Sunday, August 30, 2009

Look beyond the wrapper...Maoam story

I was reading some articles on the net and came across a very interesting article...have you ever come across the sweet label Maoam? If yes you should read the following article:-

The Haribo brand did not go down well to a shopper who noticed that the wrapper illustrations appeared to depict pieces of fruit engaged in sexual activity. The complaint was made public by various media including The SUN and The Daily Mail. Mr. Simon Simpkins from West Yorks said he had a "heated exchange" with the shop manager when he saw Maoam's wrappers.

All Maoam wrappers feature a lime character close to, or holding, different items of fruit depending on the sweet's flavour. Mr. Simpkins went for the lemon flavour, however when he looked at the wrapper, the image was quite interesting...but at the same time shocking. He said: "The lemon and lime are locked in what appears to be a carnal encounter. The lime, who I assume to be the gentleman in this coupling, has a particularly lurid expression on his face."

Honestly by analysing the wrappers and try to look at them in different light you might say that Mr. Simpkins is actually right. Have a look at the cherry flavour packaging which is even funnier. It features Mr Lime "tasting" a cherry while another one watches.

According to Haribo the wrapper design was introduced in 2002 and was an attempt to make the wrappers "more lively". It denied there were any sexual connotations intended in the illustrations. Haribo did also confirm that they received the complaint from Mr. Simpkins and published the email.

After having read all this what do you think? Do you think that brands use these imagery as subliminal cues or do people try to interpret images in their way?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Microsoft accused of discriminating in advertising

It's unbelievable but some companies still find it difficult to include people from different cultures in their marketing material. The last company to fall pray of this potentially discriminating activity is Microsoft, the software giant. It was found that an image was edited and swapped with a white man's photo on its Polish website.

The image appeared in its original form on Microsoft's US website and in an edited format on the polish site. Microsoft has apologised for the incident and taken the offending image down. Microsoft admitted the mistake and reiterated that diversity and inclusion are core values and business imperatives of Microsoft. It apologiesed for any offence caused.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blogger seeks compensation from Advertisers

It is a known fact that people are exposed to numerous adverts each day without actually having the ability of doing anything to stay clear of them...However, McCruddon's a blogger was not happy with this situation and in his blog he examines the time he has spent sitting, viewing, queueing and waiting in restaurants, the Post Office, on the Victoria Line, watching TV and in sandwich shops over a six-week period.

From the calculation he made he found that he lost quite a large amount of time in front of adverts and he estimated that the time lost accounted to £6,000. What did McCruddon do when he discovered this fact?

He has actually written to more than 50 companies, and invoiced them for the amount of time he has spent with them. Funnily enough, Pret A Manger was the first company to have paid McCruddon. They have paid him the sum of £62, however the managing director of a fruit and nut stall has taken this battle to the next level...he is actually now demanding McCruddon to pay him for time spent reading his letter and blog.

How will this battle end...will McCruddon claims be met? Companies could actually pay the small amounts and use this opportunity to generate positive PR. McCruddon claims he wants to challenge the the general assumption that consumers are subservient to brands. What do you think?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pimm's to sue Pitcher...a battle to the last bottle!

Diageo the drink giant, owner of such brands as Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff Vodka and Pimm's, said that it will be taking legal action against Sainsbury supermarket over what it claims is a copycat version of its popular summer drink...Pimm's.

The dispute started when Sainsbury released the drink, which it called Pitchers, in mid-April and started heavily advertising the product in the same way as Pimm's. It said that it could be mixed with lemonade and fruit (which is how Pimm's No. 1 is traditionally served). Apart from this, the bottle carries a high resemblance to Pimm's same bottle. In fact the bottle has the exact same shape, the letters are written in the same font and they both have a golden boarded with a coat of arms on the top.

Sainsbury, as all other supermarket brand didn't shy away from the contrary it use price comparison advertising to state that it's Pitchers was cheaper than competition and it performed better in taste tests. This has made it the obvious choice to many consumer for the summer season as the brand was launched in time for for all the top summer events...mainly Ascot, Henley and of course, Wimbledon.

The biggest problem for Diageo is that Sainbury's is one of the country's biggest retailers and one of their major customers...could this affect their trading relationship? Let's wait and see how it goes.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

TalkTalk uses innovative promotions...what about put pocketers!

I'm back...I was in London for a wee time and could not update the blog unfortunately as it was really difficult to find free Wifi spots! However I came across this article and thought it was a good example of a proactive company using innovative solutions!

TalkTalk undertakes another guerrilla marketing campaign...and what a campaign. The company has decided to start distributing money between now and the end of August in areas of central London and on the Tube network. You might think how will this money be distributed...and this is the innovative part!

TalkTalk has employed a team of 20 ex-pickpoketers to actually start "put pocketing". The company has confirmed that lucky recipients of put pocketed cash will receive a branded card along with the cash.The campaign is being promoted with posters at relevant locations proclaiming "Rejoice!

The campaign however has met with a mixed response from those who like the idea of finding a fiver in their trousers, to those who have been victims of bag snatching and other street crimes questioning the sense of such a campaign. However this is what make the campaign makes people talk about the company. TalkTalk has also anticipated such fears and informed Metropolitan Police about this campaign. Apart from this the put pocketers have been given ID in case they do get caught in the act. Have a look at this Talk Talk Video that shows some of these stunts...what's your opinion on it?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Best Buy offering Unbelievable prices during the recession.

About two weeks ago I have told you about the launch of Palm Pre and the Pricing mistake that Best Buy did (issued it at a fantastic price of $99). Did you think this was going to be the last mistake done as they would pay extra attention from now on? Unfortunately this was not the case...

