Bendylegs Granola, a great local brand?

How well do you know your local business community?

It’s fair to say that most of us are aware of the shops on our local high streets – the baker, butcher, or fishmonger – but how well do you know the myriad of other businesses that exist, some thriving, many struggling, in your community?

I thought that I knew my local village, Mumbles, pretty well. However, today I discovered that a brand I once thought of as national, coming from somewhere in west London, actually calls Mumbles home. That brand is Bendylegs Granola.

Bendylegs Granola - a great brand born in Wales

Bendylegs Granola

Bendylegs Granola is the brainchild of mother-of-two Jo Watkins. Jo explains on the business’ website how her family loves the outdoors, how they like to shop local, and how they like to know what they’re eating. It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that dissatisfied with the taste of supermarket granola she decided to produce her own.

Needless to say Jo’s granola was so tasty it caused quite a stir (no pun intended!) making the decision to step up and produce it commercially an obvious one. Now you can buy Jo’s Bendylegs Granola at a range of shops and cafes around Swansea.

A great brand?

The design is certainly pitching at a young, health conscious audience. The font used is often seen on Tumblr blogs with images of open seas and skies, striking a chord with VW Campervan and surfing enthusiasts.

A quick read of the Bendylegs website and you warm to Jo’s experience and passion for good wholesome food using locally sourced ingredients. The tone of voice is spot on.

However, I think that in its present form, closely associated with granola, the brand is fairly limited in its scope. It’s fair to say that Bendylegs has legs. By dropping the granola and diversifying one can imagine see a range of Bendylegs clothing, made in Wales using organic cotton, possibly to rival Howies, but I may be getting a little excited.

Meanwhile, Jo’s got a great brand with a strong wholesome ethos. It appears good and hearty, qualities that ring well with more affluent consumers.

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The force is strong with Vodafone

Vodafone have called on Yoda ahead of the 3D relaunch of Star Wars The Phantom Menace to show off its new RED Box service.

Yoda using the force

It seems that not even Jedi master Yoda can compete with the mighty Vodafone

The commercial opens with a young couple sitting at the bar in a sushi restaurant. The guy is fiddling with his mobile while his partner, obviously getting a little frustrated with the way their date is going, asks “You’re not going to start swapping your numbers over now?”

It’s at this point that Jedi master, Yoda, buts in offering to help by using the force to transfer the valuable data. Unfortunately for Yoda there’s no need. The handy guys at Vodafone have created the RED Box that transfers numbers, image and music files, in their stores for you.


Enough to clean up Vodafone’s ‘dark side’ image?

After a year of negative media coverage for Vodafone, largely generated by UK Uncut’s campaign against the company’s alleged tax evasion, it seems that the brand has turned to the force to clean up its tarnished image.

Whilst the ad makes better use of a Star Wars tie-in than the Currys PC World commercial featuring the evil Darth Vader, Vodafone need to show greater sensitivity to a changing mood among UK consumers as austerity bites. Maybe making demonstrable donations to selected charities that help reduce inequalities in society will generate more positive media coverage in 2012.


Nonetheless, the ‘Yodafone’ commercial is creative, but I think the recent Volkswagen ad, showing a young boy dressed as Darth Vader trying to use the force to perform a variety of tricks including switching the car lights on and off, with its wit and charm beats it.


What do you think?

Muppets’ Orange Show commercial is a phenomenon, doot-doot-de-doot-doot…

Orange have long had an association with cinema – think Orange Wednesdays or Orange BAFTAs.

You’re always reminded of this association in the cinema through their creative short films that remind audiences to switch off their mobiles and let the phone ruin the movie.

I’ve always liked these commercials, the ‘Lord of the Ringtones’ being a personal favourite, and their latest offering, featuring the Muppets, doesn’t disappoint.

The Muppet’s theatre is saved from closure by their new sponsor, Orange. The comic capers of the Muppets showcasing the benefits of owning an Orange phone are obviously funny.

However, the way the film sends up Orange is not only funny, but reveals a brand confident in itself and customer offering.

Ultimately, the Orange Show commercial featuring the Muppets is creative and perfectly executed. I couldn’t stop chuckling whilst switching off my mobile phone.

What do you think? Check out the ad for yourself and let me know.

Virgin, right on the money?

The first airline to offer individual TVs to passengers. Tilting Pendolino trains to improve speed and safety. Commercial space travel. Virgin has a rich history of entering new markets and shaking things up a little, now it’s got banking in its sights.

Virgin, sometimes viewed as the consumer’s champion, has a track record of waking up the competition. Its strong company ethos on delivering quality and value for money for its customers challenges rivals to raise their game.

Never one to stay still, Virgin is entering the world of retail banking. Through its purchase of Northern Rock the company is expanding its Virgin Money brand, giving it a presence in the high street, especially in the north east.

As can be seen by the TV commercial, the launch of Virgin Money aims to draw on this heritage and promises to change the shape of banking for better.


But will Virgin succeed?

They propose to charge customers £60 a year for current accounts, a move going down like a lead balloon among a public with an already cynical view of the banking sector.

Nevertheless, if the new Virgin Money stores are anything to go by, banks could very well become more comfortable, relaxing and welcoming places, with people to greet you rather than the host of self-service machines and telephones you find in a branch of HSBC.

However, Virgin will need to challenge the established banks – becoming the most transparent bank, explaining clearly the rationale for its charges, being exciting and innovative, and aligning itself with the concerns of consumers.

Right on the money? You can bet Virgin will make banking better.