When brands play the lottery.

on Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Finger crossed. Via

The lottery. Something that takes place on numerous occasions during the week and something that 1000's of people participate in. For what? Essentially a quick fix to their problems, you don't need worry about the bills or any of life’s other problems if you win it. You can make a lot of money quickly; after all, the draw takes seconds. The main problem however is that usually only one person wins, for the rest it's as the image indicates; it's about crossing their fingers for the following week. 

Now, not everyone plays the lottery. There are other ways to get a yacht, a villa in an exotic location and some really nice sports cars. However, this takes a lot longer, a lot more work and can be more of a risk then  £1. But who wants to do that?! Surely it is easier to put your money into a short term gain and hope for the best? You would think that wouldn’t you.

Being a advertising-y blog, I suppose I have to relate this to brands and show why it doesn't work. So here it is:

Often brands are in a position where not a lot is going right for them or they need a boost to their bottom line. So they take a gamble, obviously it costs a lot more than a £1 in this situation but essentially they are after the same result. Something that will elevate them from their current situation in a short period of time
picture via  

A great example is Starbucks. A while back they bought out an instant coffee brand. This was done to grow Starbucks sales. Now, when you consider the whole point of going to Starbucks is to get a good coffee, surely instant coffee would damage the brand in the eyes of the consumer. 

Instead of looking for ways to solve their core problems they continue to damage the brand by looking for a short term fix. Starbucks sales aren't suffering because people are buying instant coffee - they are suffering because Starbucks is expensive! They need to address this issue instead of gambling and hoping it works out. This is a recent attempt by Starbuck's. Much the same as the instant coffee idea in my opinion....  

Brands need to realise that by l utilising these quick fix tactics for short term profit they are damaging their brand in the eyes of the consumer. If not in the present then definitely in the long run. Instead they need to focus on your core problems, improve their brands offering and understand the people who interact with their brand. 

I'm now off to buy my lottery ticket ;)  


Henry? That guy who...

on Monday, November 23, 2009

I've been busy the last few days so this post is a bit late in terms of writing. However it has been going around my head for a couple of days.

Now, the dust is beginning to settle on the Henry handball situation. One of the debates I have had with several of my friends is if this is what Henry will now be remembered for.

I refer back to the old story of service. If you get great service in a restaurant every time for a 100 visits, you may tell the odd person. However, if you get terrible service just the once, you tell ten people, who then tell ten people etc etc. Basically, one bad deed can ruin a brands reputation for good, people may never trust/use that brands product or service again. It also creates a knock on effect as people tell their peers.

Now, does this work in terms of brand Henry? Of course it does. Sure, he scored some screamers; he won the Premier league title and the world cup. He was once arguably the best player in the Premiership. However, the handball is without a doubt the most negative aspect of his career. Unfortunately for Henry it is extremely likely this is what people will talk about when they mention his name in years to come. Don't believe me? What is the first thing you think of when I say Maradona? Thought so.


Challenge the big guy!

on Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Like many around the world I tuned in to see David Haye take on the giant, Nikolai Valuev. Haye was speedy, stuck to his tactics and placed his shots. Valuev did little or nothing, slow to react, threw the odd punch and ultimately hoped his sheer size would win the fight for him.

Now, I will be honest, I was surprised Haye won. He didn't really land many punches apart from one big one in the final round but he did something Valuev didn't do. He showed heart, confidence and dared to stand toe to toe with the big man.

It made me think about the market place that many brands operate in. They won't compete head on with the big market leader, the sheer dominance and size of the leader brand scares them, after all one blow could, in a sense could knock them out. So, instead they follow the leader brands footsteps and do little or nothing to take its customers.

What they should do instead is exploit the leader brands weaknesses. Be nimble and take risks. Larger corporations are slower to react to trends, less likely to take risks and in many markets will coast along as they don't think anyone call challenge their dominance. A great example is Virgin.Virgin Atlantic had less than a fifth of BA's marketing budget but, thanks to its aggressive and provocative advertising - as well as Sir Richard Branson's fondness for PR stunts - the challenger airline now has a high profile.

So, take one out of David Haye's book. Take on the big guys, they aren't as scary as they look. Even how hairy they are!


