Monday, March 21, 2011

Is All Publicity Good Publicity?

So like I said in my last post, I’m from Christchurch, New Zealand, and unfortunately there was a fairly significant quake there recently (sure, it’s not much on Japan but it’s safe to say it’s still fairly significant). While I no longer live in NZ, many of my family and friends do, they’re all physically safe but the rebuild is going to suck.

Anyway, throughout all the 24 hour news programs I watched during the following few days (and all the phone calls home!) I noticed, with little exaggeration, nearly a million messages to donate to relief funds. I doubt that any of these messages were paid for, the ticker tape at the bottom of screen constantly pointing to, and on that note, I just did the same (go me)!

Within 6 hours of the earthquake, an edit by the original crew of my favourite parody on the kiwi accent appeared on YouTube with an appeal to donate (with the Red Cross link on the YouTube page)

This is a lot of free publicity, and it is even nicer to see that it’s for a great cause, and has generated a lot of additional resources for the rebuild, but is all publicity good publicity?

Well we can see from the above example, an earthquake demolishing a significant part of the city, that this publicity is not going to do much good for the city, particularly from a tourism point of view (tourism marketing being my previous profession). Short term the city gets a bit of a boost to it’s coffers for the rebuild, but anyone who previously had a holiday/vacation planned there has likely cancelled and it will be removed from most everyone’s potential list of destinations.

This is made that little bit worse for the fact that Christchurch Stadium is no longer a viable stadium for the Rugby World Cup, which would have been a great kick-start to the flow of tourists.

Now you know the next time someone says that all publicity is good publicity, for the sake of educating the world one stupid thing at a time, do me a favour and explain at length why they are wrong.

Rise up Christchurch.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Apologies - Earthquakes are bad

So I've just been given a bit of stick as to the lack of posts recently and figured an explaination was necessary.

Main factor in this has been the earthquake in Christchurch, this is my home town, and where I spent the first 25 years of my life living, it's a bit of a mess at the moment (admittedly it's not much compared to Japan, but it's a big deal to me). So with this in mind most of my time has been spent focusing on things other than articles for this blog.

However it has inspired my next post (all going to plan) about free publicity, think about the earthquakes and the likes of Red Cross and you might see where it's going.

Again, my apologies everyone!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


In a bit of a follow up to my last post, I’d like to address my (and by the comments, many others) aversion to being put into a box.

For starters I feel if you can define me so precisely and label everything I do then you can predict my behaviour, and if you can do that then one of the next logical extensions is that it’s probably not really me in control and therefore freewill is out the door. Forget that, I’m in control here.

I have done a Merrill-Reid personality type test recently (Analytical – Driver if you were wondering, good thing I’m in market research then huh). Maybe it was the Analytical Driver in me but I got into a bit of an argument with our head of HR for the region (Australia/Pacific), when a two day course focussed on how to deal with each personality type when working for or presenting to them. My argument went along the lines of: ‘I know the people that I am working with better than grouping them into one of four boxes, this is a waste of my time’.

Don’t get me wrong, stereotypes have their uses, they have evolved to help us make quick decisions, if someone is wearing a stethoscope it is usually safe to assume they are a doctor or medical professional for example, rather than having to go through the process of confirming which is time consuming and in this case, may cost lives. This was admittedly probably more useful back in the hunter/gatherer age when if you saw someone you didn’t know, holding a spear which is pointed in your direction, you assume they are a rival tribesman and probably trying to kill you, therefore, before it is too late to confirm, you go into survival mode and get that fight/flight mechanism up and running.

It also has its uses in marketing too in narrowing down a particular target market, but as discussed it also has its limitations.

For example, if I told you I saw Rammstein play live a month back at the Big Day Out and they were an absolute highlight of the whole festival, you would probably make assumptions about the type of person I am. Safe to say I would guess that 90% of those assumptions are wrong, take a stab in the comments and prove me wrong.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Generation Why?

