Archive for the 'Vivid Köln' Category


The City maketh the culture

If you’re very blunt cities are just a collection of buildings, roads and infrastructure where people happen to live and work; they’re essentially just a theatrical backdrop to the daily dramas of each individual’s life – but I like to think they’re more than that.

Cities aren’t just backdrops, they define cultures and movement, some much more so than others. For years certain cities have grabbed their denizens and shown them the lights, whether it be London, Berlin, Köln, New York, Paris or Florence the greatest artistic, political and cultural movements have sprung forth from the cities that spin their inhabitants like whirling dervishes into creative thought and action.

Take the naturalistic beauty of Florence; this is a city that has inspired generations of not just artists, but real masters. You think of Florence and you think of the whole Florentine School cabal which – amongst others – gave us Donatello, Botticelli, Masaccio and Michelangelo; and to this day artists flock to Florence to be inspired, to take in the winsome tuscan countryside, the exquisite architecture and the delicate palette of colours, smells and tastes that float through every Florentine street and piazza.

Or consider the roaring seething orgy that still is Berlin – through generations this city has inspired biting satire, political activism and an art scene that could only be described as brutally honest portrayals of the world around them. Politically this is the city that saw the rise of Communism and National Socialism in the 30s, during the cold war it saw political activism like nowhere else with a plethora of strong protest groups and even today real dissent and anti-government feeling ferments with activists still keeping Angela Merkel’s coalition quite firmly on its toes. Artistically, this political melting pot drives the art scene, from the vicious social commentary of George Grosz or Kathe Kollwitz to the glorious revelry in the debauchery of the cocaine fuelled metrosexual nightclubs as portrayed by Otto Dix; and more recently the free-wheeling poor but sexy Berlin as captured so marvellously in my opinion in the joyous canvases of Ann-Kristin Hamm.

London again twists its inhabitants, the driving ever-changing scene in London opens new doors every day; one person’s crap is another person’s treasure, from the decaying East End of the 1980   that inspired the mega-canvases of multi-cultural faces in Gilbert & Georges seminal work ‘Are you angry, or are you bored’ to the gawking polemic on Britain’s celebrity obsessed culture embodied so well in Damien Hirst’s ‘For the love of God’ (better known as the diamond encrusted skull). Over and over again London like Florence or Berlin has allowed a level of expression that no other city in its shadow could foster. It’s taken in the waifs and strays and given them a canvas to play with: and that – that – is why we love our cities.

Vivid London – it’s not just a name: it defines us, the city we’re based in hones our approach. Life should be Vivid, and London inspires us. It truly is a vivid city; the cultures, languages, art, theatre, cinema, architecture, the whole simmering mass is exciting to be in – and because of that creative thought thrives.


German – The ‘Language of Ideas’

Guido Westerwelle, Germany’s Foreign Minister, is often lampooned for his distinct lack of finesse when speaking English. His political rivals often argue that his linguistic skills are not befitting those of a foreign minister. Amongst the social media public Westerwelle is infamous: A group that mistranslates German press articles in to his vernacular has almost 50,000 fans on Facebook.

It should come as no surprise then, that Mr Westerwelle recently launched the “German – the language of ideas” campaign. It highlights the strength of the German language with events running at Goethe Instituten around the world and counts some of Germany’s most prolific authors amongst its patrons.

We agree; German is a strong contender for the title of ‘the language of ideas’. Of themselves, Germans talk of their nation as being that of the Dichter und Denker (poets and thinkers) – It’s a fair point. Where would we be without Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Immanuel Kant, or Bertoldt von Brecht? Even if you’re not a fan of these, you won’t be able to deny the impact that German writers, philosophers and have had on European and world thought.

We’re commited to having an impact on the European media scene – that’s why our team is largely bilingual, and why we pride ourselves on integrated campaigns that are tailored to specific cultures.

To find out how we can make German the language of your ideas, contact us today!


Sincerity is the key to social media

Product placement can be highly beneficial to a brand. It can also be amazingly damaging. Striking the balance between these two extremes is where your PR agency comes in: Trust the specialists to avoid the pitfalls of what can be a highly controversial practice.

This controversy doesn’t just emanate from consumer groups or broadcast regulators. The PR and advertising industries in the UK have been left reeling against the British government’s recent decision to ‘blacklist’ some products from any product placement whatsoever. Many agencies argue that the practice is ‘self-regulated’. Products on this ‘blacklist’ would usually not be placed anyway, out of fear of a viewer and consumer backlash. This inevitably would lead to negative PR.

Our UK readers may be surprised to learn that a similar discussion is raging amongst German PR’s – albeit with different battle lines.

Social media as a PR tool is new to Germany. Our clients at Vivid Köln are wide-eyed when we talk about the possibilities that direct engagement offers. They’re excited when we report back on their social media campaigns. But for most German companies, social media is still the ‘undiscovered country’. Some firms and agencies are using this to their advantage by jettisoning all of the best-practice knowledge gained in their home markets.

