The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Careful Of Overkill …
September 13, 2012, 6:21 am
Filed under: Comment

For all companies talk regarding doing things with an attitude of ‘best practice’, the reality is many approach their role/goal with the attitude of what they can ‘get away’ with.

Of course they don’t consciously say that – and of course, there are commercial realities that they have to take into account – however in my experience, many companies would be better off focusing their efforts on simply executing ‘minimum practice’, i.e.: the fundamental elements that need to be done well, rather than continuously talking big but ultimately, always aiming small.

Don’t get me wrong, I want companies to push standards, expectations and quality – creating ‘new best practice’ than simply being on par with everyone else – but the reality is that can’t happen by just talking about it and, as we all know, over-promising, under-delivering is a recipe for disaster. Just ask Nokia.

But occasionally you find a company that wants to push boundaries … make new standards … lead the change … and that is hugely exciting but when that change is married with a completely misguided belief in your own importance – or worse, a completely misguided belief in how important you are in your audiences mind – then you will find you’re on a fast track to potential commercial suicide.

Case in point:

What that is a photo of is a neck pillow … you know, those things you stick around your neck when you’re on a plane in an attempt to get some sleep.

Now I appreciate that money doesn’t grow on trees and people can get irrationally attached to certain things – but is it really necessary to offer a service where a lost US$16 travel item will be reunited with its owner?

Maybe it is.

Maybe people become emotionally attached to their US$16 neck pillow.

Maybe Travel-Blue, the company who make the products that offer this service, know people don’t actually use this service but it helps them be differentiated them their competition.

Maybe this ultimately says more about me than Travel-Blue or the average person buying these things.

Maybe it’s a bit of all of them.

But if it’s to differentiate in the knowledge it will hardly ever be called upon, it’s evil genius [Kind of like the time I recommended to SONY that they should offer 50 year warranties on their fast-becoming-obsolete-thanks-to-smartphone-technology, Handicam. Though I’d also suggested they should communicate their High Definition Handicam to ‘alien conspiracy theorists’ under the justification that it would help them prove aliens live amongst us thanks to its amazing ability to capture every detail] … but if it’s because they think people want – and will use – that service, it’s possibly one of the greatest brand delusions [if not overkills] since Mont Blanc decided it was a good idea to launch a bloody aftershave.


44 Comments so far
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I think you’re underestimating the impact of a mislaid item being returned, regardless of the financial value. It’s not going to change the world, but it won’t cost them much and it will generate the owner’s favourite story for the next few months.

Comment by John

Good point John, but I question whether a neck pillow being returned would make someone as happy as you suggest. Mind you, the “thought” of it being returned might and that perception might be all that’s needed – at least to justify the price premium over the competition.

Comment by Rob

any fucker who would talk for months about their retuned fucking neck pillow wouldnt have any fucking friends. and if they did, they wouldnt after their first thrilling retelling of the story.

Comment by andy@cynic

Nick Shaw did. Remember the flower story? How can you forget, he would recount it to us weekly. Different background context, same emotional impact on the individual. And their friends.

Comment by George

I think this concept falls into the “evil genius” that you mention in the last paragraph of this post. It’s not about the item actually being returned, it’s the value of the imagination of it being returned. Differentiates the brand and justifies the price premium.

Comment by George

Branded utility innit.

Comment by John

Apparently when Ted Baker started out, they had a similar free cleaning tag in everything they sold. In reality, this meant the founder’s mum but it eventually became so popular, they stopped doing it.

Comment by John

Tight ass limeys.

Comment by Billy Whizz

now what were you saying doddsy about being thrilled if your shitty neck pillow was returned?

Comment by andy@cynic

We’re not talking about me. We’re talking about the kind of dullard who would buy one of these things whatever they are. He or she certainly wouldn’t get a chance to bore me with their story, but that doesn’t mean the story wouldn’t be told ad nauseam.

Comment by John

well we both know campbell wouldnt buy it because the fucker only flies free first class wherever the jammy bastard goes.