The labelling of our generations is something that has always intrigued me. Partly because grouping large numbers of people based on when they were born and lumping them all together and assuming certain traits, is only one rung above astrology in my books. The other part that intrigues me is that I hate the name of ‘my’ generation.

Labelling of the Baby Boomers I understand, post war society changed the way a whole generation thought and acted, there was also a whole  lot of them because when you return from war you get your freak on. Therefore the population boomed. Gotcha, makes sense.

Generation X were the rebels, and X is pretty rebellious letter, I guess that makes sense.

Generation Y, well it’s the next letter after X. Hmmmm. Yeah that just doesn’t sit very well for me and is hardly very descriptive.

What is going to happen to the generation after we have Generation Z? Generation AA?

On that note if I hear another ‘scandal’ which is called [current gossip]-gate I am going to flip out and probably start a ‘Local News Station or Magazine’-Gate.

I understand that within each of these generational labels are individuals, each with their own personality and story and that not every Baby Boomer is an independent, work centric person, but they are aged somewhere around 40-60 years old!

I don’t associate with Generation Y as a whole, I do associate with many people who are also labelled as Generation Y because of who they are as an individual. That’s what we have to remember when selecting target markets is that being too vague so that your potential target market is huge will do more harm than good (it’s called target for a reason). Just picking an age range of 18-35 males won’t do you much good unless they have something else in common.

Personally if I were to rename this so-called Gen-Y, I would go with, seems like that’s the way we’re headed so that’s where my vote lies, what about yours? Any other suggestions?

Edit: Oh shit, it is happening, they’ve already sort of decided on the next two generations, yeah I know, never source Wiki but Gen-Alpha? That’s hardly descriptive. FML

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's not just television and billboards

Marketing is more than just producing 30 second TV commercials, sexy billboards and catchy slogans, it is a form of communication. The purpose of this communication happens to be persuading the audience to take some sort of action. Often it is to purchase a certain product, but that's not all, they can also try and get you to act in a different way, inform you, or influence the way you think about something. This means its scope can be pretty wide, from drink driving ads in pub urinals to the logos on your clothing!

Sometimes it is the simplest messages that are the best, they don’t have to star a celebrity, they don’t need a precisely placed logo, often clarity or honesty are the best policy.
The messages are also very easy to screw up, the below image has been on my phone for a year now and despite (more to the point, because of) the misspelling, always makes me laugh.
 Most common spelling or grammatical errors bug me no end (note: don’t expect perfection here, but do expect the common courtesy of proofreading and using the write there/their/they’re – oh…and bad puns when describing malapropisms). In this case it’s the irony of thinking about eating the meat of someone who has made the choice not to eat meat, which lead me to purchase these delicious meaty nacho’s.

Simple things like this have an effect of the way we behave, and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another, not everyone in the pub would have purchased Nachos that evening, but if it wasn’t for that sign I may have been eating the Beer Braised Peasant with a Flesh Green Salad.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What’s this all about?

As a Market Researcher by profession, I tend to pay special attention to advertising all around me; where most people have developed ad blindness, I tend to pick up on really terrible ads everywhere.

This is a real nuisance as it annoys the crap out of me. Not only this but it saddens me that these ads went through all sorts of approvals, sign offs and money exchanged hands in order to make them happen. Do marketers these days have no faith in my generation?

Actually, as long as shows like Idol exist, I have no faith in not only my generation  but most of the human race, it seems you could lay a trail of Bieber’s hair into the  Weser River and save yourself the hassle of hiring a Piper these days. For this reason  it seems advertisers have become slack and unimaginative, muddled their target  market, and gone for the throat of the lowest common denominator.

So, in an effort to minimise my decaying sanity due to these advertisements, I thought it best to share some of these with the world in the hope that fewer terrible ads are made!

Welcome to my blog, make yourself comfortable and join me in looking at how advertising affects us, some great examples of marketing, and calling out marketing efforts which any idiot could have come up with.