Best Buy is apparently trying it's best to try to help customers through through the recession, but no one could have imaged that they could go as far as offering a 52-inch TV for just $9.99! It happened on Wednesday however as usual it was too good to be true.

As soon as the people noticed the price Bloggers and Twitterers lit up the Internet with posts about the offer, some insisting Best Buy must honor it, others making jokes. However the decision of the retailer this time, unlike with the Palm Pre mistake was not to honor the $9.99 price posted Wednesday morning on its Web site for a 52-inch Samsung flat-screen TV but to refund those that bought it. The price was then adjusted by early afternoon to $1,799.99, almost half off the original $3,399.99 price.

Obvious such repeated mistake left it's mark on the share price as it fell 27 cents to close at $36.50 Wednesday. Do you think they should at least subscribe to their own newsletter maybe in this way they can check their own best offers?

Asda to Launch Social Networking Site

ASDA has decided to give more power to it's shoppers and go embrace Web 2.0. Ithas announced that it intends to launch a social networking site, which will allow shoppers to connect with the Brand.

The site, that will be called Your Asda, will allow shopper and potential shoppers to tell Asda what they don't like, what they like and what they would like to see and will also be able to comment on products they want in their local stores. Although one might think they they are a bit late in following this trend it is a very good sign that even retail giants who's main focus is price are willing to take in customer comments. It is always better to have customer speaking of their dissatisfaction to you (the Brand) rather than say the same things on other formus.

Your Asda will comprise a blog, step by step guides to products, a live Twitter feed and a photo gallery. Asda will also launch a site for staff called The Green Room in which employees can vent their opinions about the retailer. Do you think other grocers will follow this trend?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Absolute Vodka goes Rock

Absolute Vodka, the Pernod Ricard brand, will launch a limited edition will dressed in leather and studs and will go rock "Absolute Rock Edition"

The New Absolute Bottle

As can be seen from the picture above, the exclusive bottle will celebrate rock and the company aims at creating initiative that support the Absolute's new bottle jacket. The latest bottle will launch in Selfridges in early September 2009 and will be sold at £19.99. Following the exclusive launch, the bottle will be rolled out to other retailers at the beginning of October.

As part of this campaign Absolute will create a digital activities on it website that will focus on delivering humorous insights into a rock band's, the person behind the band and lifestyle. As with other big marketing activities, such as the launch of Eminem new album, Absolute will be present in key areas of London, especially those areas that capture the vibrant UK rock scene. This will enable the brand to reinforce it connection to the lifestyle and increase the experiential power of it campaign through gigs and rock concerts.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Marketing Blunders

McDonald's Tainted MP3 Players

In Japan, where technology frenzy is common place and where even virtual pets have their own MP3 players; McDonald's ran a contest in which customers were eligible to win their very own MP3 device.

After distributing around 10,000 gadgets, customers discovered that each MP3 came loaded with 10 free songs and a trojan malware, capable of communicating user logins and passwords. A software patch was dispersed and a recall was instituted, thereby ending McDonald's worst campaign.

Icy Response to Snapple (Natural Juice Company)

Snapple decided it was time to do something big…as big as attempting to overtake the Guinness World Record for the largest ice lollipop, made out of the company's tasty kiwi-strawberry drink. The company however had a serious flaw in it plans…the record breaking attempt took place mid-June. Immediately upon unloading, the melted juice poured from the truck, creating a syrupy tidal wave which became a major headache for cleanup crews.

LifeLock CEO Tempts Fate

The personal fraud protection company LifeLock guarantees the security of your identity under their employ. So much so that, in a nationwide ad, CEO Todd Davis posts his personal social security number on the side of a van — daring identity thieves to give it a shot. Turns out, they did.

No fewer than 25 motivated thieves stole Davis' social security number — with one successfully receiving a $500 loan. LifeLock maintains its diligence, claiming that for a nationwide ad, only one case of stolen identity isn't too bad. It doesn't advise posting your mom's maiden name on your car, however.

General Motors Inspires Amateur Filmmaking

Three years ago, General Motors did its own marketing blunder too…it tried to tap in the young drivers market by tapping into the YouTube craze. GM launched a website allowing users to create their own commercial about the Chevy SUV and upload it for public view.

That was a good idea however GM forgot one thing…monitor what was being uploaded. GM hadn't realized that it bore favorable connotations, and participants started producing short films about global warming, the war in Iraq, or negative attacks against the auto's quality. The problem was that it took the company one month to realize this!

KFC Underestimate Fan Frenzy

Companies use giveaways as a way to increase popularity and visibility for their products…so what could go wrong? KFC started it own promotion by giving away free KFC meals…a good idea you might say but…

After Oprah announced a KFC giveaway on her much-watched program, the food chain couldn't keep up with the lines of customers…this stampede gave way to a flood of protests which obviously back fired…so be careful as promotions might be too successful which becomes a problem when you can’t keep up with the demand.

Zombie Invasion Credited to Dr. Pepper

It's hard to dislike a treasure hunt, unless the “X” spot lies somewhere over a historical landmark. An international campaign from Dr. Pepper's then-owner Cadbury Schweppes hid coins within 23 American cities to promote the soft drinks’ "23 flavors."But the agency in charge of Boston's location selected the Granary Burying Ground; a historical landmark.

The result:- A flood of shovels tried to find the coin but Cadbury Schweppes ended the contest. However the graveyard had to be closed to prevent a zombie outbreak.