Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Is the Coca Cola Company clutching at straws?

Saturday, February 29th, 2020

On our most recent trip to Berlin, I was surprised to see this street poster for Coke.

Roughly translated it proudly proclaims: ‘For serious pizza serve the original.’

I fully understand food and wine, matching, even food and beer matching, but food and Coke is just silly.

While the uptake of bottled water is growing worldwide, Coke’s market share, especially in Germany, is on the slide. Their worldwide business has shrunk by 2% per annum over the last ten years.

So it’s no wonder that they have adopted the rather bizarre strategy of trying to make a fizzy, sugar laden soft drink match with food.

Is the truth really out there?

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016


Recently I watched six new episodes of the very successful science fiction TV series, ‘The X-Files’.

The original series ran from September 1993 to May 2002. Written by Chris Carter and staring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, there were 202 episodes and two feature films. The second film was released in 2008.

It was the longest running science fiction series in US history.

I think that this latest 6 episode series is a fishing expedition by 20th Century Fox Television. Each episode was so completely different that I can’t help but feel they are all part of an elaborate market research program.

Some episodes were verging on ‘slap-stick’ while others continued with the old protagonists and conspiracy theories.

The producers even introduced Fox and Scully clones.

Its been 8 years since the last film and 14 years since since the last series, so the market’s attitudes towards the characters and plots may well have shifted.

Will there be more X-Files and what will be the theme?

The truth is probably out there, or at least buried in the market research.

‘F’ is for Ford or is it for frightened? 

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Ford Mustang poster small

What does the latest Ford posters say about the company?

For one it says they are frightened; frightened that their ever dwindling market share is going to vanish completely into an Australian heat haze.

Why else would you feature a poster campaign where the logo is larger than the product and the proposition is even smaller still.

Ford will stop manufacturing cars in Australia later this year, and it’s my guess that these ads are more about propping up confidence in the dealer network, than they are about selling vehicles.

Given the new car sales figures for 2015, they should be worried.

Ford were 6th, with 70,454 sales (down 11.6%) and behind, of all manufactures, Mitsubishi with 71,752.

2015 was a bumper year for car sales with 1,155,408 vehicles sold – a 3.8% rise on the previous year.

Holden and Ford were the only companies to post a sales decline, with Ford having its worst year since 1966. Even the Mercedes-Benz C-Class comfortably outsold the Ford Falcon.

It appears that Australians have already given up on Henry.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Increasingly companies, organisations and governments are entering into CSR programs. CSR is primarily an attitude that can be implemented in many ways.

It’s about being a good corporate citizen.

The customers or consumers can benefit from the CSR program of an organisation, as they are rewarded by choosing an ethically and socially responsible product or service.

Look how the Nike brand was damaged by using Sweat Shops to produce their products. The garment factory fires in Bangladesh has also had repercussions on retailers here and around the world.

CSR benefits the brand and its reputation, by giving the consumer another reason to chose it. When all else is equal, a brand’s reputation can make the difference.

There are many benefits in developing a meaningful CSR program, the obvious one is the associated good-will that is generated towards the organisation. However a ROI is also counted as a primary objective and benefit of the program.

The second day of the New Year’s cricket test, at the Sydney Cricket ground, is traditionally a day given over to the the McGrath Foundation and is known as the Pink Test.

This was the sixth Pink Test and to-date over 5 Million Dollars have been raised to provide Breast Care Nurses throughout Australia.

This year, as the major sponsor of The Ashes, the Commonwealth Bank were involved for the first time.

I watched it on TV and it was a fun day, with the involvement of both the Australian and English cricket sides, the Chanel 9 commentary team and of course the spectators.

The biggest surprise to me was that the Commonwealth Bank actually changed their logo for the day.

It’s a brave company that messes with their corporate identity, but it paid off.

The pink logo would have been noticed more in this test than any of the four that had gone before.

 The Pink Test players

Would you buy a ‘Gonski’?

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

If it was a fleet of the new Gonski Stealth Jet Fighters, then security and border protection would be the benefit.

If it was the Gonski High Speed Rail Link, running up the east coast, between Melbourne and Brisbane, then we would benefit from the convenience.

A Gonski Dam on the Ord River, would open up vast areas for cultivation and the subsequent benefit of increased food production.

Most Australians would see the value in paying 14.5 Billion Dollars for one of these Gonskis. That’s because we all understand what an fighter jet, rail network or a dam can deliver.

History has etched that in our minds.

Now the Gonski school funding reforms are different. It’s a complex issue to understand, let alone sell to the average punter.

There have been a number of newspaper articles written recently trying to articulate what a Gonski is. Here is the most recent one from SBS.

