-staircase-at-the-winter-palace-in-st-petersburgThe museum’s main building is the former Winter Palace of the Russian czars, once home to Catherine the Great, who had a huge passion for the arts. Over time, the empress’ collection of paintings by Flemish and Danish masters has grown to embrace more than 3 million artworks, decorative items and other objects, and one of the richest collections of coins, medals, military decorations and seals in the world.

Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics, Moscow

imagesThis impressive landmark, with its iconic skyscraper pointing up proudly towards that limitless realm of exploration also known as the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics or Memorial Museum of Space Exploration, houses a wealth of information on the Soviet space programme, including various objects and memorabilia linked to the first artificial satellite Sputnik I, Laika the dog and, of course, Yuri Gagarin.

David Bowie is Exhibition | 23 March – 11 August 2013 @ V&A Museum

64150_10151464790043880_1036150784_nThe V&A has been given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive to curate the first international retrospective of the extraordinary career of David Bowie – one of the most pioneering and influential performers of modern times. David Bowie is will explore the creative processes of Bowie as a musical innovator and cultural icon, tracing his shifting style and sustained reinvention across five decades.

The V&A’s Theatre and Performance curators, Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh have gathered more than 300 objects that shed light on the musical innovator and influential cultural icon. They include handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs, Bowie’s own instruments and album artwork.

Opening times:

10.00 to 17.45 daily
10.00 to 22.00 Fridays (selected galleries remain open after 18.00)

Address & Contact Info:

V&A South Kensington
Cromwell Road
London SW7 2RL
Tel. +44 (0)20 7942 2000


18 April | International Day for Monuments and Sites (World Heritage Day)


Happy World Heritage Day!

“Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.”(UNESCO)

World Heritage Sites are natural or man-made sites that define the standards in our perception of the natural world and our civilisation. The institution of World Heritage aims to educate people about respectful coexistence, by promoting the appreciation of different cultures around the world. By highlighting the outstanding universal value of masterpieces and unique parts of the natural environment, it also promotes the need to preserve such assets for future generations and to protect them from physical, aesthetic and conceptual threats.

The proposal to celebrate World Heritage was first made on 18 April 1982 at the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) symposium in Tunisia. This suggestion was subsequently approved by the Executive commitee, as well as by the UNESCO General Conference in November 1983.

The mission of the UNESCO World Heritage Center is to actively protect and promote World Heritage, highlighting the universal value of culture. Extending beyond physical monuments and sites, UNESCO also aims to protect theIntangible Heritage, taking the concept of World Heritage even further.

The Acropolis of Athens, a unique monument of one of the most influential cultures in human history, was recognised as a World Heritage site in 1987. In acknowledgement of its gravity and symbolic presence throughout history, UNESCO has stated that the Acropolis can be seen as the symbol of World Heritage itself: “Illustrating the civilizations, myths and religions that flourished in Greece over a period of more than 1,000 years, the Acropolis, the site of four of the greatest masterpieces of classical Greek art – the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erectheum and the Temple of Athena Nike – can be seen as symbolizing the idea of world heritage” (UNESCO Ref.404, 2006 document).

Admission to Greece’s museums and archaeological sites is free on Thursday on the occasion of World Heritage Day.

World Heritage Day is designed to raise public awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it.

The theme for 18 April 2013 – The International Day for Monuments and Sites – is the Heritage of Education.

Several events have been organized for Thursday at the Archaeological Museum in Athens, the capital’s Epigraphical Museum, the Archaeological Museum of Patra, the archaeological site of Mystras and the Delphi Archaeological Museum.



Once Upon A Time | Vintage Social Media ads for Facebook, Twitter, Skype & YouTube

The Brazilian Ad Agency Moma Propaganda has created an ingenious ad series based on how social media ads might have looked if social networking was firmly implanted in the public zeitgeist of the 1960s. Sounds like a screenplay for an episode of “Twilight Zone” or a sequel to “Back to the Future”…

As part of Moma’s “Everything Ages Fast” campaign for Maximidia Seminars, the ads are pure vintage and esthetically appealing. The taglines and copy are written in a way that sounds dated as well. Twitter’s ad, for example, talks about the “The sublime, mighty community with just 140 letters!”

Skype, like something out of the Jetson’s is described as something “more than a telephone” – why, “it’s a real audio-visual miracle that will put you in contact with a brand new world.”