Comment by andy@cynic

he tells me that ad fucking nausesm too. not verbally, but via brain waves while i sleep. the sick fucking bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

I wondered how long it would take for someone to mention that. It’s all bollocks of course, but since when has anyone cared about facts when dissing me. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Have you still got over 2 million (free) air miles? Up in the air player.

Comment by DH

At least it suggests good service I suppose… and like John says, it might provide a story or two for the one person who actually bothers to phone up!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

bit fucking ironic campbell writes about overkill with another of his overlong fucking posts.

Comment by andy@cynic

Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any way to lose them. You discard one and then another turns up.

Comment by John

kil him?

Comment by andy@cynic

doddsy. mortimer. give me your home addresses. i have some of your old sweet wrappers i want to return to you.

Comment by andy@cynic

I thought the begrudging sarcasm shone through…!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

i left ex #1 on a plane. i do not want her back.

Comment by andy@cynic

I know the feeling Andy… cost a lot more than $16 too.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

they charge you that for breathing.

Comment by andy@cynic

every fucking breath.

Comment by andy@cynic

fuck me thats a lot of comments from me on this shithole. and he doesnt even pay me for making him look good so fuck this for a game, im going to go to canada and be depressed as a fucking fart for the weekend. bye bitches.

Comment by andy@cynic

But won’t you be bathing in the glow of George’s restaurant generosity?

Comment by John

It’s right that our families will be spending the weekend together in Vancouver. It’s wrong that Andrew will personally be spending my money on food and wine.

Comment by George

thats what you fucking think.

Comment by andy@cynic

$16 for some foam. Crack is cheaper than that and makes you feel better.

Comment by Billy Whizz

you sound depressed Billy. What happened ?

Comment by toto

All the Victoria’s Secret chicks said they want me but can’t leave their boyfriends for contractual reasons.

Comment by Billy Whizz

choose one you like the most and don’t give up. If she is too cold towards you, call her sister out – it always works.
Fuck these contracts, and fuck those husbands. Fight for your love. Or sex.

Comment by toto

Forget the this, the big news is Andy was right. The new Apple iphone is a Samsung Galaxy clone, but the Samsung Galaxy 2, not the 3.

The innovators innovation is not innovative enough.

What has Baz been doing apart from playing Apple and Facebook off one another?

Comment by DH

To be honest, I’m not as impressed with the iPhone 5 as I hoped I would be. Feels too much like catch-up without truly catching up. Of course I’ll still get one, but that’s because I’m a tech groupie sad bastard, but Apple – and Baz – need to try harder.

Of course I’ll let them off if they send me a free one.

64gb please.

Comment by Rob

Your viewpoint in this post surprised me Robert.

I thought you would appreciate and approve of it.

It is differentiated, creates emotional value beyond function, even if it will be rarely realised and justifies its price premium.

“Evil genius”, as you would say, at its very best.

Comment by Lee Hill

I’ve just seen that you mentioned all of these things in the very last paragraph of your post. That reassures me you are still the Robert I rate so highly. That will teach me to try and speed read your posts.

By the way, your Sony ideas were far more devious than the returnable neck pillow. More enjoyable to read as well.

Comment by Lee Hill

Thanks. I think.

And yes, when you put it that way, I’m surprised I wrote the idea off as well. Must have been asleep when I wrote it – or, more probable – had some sleep and so my brain had no idea what it was going on about. As usual.

Comment by Rob

What if they just like to have a valid reason to keep track of their customers this way? Anybody willing to pay 16$ on a piece of foam is good to have on file.

Comment by Paul

Good point, but I do think we might all be putting too much thought into this than actually happened.

That doesn’t mean it’s wrong, but it might be the sort of thing that results in creating a divide between society and the boardroom.

Comment by Rob

You started it.

Comment by John

Sadly, yes I did.

Comment by Rob

I love how people’s viewpoints seem to go:

“That’s stupid… although I suppose…. but it is ridiculous….”

Comment by Rob Mortimer

And that’s just mine!

Comment by Rob

Or the Burger King bag that describes the “food experience”. Pull-eaze. Another good example of the same bullshit.

Comment by Julieta




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