‘Selling’ has never been the strong point of the current government. They follow the polls when making policy decisions but don’t listen to the consumer when it comes to articulating their benefits.

They need a good advertising agency.

When the late, and very divicive, Maggy Thatcher came to power in 1979 she used the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi to sell her agenda. They came up with the ‘Labour isn’t working’ poster.’ This very quickly and simply articulated the Tory message.

I think Julia could take a leaf out of Maggie’s book and hire a good ad agency to help sell the Gonski.


Marketing by cross purposes.

Friday, November 9th, 2012

This poster, seen in Saint Gallen, Switzerland, was the centre piece of a window display for the watch maker Maurice Lacroix.

The copy, a quote from Sir Bob Geldof, reads:

“I don’t want to live like you. I don’t want to talk like you. I’m going to be like me.”

Now I guess that Sir Bob, due to contractual obligations, wears a Maurice Lacroix watch. And I am equally sure that the manufacturers of Maurice Lacroix would like you to wear one as well.

Why else would they spend all that money to use his name?

Therefore isn’t the whole idea of wearing the same watch as Bob at cross purposes with his message?

Osborne. (September 2012)

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

The Osborne Sherry Company was founded in 1772 by Thomas Osborne Mann.

In fact it’s the second oldest company in Spain.

In 1956 they started to erect posters, featuring their logo of a large black bull, designed by Manolo Prieto and the words ‘Brandy of Jerez’ painted in red over the bull.

The original posters were smaller but were later enlarged, to their current height of 14 meters, to comply with new laws prohibiting outdoor advertising to within 150 meters of a major road.

In 1994 another law was passed banning all outdoor advertising.

The Osborne bull was doomed.

However public response was so strong that they were allowed to remain, so long as they were painted completely black and the original brand name was removed.

I remember seeing these large, almost surreal, silhouettes in 1972, 2007 and then again in 2008.

The Osborne brand has always remained embedded in my subconscious.

Even without the product name they epitomise great branding.

The Osborne bull has risen beyond advertising and marketing to become the unofficial symbol of Spain.

He is seen on the backs of cars, on flags, stickers and key rings.

There are still over 90 Osborne bull silhouettes dotted all over Spain.

We drove nearly 600km to get some snaps of two of them.



Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

We cancelled our contract with Vodafone in Australia because of their poor performance and inability to deliver on their promises.

Vodafone consistently spend large media dollars in hyping up their services. They have adopted the approach that if you continually promote a fallacy, it will become fact.

Their inability to deliver has lead to a class action in Australia and a mass exodus of their clients.

They have now suspended their considerable media spend, while they attempt to improve their coverage and services.

We stupidly selected Vodafone to purchase a broadband ‘Módem USB Stick’ for coverage in Spain.

Apparently this corporate leopard doesn’t easily change its spots.

The connection was poor and there were problems in recharging our account online.

So much so that we had to drive back to where we purchased the key and get it manually recharged there.

Their explanation was that the online service wasn’t working today but would be ok, ‘mañana’.

It still isn’t working.

Marketing works well when the delivery lives up to the promise.

Vodafone in Spain are following the Australian or more possibly the international strategy of promise first then try and deliver later.

Advertising will only work when it’s based on truth, anything else is phoney.


Sound and light at Petra. (March 2012)

Friday, March 30th, 2012

The simplicity was overwhelming.

Candles, two musicians and a monologue.

The Bedouin delivering the ten minute narration asked us, in the words of John Lennon, to imagine.

Imagine Petra as it was 2,000 years ago.

Imagine the water flowing through viaducts, down the gorge and bubbling up through the nymphaeum in the Roman colonnade.

Imagine caravans, laden with gold, frankincense and myrrh, passing through this ancient city from the exotic east to the Mediterranean coast in the west.

Imagine the streets, palaces and tombs lit by 8,000 olive oil lamps.

And then finally, imagine what the people were like who could conceive and build this amazing place.

This was far more moving than the over produced, over scripted and contrived Son et Lumière that you’ll find at most tourist destinations.


”Mr Moustache” (March 2012)

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

This was the most common way I was greeted by the hawkers outside every tourist attraction, from Luxor to Aswan.

What happened after that, varied with every encounter.

They have all developed their individual ways of trying to separate you from your money.

Some are humorous and charming, while others are persistent and annoying.

A bit like being tied to a chair and forced to watch thirty minutes non stop of Harvey Norman ads.

What is also common to the hawkers, is the unwavering optimism they have, that they will make a sale and it will be from you.

This optimism turns from frustration to desperation as the backside of last tourist disappears up the steps of the tour bus.

I think we are all over the constant hassle but it’s easy forget that this is how they put falafel on the table.

And with tourism running at about 62% of what it was before the revolution, their desperation is understandable.