What makes a good planner? All in 140 characters please...

on Monday, November 02, 2009

Redscout’s SPUR video series is something of great interest to me and many others, I'm sure. Being a young planner "wannabe" it's interesting to see how experienced practitioners view the world of planning and how they think it will shape up in the future. I'm looking forward to future editions of the video series.  

Here's a something I found particularly interesting:

"Planning was conceived as the thinking behind creativity. But the conventional planner has become a caricature: thinking in an ivory tower and post-rationalizing the doing of others. But today – as the industry, agency, and world-at-large have evolved – the definition of planning, and its future, is unclear."

Building on this thought, I recently asked some planners on twitter for their views on "what makes a good planner?” all in 140 characters. All the responses that I recieve will be added to this blog post, as and when I recieve them.....

All other responses are also welcome :) 

Armano  "Curiosity, excellent communication skills, an analytical mind, creative spirit and the ability to detect and synthesize patterns"

markhadfield "A good Planner is being able to provide more than 1 answer to this question, but throwing out the wrong ones and keeping the best." "(and to always have the last word. ;-) )"

jasonlonsdale "A great planner should be the trusted provocateur: strategically robust yet creatively inspiring; laser-focused yet open-minded"

Will_Humphrey "A good planner has the same qualities as a chinese finger trap."

FamousRob  "There is rarely one 'correct' answer, but a great planner helps focus the thinking and creative work as close to it as possible."

katylindemann  "A good planner should be interested as well as interesting, have an insatiable curiosity, and able to make the complex appear simple."

theplanninglab "A respectable planner combines strategic + creative excellence, and a positive can-do attitude with as little bullshit as possible."

VicHoon "Speaking as someone who works for planners, the most successful ones are curious polymath critical thinkers with an ability to wing it."

Manuel Stolte "a good planner feels and thinks like consumers and has the lead in knowledge of human nature..."

GabrielRossi "Understanding that marketing is a way of thinking rather than just a set of tools. Planning is jut part of the equation."

tarik "Passionate by people and their behaviors. Not afraid to cut the crap and fancy to please the only one opinion that matters: Consumer’s"

paulisakson  " Furious curiosity, endless empathy, intelligent intuition, acute insightfulness and a fierce loathing for the status quo."

bud_caddell "A healthy ignorance of business as usual, little to no reverence for the past, and a desperate need to build the future."

johngriffiths7  "Someone who can find the shortest path between insight and execution and prevents egos getting in the way."

Adverplanner "Great Planners complete a rubik’s cube of trends, tech, insights & brand values so creatives can use it to create something amazing."

jo_vanna  "Curiosity, digging skills of a detective, love of anthropology, ability to see and make conceptual connections, love of learning."

faris  "Ask instead perhaps what planning is, and what makes it good. Then get really nice, really smart people and get them to do it."

chrisgallery "There are two kinds of people in advertising,those who simplify and those who complify. Good planners simplify,bad planners complify.Simple."

BenShaw  "Being able to look at every aspect of life and apply data, insight and creativity to blow peoples minds away with brilliant ideas."


I've got a confession to make...

on Sunday, November 01, 2009

Kingsmill confession's is really bugging me.

What were they thinking? Who has confessions about bread? The answer: not the majority of the people who buy the product, in fact, not many people in general!

The actual confessions on the site seem a bit forced, even fake. For example:

I lock myself in the stationery cupboard at work so I can enjoy my favourite sandwich in peace and quiet"

Here is some of the more "real" confessions that have been posted as comments on YouTube:

"I wipe the under side of my balls with kingsmill gold........it's very refreshing"

"Kingsmill confessions haven't posted mine up about me being a former employee that used to jizz in the dough."

 "I wipe my arse on kingsmill.... its soft and very absorbent" 

Well, I guess the last one isn't so bad. At least they got the message that the bread is soft.

People will remember this campaign for all the negative jokes it's generated not the actual confessions on the website.

Damage to the brand? I think so.

Engaging customers with your brand is important but I think a lot of brands need to assess if what they are doing is truly engaging. Good engagement is viral, you tell your friends, and you share it. I doubt confessing your bread sins on a website is something you would mention to your friends, unless you were telling them one of the jokes above.