After ten years of continuous blogging, I began to think I was repeating myself in airing my frustrations about the business world and my place in it. I'm determined to make this a temporary hiatus and will try to think of something new to write soon.
The new Clearasil campaign has rightly been getting a lot of praise for its clever tone of voice that parodies awkward corporate attempts to understand the youth market - even though they claim it's a parental voice for reasons that elude me. By doing so, they're able to produce what is quite a straightforward hard sell in the midst of a comedic approach that doesn't patronise.
I was amazed to read that it was difficult to get the client to buy into ta concept that is so obviously right. Perhaps that explains why some of the executions strike me as a little bland and repetitive.
I wish they'd been bolder and I especially wish they hadn't completely omitted the teens' voice. To my mind they missed a chance to empower the potential customer and make them laugh.
In the iteration posted above, I immediately envisaged one of the teens producing a phone from beneath the water and calling ths police or perhaps simply shouting out in a bemused, unthreatened way "Mom. There's a weird man in our hot tub!"
That sort of catch phrase is the thing that memes are made of and might well lead to the unearned media and sharing that everyone wants.
Who knows, it might even set of an instagram meme with people reproducing scenes of "There's a weird man in our hot tub" featuring any variety of family members, TV characters or Superheroes. The permuatations are endless.
Alternatively, the awkward hashtag request could be met by the teens showing flash cards with #lame on them.
Maybe this sort of thing is in the pipeline, but at the moment the YouTube clips have very few views and hardly any comments and that's a shame.
A current Olivio advertisement spends the majority of its duration evoking ideas of Italian heritage and artisinal
authenticity to be attached to its industrially-produced butter spread with added olive oil.
So far, so unexceptional.
But then it’s topped off with the imposition of the Unilever corporate logo that undercuts everything that’s gone before. I’ve written before about this type of boardroom ego-trip, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it actually at odds with the marketing message.
Why do they think the Unilever logo will enhance the customers’ retail choice architecture in any way that their product
positioning will not? How many products do they think shoppers can identify as coming from the Unilever stable?
Personally, I’m not sure I could be certain of more than two and I sadly have more interest in the question than the man or woman
in the supermarket.
Twenty eight seconds is barely enough time to tell a story let alone enough to indulge in sub-plots. Do their marketers want to tell the Italian story or the Unilever story? They need to choose one.
Here's an art project from which research companies could learn a lot.
Everything We Touch literally illustrates one of my basic marketing axioms. Don't ask people what they think they do, find out what they actually do.
Every thing that each person has touched in a twenty four hour period is laid out chronologically on the same sheet. You don't see opinions, you see actual data and from that starting-point can construct and interrogate a day's narrative.
In the book, the photo creates a double-page spread that the reader can peruse and guess about before turning over to find a diagrammatic breakdown that identifies every item and a brief profile of and intereview with the person concerned.
The prevalence of Apple products and fresh food rather gives the game away that this is an affluent and creatively-skewed group of people, but there's no reason that the concept couldn't be expanded. Research that attracts and engages. How's that for differentiation?
As an industry colleague commented: "Few researchers do that because they only want to do what they’re going to
be paid for rather than what we may find interesting."
“You want to try everything and you can do anything, but at the same time, there’s no model to work off of. There’s no blueprint for success. We’re trying a lot of things and we’re throwing a lot of stuff at the wall. But you have to in this space. Nobody has the formula. Now as we start to see what’s working and what’s not, we’re really learning what our fans want.”
A statement from a report in 2014 about the NCAA's new social media "strategy" that I found in my draft posts. It didn't become a post back then because there's no mileage in picking holes in such approaches, but today it echoes the type of prevailing marketing sentiment that worries me greatly.
Overcomplication for the sake of it and a bizarre willingness to admit that they don't know what works (while simultaneously bemoaning their lack of credibility in the boardroom) are marketing traits that I loathe.
We exist to connect product and services to customers who want and benefit from them - it's really that simple and I hope in 2016 we all remember that while it's not easy, it doesn't need to be complicated.