Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Delusional Marketing.

 Some years ago, various supermarkets began to install automated check-out tills. There were grumbles about lack of service and concerns about machines replacing humans. Time passed and people got used to them. Some of us preferred the speed

A couple of weeks ago, the tills at Marks & Spencer suddenly started yelling at users. The first time I encountered this, I actually stepped back in surprise. A human voice screamed out at me in a manner some marketing whizz no doubt thought would enthuse me and make me excited by the interaction.

I did not recognise the voice  (or what it was saying), but over the following days there were media reports about general customer dissatisfaction. The idiocy of trying to humanise an interaction that I'd chosen over the possibility of going to a human till was daft enough, but I was astonished to learn that they'd paid substantial sums to celebrities to animate the machines.

Tonight, I was heading home and dropped into their mini-store at a railway station. I scanned my carton of milk and was assailed by Ant & Dec in hideous unison. I swore at them and a nearby staff member jumped in and hit a mute button that I'd not previously noticed.

I thanked him, then decided to do some research and asked him if he had to do that often. I learned that over 80% of customers complain. Over 80% - surely A/B testing would have picked that up? If they'd done any.

Sherry Crammond, their director of food marketing put a positive slant on the promotion,

"It was supposed to be fun and engaging and supposed to get  customers talking"

"Our customers are enjoying the check-out takeover and are loving being told what to do at the till by their favourite celebrities."

"We're expecting the voiceovers to be heard over 1 million times and would love to know who is proving the most popular with our customers!"

There's a lot of things I'd love to know about this whole thing, but that is most certainly not one of them.


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