Thursday, October 29, 2009

Marketing they always work?

It is said that guerilla marketing or marketing stunts are the best way to attract attention and get free press coverage. However is the result always desirable for the company...apparently not, or at least this was the case of Tele2.

A publicity stunt involving a fake meteorite strike in Latvia has totally backfired with Tele2 (a Swedish telecoms company) possibly losing a government contract. Tele2 admitted that the meteorite crash has been staged in the Latvian countryside and the hoax claimed that this strike caused a 10 metre wide crater. This stunt has alerted the Latvian emergency services who went rushing to the scene together with scientist only to find that this was all a stunt.

All this saga was recorded and posted on YouTube, with the video registering more than 400,000 views. Tele2 said that the stunt was part of a wider marketing campaign that is due to be revealed later on this year. However this has not gone down well with the Latvian Government. The interior minister has told that it is not acceptable for a company to promote itself using public fund, especially in a period when Latvia has been very hard hit by the economic downturn registering a very high rate of unemployment and the biggest fall in GDP in the European Union. In an attempt to save its face, Tele2 has reportedly said that it will reimburse the government over any expenses incurred by the stunt.

Will this be enough to save it from losing all contracts in the country? We'll wait and see...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Advertising Standards Authority rule against Bet365

How many times have you read or watched an advert promoting free bets? The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has now taken action.

The ASA has pulled two press ads featured in the Racing Post for igaming site, after it received complaints that the ads were misleading. The complaint read that the advert did not clarify that the free bet was not free at all. In fact to get the maximum advertised free bet of £200 the punter had to part with £900 of his own money. Bet365 replied by saying that the advert stated that the offer was subject to terms and conditions.

Bet365 said that the terms were too complex to be included in the ads but were readily available on its website. It felt the magazine’s readership were an educated betting audience and would automatically understand the terms of the free bets. The ASA took noticed of the fact that consumers were required to spend £900 to obtain the full £200 of free bets, with a minimum spend of £25 to receive a bet worth £25.

The ASA considered that these conditions were very important and that if publish they would have influenced consumers’ understanding of the offer and because the information had not been included in the ads they were likely to mislead.

The ASA has ruled that the ads must not appear again in their current form. Will this revolutionise the igaming adverts?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Legal Disputes against giant companies

Big companies are always under the spotlight when it comes to the introduction of new technologies, however sometimes smaller companies question whether the new technology is really new or whether it actually belongs to another company...this is the case of Elan against Apple. Apple, lately has been acclaiming the fact that it has a lot of multi-touch patents however it must be a little bit concerned about the fact that last week a news came out that it's on the receiving end of a lawsuit from Elan Microelectronics.

Elan makes keypads for laptops, more specifically those used in the EeePC. It claims that Apple has infringed two of its patents and is seeking an injunction on the sales of the MacBook, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Although they are unlikely to get the spot on sales, and given the fact that they have already won a similar case against another company (Synaptics) on one of the same patents, the chance is high that Apple might be forced to settle.

The issue of patent infringement does not only happen between small and large companies but it also happens between large famous companies is interesting to try to find out whether patent infringement is done knowingly or due to a lack of proper patent research. The fact is that the purpose of patents is to protect the inventor of new technologies in such a way that inventors continue to come up with new inventions...hence it is important to protect these inventors ideas while at the same time making sure that everyone can benefit from the new discoveries.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Failing to Act is Acting to fail

It is interesting and at the same time a pity to read how a company can drive away huge clients and lose money without taking immediate action to tap the source of the problem. I'm speaking about Royal Mail and the strikes which have been on and off since last July. This left a sizable dent on the image of Royal Mail, a reliable postal partner, as well as its bottom line.

Two huge companies, and have take action to avoid being caught in the issue both directly and indirectly. Whereas Amazon has decided to act directly (given that it contract the postal provider itself) ebay is using lobbying to try to diminish the impact that such strikes are having on sellers depending on Royal Mail.

It was announced that Amazon is searching an alternative mail partner that will ensure as minimal disruption as possible to its services in the run up to the Christmas period, which is seen as vital after the recession. This could lead to Royal Mail losing a contract of a reported value of about £25 million (Amazon is the second largest client of Royal Mail). Apart from this, one needs to consider the extensive damage that these strikes are having on the brand of Royal Mail. While companies are starting to look at alternatives (which will give a boost to competition), many customers are trying to avoid Royal Mail as it is slow and inefficient.

In my opinion, although the company should not give in to any request made by Unions (who sometimes use strike measures as a threatening tool), it must sit around a table with the representative of its employees and Unions and try to find a solutions as quickly as possible. The sooner this is done the less the harm Royal Mail will suffer...Should it decide to wait and see it might face a higher damage then if it gave in to union request.

P.S. This will be my last article for the next two weeks as I won't be having access to Internet...will see you soon.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Diageo withdraw legal actions against Sainsbury

Some time ago I had written about the case where Diageo, the company which owns Pimm's, had initiated legal action against supermaket giant Sainsbury. Today we have more news about the the time I had asked who will win the game, will it be the supplier or the distributor. The answer is that an amicable deal was reached as probably the threat was too large for Diageo.

Diageo who started legal proceedings against Sainsbury's in August over Pitcher's, was resolved last week. Sainsbury's can continue to sell the Pitcher's brand, but will add its name to the label and change the colouring from gold to orange. Sainsburys' own brand Pitcher's is cheaper than Pimm's and is currently priced at £10.79 for a single 70cl bottle on the Sainsbury's website.

In a joint statement the two companies said that Diageo and Sainsbury's are pleased to confirm that the dispute regarding Diageo's Pimm's brand and Sainsbury's Pitchers brand has been amicably settled and the legal proceedings withdrawn. Both companies are very pleased with the outcome and look forward to continuing our strong trading relationship

Before this amicable deal, things did not look good at all as Diageo had issues a statement in August saying that they can confirm that they had initiated legal proceedings against Sainsbury's in relation to an intellectual property matter. However Sainsbury dug its heels in and replied back with its own statement saying that they intended to vigorously defend themselves against these allegations. They claimed that customers are savvy enough to know exactly what they're buying.

The saga has come to an end but there could be other companies who try to go down this route to defend their brands...there will always be a power struggle however in these cases an amicable deal is always worth it for both brands!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Woolworths set for revival

I was reading an interesting article on the big brands which went bust during the credit crunch over the past year. I remember it all started with the fall of the banks and Woolworths. It was headline news everywhere, the big and long surviving brand lost it's battle...however the economy is recovering and new stores are opening was here that I read that even Woolworth's is being reopened (in it's brick and mortar format) and it seeks to relaunch under the new name 'Alworths'. Could this be the proof of the end of the recession?

The idea is the brainchild of former Woolworths commercial director Tony Page, former UBS banker Gareth Thomas and former Woolworths store development manager Andy Latham.The Independent claims the plan is set for the launch of 50 stores, which will be Woolworths in all but name.

However problems started to merge as Page will not be involved in the new launch and is now threatening legal action against Latham who is set to launch the store on his own. According to the Indipendent, Alworths stores are set to open in Didcot in Oxfordshire, Faversham in Kent and Wokingham in Berkshire. The new chain will not be able to sell Woolworths' former own-brand products which have been bought by various chains including Argos (which bought Chad Valley toy range) and Shop Direct (which bought the Ladybird childrenswear brand).