Bad practices are causing a PR controversy. Alexander Güttler, president of the Gesellschaft der Public Relations Agenturen (Association of PR Agencies) spoke out against covert pay-per-endorsement bloggers last week: “If you’re placing a product in a positive light, because you’re being paid to do so, you’re a professional undertaking PR.”

In context, Güttler made this assertion after outlining a ‘Code of Conduct for Online PR’ that the GPRA intends to enforce. The Association wants the financial relationships between influential bloggers and companies to be fully disclosed.

Güttler argues that if you’re receiving payment for your endorsement, then readers should know this, and you should be subject to a professional code of conduct. The German blogosphere retorts that they are private people and not covered by a professional code.

We’re back to self-regulation: Bloggers are covered by a code of conduct, and not one that needs to be enforced by a third party. Social media is by it’s very nature a discussion, between bloggers, publics, and companies.

If a blogger continually endorses products that fail to meet expectations, they lose their audience. If they consistently evangelise a brand only because they are being paid to do so, their audience will pick up on their insincerity, and leave.

There is no reason that they shouldn’t disclose their financial support – I’d argue that their audience would appreciate the honesty and still be open to what they have to say. The nightmare scenario for any media producer, blogger or traditional, is insincerity coming to light. It ruins your reputation instantly. And when you’re a blogger, your reputation is really all you have.

German bloggers beware – be upfront about your cash, or risk losing your hard-earned audience.

The GRPA’s draft ‘Online Code of Conduct’ will be released on 26 February.


Advertising in Supermarkets: Britain and German

Luisa joined Vivid London as an intern a month ago to gain new media new media skills. We asked her to compare an aspect of our work that she would experience in her daily life. She chose point of sale promotions in the UK and Germany. Read on!

Special offers versus consistent value for money

Beer, bratwursts and sauerkraut. Sausage, beans, and mash.

If you’re talking about cultural differences, a good place to start is the food we eat every day. Across Europe, supermarkets have become the main source of the food we eat – but that food, and the way it’s promoted and advertised, is still vastly different.

You could say that I’m in the perfect position to notice these differences. I’m from Germany originally, where I’m studying for a degree in commercial communications, but I’ve just started an Internship at Vivid London.

To highlight the differences I’ve noticed, why don’t we take a short trip through a German and a British supermarket?

The main thing you’d notice in a German supermarket would be the fruit and vegetables section. It’s often arranged like a market stall. Each product comes in a ‘normal’ and an ‘organic’ variety. Customers move through the shop slowly, in an anti-clockwise direction.

In Britain, the main thing I noticed was the forest of gaudy yellow signs pointing out this week’s special offers, which confused me at first. I wasn’t used to seeing these blatant ‘buy me’ messages everywhere! On top of that I had to constantly fight my conscience: We don’t have as much junk food in Germany!

Supermarkets are crowded in Britain. This was quite a shock for me: Briton’s are famous the world over for their good manners and affinity for queuing. It’s true; queues are very ordered in the UK, but this order doesn’t carry through to the rest of the shop, with people chaotically rushing through narrow aisles in every direction!

In Germany, it’s normal nowadays for even the most senior of executives to go to a so-called ‘discount’ supermarket with no shame. They may buy their ‘special products’ from a branded chain, but people of all income levels can be found browsing the shelves at their local Aldi, Lidl or Netto.

This isn’t the case in Britain. Campaigns calling for the middle class to ‘change their supermarket, not their lifestyle’ have been less successful: Waitrose and Marks & Spencer still compete for the ‘premium pound’.

There are certainly product differences (It would be hard to convince a German to buy baby food in a tin!), but the overwhelming contrast is promotional: German’s focus on consistent ‘good value’; Briton’s expect ‘buy one, get one free’ offers.

The choice is yours – check out each country’s supermarkets and pick the style you prefer. For me, it would be a mix between the two models.


German Trade and Industry welcomes Vivid London

Things are picking up at Vivid Köln: A month after the informal opening of our new branch, we’ve got staff on the ground ready to go! We’re feeling very welcome in Vivid’s second home, not least because we’ve been officially welcomed by the Germany Trade and Invest!


Vivid Köln in DesignWeek

Our Köln office opens officially on 5th February, but we’ve already received some good coverage. Check out the article in DesignWeek!


Our new website

We’ve been quietly working away over the past few days on a project that we’re really excited about. So excited that we’re now ready to shout it out.

Our new website launched in the early hours of this morning, and reflects both the historical evolution of the firm, as well as the vivid portfolio of clients we service.

Check it out at now!

Who we are

We can be discreet or highly vocal, stylish but cost-effective. Always fresh and successful, we offer vibrant marcoms solutions.

Visit us:

Things we tweet


%d bloggers like this: