Archive for October, 2011

Post Launch Results of the iphone…

Friday, October 28th, 2011

iphone 4S - Projected SalesThe period leading up to the launch of the new iphone has had implications on investors resulting in a 6% drop last night after missing the sales expectations for the third quarter.  Investors are reported to be disappointed with the results, however, when looking into the period between the last model launch and the most recent iphone 4S launch, sales dipped due to consumers anticipating the arrival of the revolutionary iphone 5 product.  Is this news really relevant in the grand scheme of things? We doubt it!

Although the reports demonstrate a decrease in revenue, there is a clear explanation as to why. The reports from sales of the new model show that the new 4S sold more than 4 million units in three days, not bad really.   To reassure other investors of the iphone’s position in the market the chief executive officer, Tim Cook projected that they will set an all-time record for December sales of the iphone.

As with all new technology based products there was much criticism of the new iphone model.  Typically statements such as, ‘it’s not innovative enough’, ‘the new model looks exactly the same’, are the types of comments that initially came from consumers, however as users upgrade to the new model and start to use the device, their opinions change and they iphone 4S - Projected Salesestablish the new capabilities of the new version.  A comment recently, post launch, is a great example of how inaccurate, or irrelevant perhaps, industry expert’s comments can be when looking at the sales of the new model…BlisMobile’s chief executive Greg Isbister believes that even though there are improved internal features it will not significantly impact Apple’s market share because it has not got enough “hype and excitement – it looks identical, which doesn’t get people as excited.”  Sorry who and what is BlisMobile?!!

There will be a method to Apple’s madness…we look forward to them revealing their new computer software and additional products to accompany the new iphone, which let’s face it will be a must have for Christmas for current iphone users…!

Explicit gaming ad banned…

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Duke Nukem Advert Banned by ASA

Duke Nukem Advert Banned by ASA

Duke Nukem, the popular computer game for many enthusiasts, recently launched an ad containing explicit images that had to be swiftly withdrawn. The ASA received a total of 34 complaints claiming that the advert was offensive and irresponsible for portraying sexist, violent and overly explicit images likely to “cause children and vulnerable people harm”. Is there protection for the special populations listed here or is this a question of concern relating solely to the advert? The game itself encompasses all that is listed in the advert with regards to women and the drugs scene.

The content is described on one of the gaming websites as,



“You are given access to an arsenal of over-the-top weapons, nonstop action, and numerous levels of interactivity. Shoot hoops, lift weights, read adult magazines, draw crude messages on whiteboards, or ogle the many women that occupy Duke’s life; that is, if you can pull yourself away from destroying alien invaders”

Click here to view the full article.
The game itself is listed as one that parents ‘should be aware of‘, however is this enough protection for children? How accessible are these games? Marketers need to be more aware of what channels they focus on and consider their target audience more thoroughly.  There are many industries that are not exposed to main stream media.  This is an example of an advert that clearly demonstrates the objectives of the product in a way that is not appropriate for viewers of a certain age.  Although this is pitched as a war game, gaming websites such as the one featured in the last paragraph almost treat the aspect of war as secondary to the adult magazine and crude messages content giving the game equal weighting to all these features.  Maybe the government need to look into the ways in which these products are marketed and sold as a whole rather than focus on one advert…What do you think?

Looking to change the face of marketing in promoting the brand…!

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Neuromarketing - Marketing CommunicationsThe consumer now receives messages from all directions, for example, social media, phone and e-mail, all of which are fighting for attention. In turn, this has implications on how consumers view brands and what is important to them in terms of the information being received.  Marketing Week have recently released an interesting article that delves into the current state of marketing, what medias are being utilized, and to what degree they currently impact on the consumer. Looking at the brain and how it processes information the report emphasizes one method of effective marketing and that is neuromarketing

Microsoft has looked at how consumers engage with different media such as TV, PC and mobile devices. TV was likened to an old, reliable and entertaining friend, the PC like an older sibling and the mobile device a new lover.  Given that Microsoft conducted the study and is promoting neuromarketing as a way to engage with the consumer on a personal level and create a tool that enables interaction between seller and buyer on their hand held device, this is not entirely surprising.

BT’s Millard states: “Companies are using social media as broadcast media, but it’s actually about engagement. The challenge is that if a customer wants to talk to you, you have to find the person with the right skills to engage back, and that might exist somewhere beyond the marketing department. So it’s important to start thinking about how you break the boundaries between back office and front office, marketing and PR.

This statement is an idyllic situation for the marketer and one that at some point they will hopefully achieve, however in reality there are so many hurdles to overcome before getting to this point, perhaps this is more of a one off campaign as opposed to the culture in the long term strategy of a particular brand.  As Millard rightly states there is merit to investing in social media as a form of engagement and relating to the consumer in a social environment, however marketers need to ask themselves to what extent they push this and should they be selective in the content that they are posting through this media channel?  – Targeting is the fundamental point here, the consumer will listen when messages are relevant and interesting, target the right people and you can’t go wrong really!

If resources were on tap what would you as the marketer do…?  An interesting viewpoint from Martin Lindstrom, neuromarketing expert to finish on “The role of the marketer will be obsolete really soon. I predict that it will not be about marketers running online communication, instead it will be in the hands of psychologists and data miners.” –Food for thought perhaps…?

What do we all think about Tiger Woods as the future face of Rolex, if the boot fits…?

Friday, October 21st, 2011
Tiger Woods Rolex Brand Ambassador

Tiger Woods Rolex Brand Ambassador

A report from Ipsos Mori survey showed that Tiger Woods is the riskiest brand ambassador, both in the UK and the states!  How seriously should brands take these surveys and when conducted, are they looking purely at the industry they are involved in promoting…?

A report from the Belfast Telegraph shines light on the fact that, despite his stock falling dramatically both on and off the golf course, Tiger Woods remains the most charismatic figure and by far the biggest money-spinner in world sport! This is certainly how Rolex view him anyway…, the golf champion is still one of the world’s greatest golf pros and is planning to regain his place at the top in the 2012 season.   Tiger Woods made headlines two years ago regarding allegations of adultery that soured  his reputation, possibly forever, however as an icon in the golfing world, this man gives inspiration to many golf champions and therefore has respect in his field of expertise.  A more important survey would be what the consumers of Rolex think of Tiger Woods, or where do their interests lie…?

Rolex has well established associations with many sports and golf in particular is a wise choice for the brand given the audience they are marketing to.  Consumers who purchase Rolex are wealthy middle aged men who are as concerned with the type of watch they wear on their wrist as they are with their golf clubs…is that a fair sweeping generalization…?!  If this is an accurate observation then is the consumer going to remember Tiger Woods as ‘the adulterer of 2009’ or as ‘the three times winner of the US open’?

Rolex says it “is convinced that Tiger Woods still has a long career ahead of him and he has all the qualities required to continue to mark the history of golf. The brand is committed to accompanying him in his new challenges”.


Should marketers continue to spend despite the economy…?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

We have recently discussed food retail brands who are focusing more on price based marketing. This relates to research that indicates over 60% of goods are now sold based on price promotion.  There is, however, a strong argument that supermarkets should still invest, and are doing so, in long term brand promotion strategies in order to wait out the fluctuations in the economy and consumer spending in the hope that consumers buying patterns will adapt to a rise in the economy not too far from now.  Is this relevant though, or should the question be whether marketers, in all industries, should keep investing in whatever channels are necessary at this time…?

Marketing Campaign Model

Marketing Campaign Model

Marketing Week reported that brands have been advised to invest in marketing as they will benefit from improved market share in the long-term.  The authors of the latest IPA Bellwether report discovered that marketing budgets were in fact set higher this quarter, however budget allocation was more geared towards direct response channels such as DM and sales promotion.  This is working and therefore marketers need to ensure that the activity is ongoing leading up to Christmas.   What would happen if companies stopped advertising and price promotion in today’s market…?- They would disappear, brands have no choice but to roll with it and by taking on the financial pressures imposed on consumers today they can only hope that it will pay off in the long term.


IPA president Nicola Mendelsohn emphasizes the importance that the advertising industry should do all it can to be as upbeat as possible to meet the challenges that we face.  So there is clearly no straight forward solution as to what investment companies make in marketing, however, the absolute certainty is that companies do need to continue to spend on marketing, the statistics speak for themselves…!


Tough times ahead for the UK’s leading food retailer chains…

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Are Aldi the Next Top Food Retailer?Leading brand Tesco are leading in the drop in market share this Autumn.  The FTS100 reported a decrease in sales that is in fact the worst reported for the brand in two decades.  In an attempt to maintain market share, the supermarket has launched a string of low price marketing campaigns, including one that claims to be 10% cheaper than the competition on every product.  It is fair to say that consumers are not satisfied with just one supermarket and have taken to hopping between chains in order to find the cheapest deals.  What are other supermarkets doing…?

The more Tesco drop their prices, the more brands such as Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s, and even Waitrose, drop theirs! A recent report from the Guardian suggests that the fastest growing supermarket, Aldi, is more determined to produce goods that are priced significantly lower in response to the negative economic headlines.  Will this be enough to secure their place as one of the UK’s top supermarkets? Maybe not. We have discussed in recent blogs the pressure that companies are facing in the future and the implications of consumers demanding lower priced goods as opposed to sticking with one brand that they have been loyal to for many years.  Although supermarkets such as M&S and Waitrose are well established, high end retailers, Waitrose in particular, are moving toward price based marketing as a way to win back consumers who have gone down a level to supermarket, Sainsbury’s.

The knock on effect of price based marketing from one retailer has significant implications on the rest of the market, even the ones at the top of the food chain! The question is how long will this last? What does that mean for the future of the industry, could the monopolistic industry shift to a more saturated market? Maybe that would be a good thing.

Any thoughts on the future of supermarkets…?

FMCG’s increase online spending…

Friday, October 14th, 2011
Online Marketing Spend

Online Marketing Spend Rises

The latest statistics on advertising spend show that in the first half of 2011 there was increase in spending by 27% compared to the second half of 2010.  FMCG (Fast moving consumer goods) companies have been investing more on video and social media which has impacted hugely on the overall growth of spending this year.  According to Marketing Week this does not include mobile ad spending, of which we are all well aware is growing at a rapid rate.   Does this mean that online advertising is replacing TV for many of these brands…?

Matthew Cullum, Heinz Soup marketing controller, encourages the use of social media reinforcing the message that consumers want to engage with his brands through channels they are becoming more and more familiar with…

Essentially online and new media channels are becoming the ‘norm’ for a lot of consumers!

Cullum states in his report,

…Our use of these channels doesn’t replace TV but it is a great compliment to it because it allows the consumer to spread the word and they engage more than they would with traditional channels such as TV or Radio”.

It is fair to say that as long as companies are integrating their marketing campaigns, which is apparent in all FMCG’s, there is no reason why this cannot work.

Although there are concerns with regards to social networks having limited potential for brands, we should consider that as long as campaigns are comprehensive and that traditional methods of marketing are pursued then brands cannot really lose!

What are your thoughts on brands spending more on online advertising…?


The ASA forced to hire more staff as complaints rise…

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

ASA and L'Oreal Complaints - Marketing CommunicationsThe ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) are taking a more pragmatic, preventative approach to governing advertising in sectors such as the cosmetics industry.  This is a result of the increase in complaints with regards to misleading campaigns.  The amazing picture of Julia Roberts says it all really; the Hollywood star is renowned for her style and beauty…So why does Lancôme feel the need to make her look 21?

According to Marketing Week, adverts in L’Oreal’s campaigns use enhanced images of models such as Christy Turlington and have had to be withdrawn.  This industry is producing more airbrushed advertisements to launch their new products when actually they should be focusing on health issues and making men and women alike feel good about themselves, no matter what their age.  Well done to the ASA for pushing this initiative to make companies fully aware of the social responsibilities they have and how they should ensure these are fulfilled in their marketing.

The ASA are obviously addressing this issue for many reasons, and one that we suspect is at the top of the list is to reduce the rapid increase in complaints that are coming through.  The ASA have recently stressed the importance of controlling these complaints and believe this to be a result of the increase in companies investing more in online advertising.

This takes us back to the book chapter on advertising, whereby the authors explore an interesting investigation involving false advertising against (see page 486 for full case study).   Perhaps this really will prevent companies, particularly in the beauty industry, from causing uproar and encourage more CRM…yeah, one day maybe!

Blackberry Users Angry – Third Day of Blackberry Crashes!

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Blackberry Users Angry - Third Day of Blackberry CrashesThis is now day three of the Blackberry crashes and users are NOT happy. Blackberry have displayed some critical errors in dealing with their upset customers this week. A brand which prides itself on top technology aimed at businessmen while still branching out to younger users with its BBM technology, has failed miserably this week by leaving its customers without email or the BBM messaging network.

It was bad enough that their customers were left without mediums for messaging others but was only made worse by the initial lack of communication from the company itself! This was a fatal error which will affect the way the brand is viewed thanks to frustrated users venting on social networking sites such a twitter. As we know, Social Media is becoming a powerful tool in the marketing industry and it may be that it can be just as negative to brands as it can be positive. It will be interesting to see in the coming days and weeks how Social Media affects the Blackberry brand in the aftermath of these crashes.

After the company was slow to comment on the collapse of certain tools on their devices, word finally did arrive in the form of message through twitter declaring that the company was experiencing problems. Bearing in mind the amount of time which had elapsed between the problems occurring and this message, it’s safe to say that Blackberry users found that message a little frustrating!

This message was later followed by another which spoke of them having problems with a core switch failure within Blackberry’s owner, RIM’s, infrastructure. There is a back-up switch but for some reason this did not work. So, that was the second day of the blackouts and now on the third day the services have crashed again. Blackberry/RIM, did not explain that it was happening again and merely acknowledge the problems when confronted. We can all learn a lot, in terms of marketing, from Blackberry/RIM’s approach to this crisis – and, unfortunately,  not a lot of it is good…

Health Lottery hopes to overtake Camelot in new marketing campaign…

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Health Lottery V National Lottery

Health Lottery V National Lottery

Health Lottery has been set up to oversee 51 society lotteries in different locations in the UK.  The brand plans to reach 98% of adult consumers in its new comprehensive marketing campaign, the objective of the campaign is to educate consumers as to where money is needed in local health charities.  The campaign will involve community based fundraising in order to encourage more consumers to get in touch with the communities around them, and these are the ones that are underfunded!  Are the prize incentives enough to beat the country’s number one lottery provider, who also dedicates much time to good causes…?


The charity brand heavily promotes the top £100,000 prize on their website by emphasizing what a difference this amount of money can make and this will be communicated through a combination of marketing channels including, TV, local and national press, radio, PR and social media.  The BBC in a recent report draw out the statistics to show how much money is going out to causes in relation to how much is going into the charity.   The Health Lottery expects that £50m will be donated to health-related causes, with £250m being invested.  The National Lottery in comparison is said to have given a total of £1.6bn charity donations and overall sales of £5.8bn.  This indicates that the National Lottery is paying out more to charitable causes.  Will the focus on community fundraising drive more consumers to the Health Lottery despite this…?


The strategy for the Health focused lottery will be to really push the projects that they will be funding and offset these funds against the prize that the consumer will receive.  Given that information is so readily available the new lottery will need to be careful as to how they work out their investment allocation and ensure that consumers are as much involved in this decision as they can be.  Sir Stephen Bubb, Chief Executive of Voluntary Organizations, said Northern & Shell owner Richard Desmond was “profiteering on the back of charities” and that the National Lottery will essentially match the figures that the new health charity are proposing.  Looks like the new charity have a long way to go in promoting their brand as the more worthwhile cause…!