Month: October 2010

I really do put that *&%$ on everything!

Coming out of Charing Cross station this morning I was delighted to be presented with a free sample of Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Now for those of you who don’t know, Frank’s Red Hot is a brand of pepper sauce that works on just about everything. Milder than Tabasco, it doesn’t blow your head off, but just adds an extra something to any savoury dish. I recently discovered it in my local Sainsburys and I’ve been addicted ever since. My wife actually thinks I’ve ruined my tastebuds because of it.

Considering that, I was very pleased to see this new ad campaign from Frank’s

This campaign just brought home to me something that I’ve known for a while but have only really been putting into practice recently – that often the most important role of advertising is to engage with loyal supporters rather than acquiring new users. My good friend at Mediation (see left) once ran a debate where he stated that THE ONLY role of advertising was to reward and engage with loyal users. At the time he was shouted down, but I have to say I’m starting to agree with him.

Take this Franks example. I first became aware of their campaign on the radio earlier this week whilst doing DIY on my kitchen. I was more excited than is reasonable to be about a radio ad saying “I do, I do, I do put that shit on everything”. I proceeded to tell my wife about it and then look it up on the internet and found the US TV ads which I “Liked” on my Facebook profile. Suddenly in my head I went from being a weird bloke who put pepper sauce on all his food to being part of a club of weird blokes and one potty mouthed granny who put pepper sauce on all their food.

Then when I received two free sachets at Charing Cross this morning, I received them with glee and put them straight into my bag, then when I got to work I gave one to a colleague who I know likes spicy food and I’ve told at least 4 or 5 people today about it.(I told you, I’m weird) Suddenly, this ad campaign has changed my relationship with this brand. It has changed me from being someone who just consumed a pepper sauce product regularly to someone who is a now a Frank’s Evangelist. I’ve now discovered that the person who sits next to me is also a lover of Frank’s but until this campaign came around I’ve had no reason to bring it up so lived in tragic ignorance of the pepper soul mate to my left.

OK, maybe I’m getting a bit too excited about this, but to a certain extent it has turned my perception of the role of certain comms channels on it’s head. I would always assumed that the role of product sampling was to get new users to try a product – surely it wasn’t about generating loyalty with existing consumers, but certainly in this instance, I believe that the primary benefit to the brand of this sampling activity will be the effect that it has on loyal users. I struggle to believe that many people will douse their favourite food in an obscure condiment just because it was handed to them at a tube station, but I do believe that there will be a number of people like me who now feel empowered and enabled to tell their friends about their dirty little habit and even pass them a sample – even write a blog that at least one person might read.

I believe that this principle applies to a great deal of advertising. Most people’s true brand perceptions are formed by their hands on experience of that brand. Trial drives awareness more than awareness drives trial. Therefore often the role of advertising is actually to enable fans of a product to crystallise their existing opinion of a product and feel comfortable both consuming and recommending it rather than creating the perception in the first place. This is starting to seem more and more obvious to me, but it simply isn’t the way that any of my clients talk about the role of communications at the moment.

OK, Food geek out!

A new way to think about Bought, Owned and Earned, just in time for Guy Fawke’s night,

A little bit of background here.

A couple of years ago a good friend of mine told me that whilst he was very happy in the relationship he was in, he was worried that there had never been the explosive passionate start to a relationship that he always assumed would announce the arrival of his one true love, in his words he “never felt the fireworks”. Now I knew that he was on to a great thing with the girl he was with and explained (drawing on my meagre relationship experience) that some relationships are like fireworks and some relationships are more like the bonfire that come after the fireworks. The flashes bang, bright lights and explosions are great to get things started, but you hang around to keep warm and cosy next to the roaring fire. Personally in the long run I’d rather have the bonfire on it’s own than a huge commercial fireworks display that is spectacular, exciting and thrilling, but that ultimately fizzles out and leaves you cold.

Now I’m sure you’re saying “umm Dan, I thought you wrote about geeky media and technology and stuff – what’s with the love guru angle?” but the fact is there is a point.

The same friend told me yesterday that he went to a presentation recently in which the speaker likened good communications planning to the same analogy. I wasn’t there so this is third hand information, but the idea went along the lines that when a brand does big above the line advertising it is like a big fireworks display that draws you in, but the stuff that keeps you interested, the more direct interaction with the brand and the product – that’s the substance – the bonfire if you will.

I personally thought that this was a lovely analogy, but I think I can take it one step further. If the fireworks represent paid for media and stunts and the bonfire represents the dialogue between consumer and brand in “owned” media (website, pack, facebook pages etc) then how can we reflect the conversations and advocacy that happens between consumers – Well obviously it’s the sparklers – everyone knows that sparklers are the best bit of bonfire night, the time when you can get hands on and pass on the excitement of the evening – when you can let your own creativity loose and become part of the evening. Until Sparklers come out you’re just a spectator, but get your hands on (the right end) of those fizzing sticks of fun and you become a bonfire ambassador!

So there’s my analogy

Bought media = Fireworks
Owned media = Bonfire
Earned media = Sparklers

Just quote me if you use it in a presentation 🙂

What a wasted opportunity

[Quick disclaimer – I may not believe absolutely everything written below]

So I’ve been watching horror at the recent story of those poor Chilean Miners stuck underground for two months, the emotional trauma suffered, the anguish of the families and the challenges faced by the rescue teams, but most importantly I’ve been horrified by the complete lack of marketing and brand involvement. This is a PR opportunity that has gone begging! Every day I’ve read about a new endeavour to facilitate the rescue or to improve the lives of the stuck miners but I’ve got no idea which products have been used to make that happen.

I know that they were sent a home entertainment system to allow the miners to watch sports and films to keep their spirits up, but I don’t know which ingenious manufacturer developed such a cunning device that could fit in the tiny tube through which they received it.

I know that the miners have been on a special diet to ensure that they stay the right size to fit into the escape capsule, but I don’t know which nutritional company created the diet or provided the food!

I know that Camp Hope is a makeshift tent town, but why hasn’t Vango provided the tents and sleeping bags for those bitterly cold Chilean nights

There’s not even any big corporate sponsorship going on. Why hasn’t Richard Branson sponsored the Phoenix 2 Escape Capsule – this rescue mission would have cost an absolute fortune and I’m sure that a few million extra to stick “Virgin” on the side would have been very welcome.

Come on guys – the eyes of the world are on 33 guys in CHile – Sky News has had non stop rolling coverage for the past 16 hours since they sent the first rescue worker down, billions of people have been united in an outpouring of hope and joy and yet there is no-one making any money out of it. I’ve lost my faith in the cynical bastards who work in my industry.

Oh – what’s this? Oakley have created the special $450 sunglasses that they are wearing when they get out? Maybe our industry hasn’t grown a soul after all, thank god for that!

UPDATE – Someone just sent me this link after reading above post – I don’t understand…

Further Update – Some people have missed the sense of irony in my blog post and have accused me of being callous etc. I hoped that the disclaimer headlined the nature of the piece but maybe not.

Anyway, I feel somewhat vindicated by the news that the Oakley PR endeavour has netted them $41million in PR value Callous or not – someone is getting a bonus.

Science: F-ing Awesome

I’ve nicked my headline from the comments from this news article because frankly I couldn’t put it any better myself.

Basically “boffins” have invented a laser tractor beam which can move a tiny bead of glass through the air. Maybe we will all have jetpacks and flying cars and time machines before I die.

I’ve got no media angle on this at all, Can anyone think of one?