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


When Marketing Is Nothing More Ego And Delusion …

Once upon a time, the attitude of marketing departments was to continually communicate ‘new news’, even if it was only of value to themselves.

It didn’t matter what was said, the goal was to keep in the public eye at all costs.

A bit like Madonna in the 1980’s.

Anyway, over the years – possibly driven by rising media costs – this trend died down and there was a greater focus on speaking when you actually had something to say.

Sure, there was the odd bit of self-indulgence, but overall marketing departments actually marketed their brand rather than their ego.

Of course, when social media happened, we saw – and continue to see – a return to the bad old days, where brands speak to themselves about things even they don’t really care about.

Part of this is because they regard social as ‘free advertising’ and part of it is because their competitors are doing it and they don’t want to be left behind.

That doesn’t mean social is bad, it just means the way it is used often is.

But all that pails into insignificance compared to something I saw recently.

Something where I cannot fathom why they did it and who they think will care.

What am I talking about? This …

That’s right, a photo library company is talking about how they’ve changed their watermark.

Their fucking watermark.

And then they make it sound like we’d actually want to pay them to have the picture WITH the watermark.

WITH IT!

Who are these idiots?

It’s not even a nice watermark so when they say ‘say goodbye to cheap-looking watermarks’, the fact is [1] you wouldn’t be and [2] they seem to have forgotten the whole point of using a photo library is so you can have access to images THAT FEATURE A WATERMARK.

And just when you think things can’t get any worse, they use – quite possibly – the worst ever headline I’ve ever read.

Look at it.

LOOK AT IT.

If you hate watermarks and never want to see one again, the chances of you wanting to see an updated, ugly watermark is exactly zero.

Why Photologo?

What was your thinking on this?

What do you think people are actually going to say, think or do?

This isn’t ego, this is makes Donald Trump’s delusion look utterly sane in comparison.

In the World of ridiculous marketing stunts, this has to go down as one of the worst, especially because even if you’re some mental case and love watermarks, the reality is you can download the pic with it for free.

FREE!!!

Which all says to me that the owners of Photologo are the most insane people I’ve ever ‘met’ and I can only assume that the people who convinced them this was a good idea also own APAC Insider Magazine.

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When Brands Are Fucking Delusional …

OK, full disclosure, this is old.

OK, I know ALL my posts are old, but this is old even by my old standards.

I found this photo from an Australian supermarket in my emails and I still can’t quite believe a company would do this and not think people would find it insulting.

No, your eyes do not deceive you, Woolworths Australia thought it was a good idea to print point-of-sale material that laughed at the madness of spending $10 on a BBQ chicken, when theirs are only $9.88.

A saving of 12 cents.

A saving of 1.2%.

Look, I know they say ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ but come on …

Do they honestly think someone who wasn’t going to buy a BBQ chicken will suddenly want one because they are saving 12 cents on it?

Or do they think someone who shops at another supermarket and wants a BBQ chicken will make a special trip to Woolies to save that 12 cents?

I literally don’t understand this.

And then there’s the fact that the cost of producing and distributing that point-of-sale probably added about 12 cents to the cost of those BBQ chickens, so all this means is Woolworths aren’t actually the fresh food people, but the foolish food people.



Plane Crash Marketing …

Turkish Airlines have a history of questionable advertising decisions and it seems they still haven’t learnt their lesson because I’m not really sure flying an ad for their airline behind a micro-plane is the best branding idea I’ve ever seen.

That said, it will probably win a Cannes Gold next year.



The State Of Advertising Is In A State …

I’m back.

Did you miss me?

No, didn’t think so …

Anyway, a friend of mine recently wrote an article in the UK edition of Campaign Magazine about the state of outdoor advertising.

He made many good points – from the fact it’s now been relegated to ‘out of home’ categorisation to so much of it ignoring the basic principles of static communication by shoving so many words on it, you get the impression it’s a print ad, just repurposed for outdoor.

But for me, his point was not just about outdoor, but advertising as a whole.

Have a look at this ad by BBH London.

Nice isn’t it.

It ran in 1997 [I think]

Now look at this ad.

Same product.

Same agency.

Even the same line.

Horrible isn’t it.

OK, it’s not horrible by todays standards, but when you compare it to the ad they made 20 years earlier, it is.

And what’s with that ‘beautifully designed’ copy?

As if a car manufacturer would choose to make an ‘ugly designed’ car.

In the last 20 years, the standard of creativity has been severely dented.

