Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Make Marketing Bolder.

The new Clearasil campaign has rightly been getting a lot of praise for its clever tone of voice that parodies awkward corporate attempts to understand the youth market - even though they claim it's a parental voice for reasons that elude me. By doing so, they're able to produce what is quite a straightforward hard sell in the midst of a comedic approach that doesn't patronise.

I was amazed to read that it was difficult to get the client to buy into ta concept that is so obviously right. Perhaps that explains why some of the executions strike me as a little bland and repetitive.

I wish they'd been bolder and I especially wish they hadn't completely omitted the teens' voice. To my mind they missed a chance to empower the potential customer and make them laugh.

In the iteration posted above, I immediately envisaged one of the teens producing a phone from beneath the water and calling ths police or perhaps simply shouting out in a bemused, unthreatened way "Mom. There's a weird man in our hot tub!"

That sort of catch phrase is the thing that memes are made of and might well lead to the unearned media and sharing that everyone wants.

Who knows, it might even set of an instagram meme with people reproducing scenes of "There's a weird man in our hot tub" featuring any variety of family members, TV characters or Superheroes. The permuatations are endless.

Alternatively, the awkward hashtag request could be met by the teens showing flash cards with #lame on them.

Maybe this sort of thing is in the pipeline, but at the moment the YouTube clips have very few views and hardly any comments and that's a shame.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Inattention To Detail.

I'm not sure if it's a mistranslation of an ad that originated in another country or simple incompetence, but I've been baffled by a recent Voltarol ad.

The voiceover uses the wrestling term “forearm smash” when illustrating how Voltarol has enhanced the "forehand smash" of the narrator’s wife's tennis game.

Pedantry perhaps, but it’s inexcusable given the amount of people involved in approving such a spot. People supposedly focused on engaging rather than confusing viewers.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Umbrella Marketing Is For Marketing Umbrellas.

A current Olivio advertisement spends the majority of its duration evoking ideas of Italian heritage and artisinal authenticity to be attached to its industrially-produced butter spread with added olive oil.

So far, so unexceptional. But then it’s topped off with the imposition of the Unilever corporate logo that undercuts everything that’s gone before. I’ve written before about this type of boardroom ego-trip, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it actually at odds with the marketing message.

Why do they think the Unilever logo will enhance the customers’ retail choice architecture in any way that their product positioning will not? How many products do they think shoppers can identify as coming from the Unilever stable?

Personally, I’m not sure I could be certain of more than two and I sadly have more interest in the question than the man or woman in the supermarket.

Twenty eight seconds is barely enough time to tell a story let alone enough to indulge in sub-plots. Do their marketers want to tell the Italian story or the Unilever story? They need to choose one.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Make Research Interesting.

Here's an art project from which research companies could learn a lot.

Everything We Touch literally illustrates one of my basic marketing axioms. Don't ask people what they think they do, find out what they actually do.

Every thing that each person has touched in a twenty four hour period is laid out chronologically on the same sheet. You don't see opinions, you see actual data and from that starting-point can construct and interrogate a day's narrative.

In the book, the photo creates a double-page spread that the reader can peruse and guess about before turning over to find a diagrammatic breakdown that identifies every item and a brief profile of and intereview with the person concerned.

The prevalence of Apple products and fresh food rather gives the game away that this is an affluent and creatively-skewed group of people, but there's no reason that the concept couldn't be expanded. Research that attracts and engages. How's that for differentiation?

As an industry colleague commented: "Few researchers do that because they only want to do what they’re going to be paid for rather than what we may find interesting."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Make Marketing User-Centric.

Is it just me or does that sound remarkably product-centric when marketing should be user-centric? More evidence that Twitter doesn't actually understand its users?

It's the type of thinking that emphasises screen brightness and other fripperies when users are more interested in battery life.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Make Marketing Less Complicated.

“You want to try everything and you can do anything, but at the same time, there’s no model to work off of. There’s no blueprint for success. We’re trying a lot of things and we’re throwing a lot of stuff at the wall. But you have to in this space. Nobody has the formula. Now as we start to see what’s working and what’s not, we’re really learning what our fans want.”
A statement from a report in 2014 about the NCAA's new social media "strategy" that I found in my draft posts. It didn't become a post back then because there's no mileage in picking holes in such approaches, but today it echoes the type of prevailing marketing sentiment that worries me greatly.

Overcomplication for the sake of it and a bizarre willingness to admit that they don't know what works (while simultaneously bemoaning their lack of credibility in the boardroom) are marketing traits that I loathe.

We exist to connect product and services to customers who want and benefit from them - it's really that simple and I hope in 2016 we all remember that while it's not easy, it doesn't need to be complicated.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mindless Branding.

From yesterday's London evening paper.

Small business agony aunt Jo Malone explains how to pick the right place to sell your products.
Dear Jo
I have just started a handbag brand.
I need to decide whether to sell my handbags on my website or through another retailer’s.
Should I sell it online until the brand has gained recognition before approaching buyers?
This is a great question and one that many new businesses struggle with.

No, it's not a great question. The writer has not created a handbag brand. They have decided to make a range of handbags. Nobody knows about them. There is no brand value, there is no brand equity, there is no brand.

This is what happens when the words used by marketers seep into public consciousness. Nonsense ensues. You don't start anything with a brand. You start with a user need and, one hopes, potential customers who might like your stuff enough to buy it.

Pretending you're a corporation with a marketing department that's busy finding clever-sounding work by which to justify its existence really isn't the way to go.