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.