Oh sure, Cannes is out there celebrating winners left, right and centre but there’s 2 flaws in their praise:

1. So much of it is scam.

2. The rest of it is niche.

But here’s the thing, the quality inside ad agencies has not diminished – if anything, it has improved – and let’s not forget, both of these ads were done by BBH … one of the all time greats … so I can only assume the shift downwards is being caused by clients focused on satisfying their ego rather than intriguing their audience.

Which makes me question whether clients understand what advertising is and how it actually works … because it seems they are of the belief the masses are sat at home waiting for them to tell them what they should care about so they can run out at the earliest opportunity and make the purchase.

Of course I know that’s not true and of course, I know there are some amazing clients out there – because I’ve worked with them – but maybe this madness is because clients are more focused on the words/phrases played back in their post campaign research analysis [ie: beautifully designed] rather than aiming for society be intrigued, excited or hungry for their brand.

In other words, for all the research and data we have on audiences, there’s far too much emphasis on what brands want people to care about them rather than understanding – and connecting to them – on what they actually care about.

So to Audi, please get back to communicating driver to driver, because not only is this ‘brand to consumer’ approach not working, it’s making you look like every other bland car brand in the category and that kind of defeats the purpose of investing millions of dollars in marketing.



When Priceless Has A Price …

So I was driving into work a few days ago when I heard MasterCard talk about their priceless causes campaign.

Apparently every year they choose a charity they are going to help and in a bid to raise money for them, they launch campaigns to try and get additional support from their customers.

OK, so you could argue this is a blatant attempt to look less like a bunch of money-hungry bastards, but it’s better than nothing, so we’ll let that pass.

But I’ll tell you what I won’t let pass and that’s them placing a limit on how much they are willing to donate.

Yep, even though they call this program ‘Priceless Causes’, the reality is they do have a price and in the case of their chosen charity, STAND UP TO CANCER, it’s 4 million dollars.

Oh it gets even worse than that …

First is the fact that 4 million is the maximum they’ll pay out and given the criteria they have stated to make a donation, there’s a chance they’ll get a way with a lot less.

Then there’s the fact their donations are directly linked to their customers spending [on their MasterCards of course] you could say every cent they hand over [and they’re literally giving 1 cent for every $10 spent] is coming from their customers pocket rather than theirs.

Why didn’t someone say anything?

Sure, the potential of 4 million dollars is a good thing … but apart from the fact the CEO of MasterCard was paid over $15 million dollars in 2015, it’s pretty shit to talk about ‘Priceless Causes’ and then put a price on it.

I should be happy about this campaign.

I should be glad a financial institution is doing something good for others.

And yet I’m left with the overwhelming impression that all they’re doing is stealing from the pockets of society. Again.



Know Your Audience …

So yesterday – on Linkedin – I found this posted on my feed …

Now putting aside the fact I no longer work at Wieden, the fact is that part of the reason WK is so special is because it doesn’t have an abundance of people who have – or want to have – an MBA.

Wieden is born from a desire to use creativity to do it’s fighting.

That ranks higher than absolutely everything and anything else.

Now I should point out that I am not suggesting someone with an MBA isn’t creative, however that qualification does mean you have a greater focus on business than creativity and that ultimately flies in the face of Wieden’s beliefs.

Of course WK are savvy at business and Mr W is most definitely a business guy.

However unlike many in the ‘commerce World’, they want to grow through creative excellence not ‘optimization’.

Which is why I found this ad so weird.

Has Willamette had a lot of Wieden people there before?

Or had a lot of interest from them?

Or is the reason they are offering such a huge financial incentive means they want them because it will benefit them as much as the student?

Even though a recent decision at WKSH means there are some people who – in my opinion – could do with some basic lessons in how to successfully build a business – the reality is this ad shows how little Willamette know, rather than how much.



Stop Marketing Bollocks …
July 7, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Crap Campaigns In History, Marketing Fail

So I was in a shop recently, looking for a bike for Otis, when I saw this …

Can someone tell me what a ‘Limited Lifetime Frame Warranty’ is?

You can’t have a limited lifetime, just like you can’t be half pregnant. You either are or you’re not.

OK, there is the odd exception … mainly when governments are involved.

For instance I have permanent Australian residency, except they make me renew it each year … but we all know governments never make sense so I’m willing to let that pass.

What’s worse is that messaging was proudly displayed on the box … like they thought it was a good thing.

A. GOOD. THING.

What the fuck were they thinking?

What that sign actually says is ‘don’t listen to a word we say’ … which is true of so much communication these days, which begs the question, who is this sort of oxymoron marketing designed to actually appeal to – an increasingly cynical audience or an egotistical client?