Are you excited about the Soccer World Cup?

soccerWith less than a month to go has the Soccer World Cup grabbed your attention? If you’re living in Australia than the answer is probably a no!

We’re coming into our winter months where the local Footy (Aussie rules) and Rugby competitions dominate our media airways and attention.

I’ve been really surprised with the build-up to this Soccer World Cup. Granted we’ve got a month to go and fewer superstars in our national team, but I would’ve expected more buzz. To date, I’ve only seen one TV commercial by the official partner Hyundai promoting the World Cup and no Social Media campaigns or competitions.

Similar to Super Bowl ads in America, Soccer World Cup TV commercials by the main sporting brands are eagerly anticipated. Nike and Adidas have released YouTube ads showcasing the soccer stars of the upcoming event. We haven’t seen them here, but shortened versions of the ads may have been shown on TV in overseas markets.

Being a football (soccer) fan, I’ve been following the Socceroos every move, our 30 man squad was named last week. Australia is in one of the groups of ‘death’, with games against Spain, Netherlands and Chile. We’ll be happy with a draw!

FIFA strictly controls the marketing of the event. Unless you’ve paid millions of dollars to FIFA to be an official sponsor you cannot reference ‘Soccer World Cup’ in your advertising activity. There’s actually over 10 variations of the words ‘World Cup’ you cannot use in your advertising, including logos, click here for the brand guidelines and go to page 8 for the restrictions. The advertising restrictions are similar to the Olympics.

Looking at FIFA’s World Cup website and Google’s Play store it is hard to work out if there’s an official App for the tournament. There’s the standard FIFA App, but you think they would make one for the tournament. If there is one, they’re not making it easy to find. There’s no shortage of unofficial World Cup Apps.

The Technical Lead at work has been playing with Adidas’ FIFA World Cup App, which adds wallpapers of the soccer fields and gives score updates. I get the feeling the developers had a field day with the features in this App. There doesn’t seem to be any other World Cup Apps by the other major sponsors.

Expect marketing activity from Qantas, Coke, McDonalds and other brands to kick-off shortly. With the other footy codes controlling the purse strings it’s hard to see the Soccer World Cup dominating the back pages of the papers until the event starts. History shows us the country unites behind the Socceroos (Aussies) and the ‘world game’ once the tournament begins. Bring on the Soccer World Cup!


Drug companies not connecting online with sick people

Drugs from the weekOver the last 9 days I’ve been suffering with the flu! Yes, it’s been a time of reflection and feeling sorry for myself. It’s been a while since I’ve been this sick, but apparently it’s going around Melbourne. I’ve quickly learnt that cold and flu tablets do nothing except mask the pain. One of the drug company’s tagline ‘solider on’, makes me cringe because it’s encourages people to get back to work, but in reality it’s helping to spread the virus!

Over the week I’ve spent a fair bit of time on Google looking for remedies and cures. I’ve tried to include garlic and ginger in every I eat and drink. Last night I even drank a glass of water with Apple Cider Vinegar.

While searching Google for ‘how long does the flu last?’ (one of many search queries) I was amazed to see none of the major drug companies on the first page of the results. The first page was full of health and news websites. This is a missed opportunity for the drug companies to be connecting with sick people.

Not only are we looking for tips on how to get better, but looking for validation that we’re not the only people going through this! Sponsored forums would be an excellent place to start, where people can share and have experts (doctors) occasionally moderating the page. At the very least, the drug companies should have content on their sites that captures what people are searching online.

Google trends is one way governments and organisations are tracking the flu season and it looks like I’m not the only person searching for help this April!

Goole Trends - flu virus

Goole Trends – flu


Global Marketer Conference – Highlights – Sydney 26th March 2014

AANA - GMCLast week I attended the Global Marketer Conference in Sydney hosted by the Australian Advertising Network of Australia (AANA). The event was attended by marketers from all over the world. A cocktail party with views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge kicked off the event in style. But, the global line up of speakers was what everyone came for, this included Marc Mathieu from Unilever, Michael Birkin of Acer computers, James Thompson of Diageo Reserve, Michelle Froah of Kimberly-Clark, John Kearon of Brainjuicer, Ed Sanders of Google, Colin Currie of Adidas and British advertising legend Sir John Hegarty of Bartle Bogel Hegarty (BBH).

Like at all events, there is always so much going on and lots to take in. Looking back at my notebook the scribbles resemble something you would find at a kindergarten. Luckily the insights were memorable making it is easy to document.

The underlining theme of the event was to remember we’re marketing to ‘humans’ not consumers.

This point was repeatedly mentioned by the speakers one-way or another. Making human beings the ‘hero’ (central focus) of products is a big focus. And personalisation should not be just for the rich and famous. James Thompson from Diageo Reserve mentioned that users are looking for meaning from mass produced products. Online content is one way brands are making this personal connection with clients.

Having a purpose other than monetary was another big talking point at the conference. Purpose motivates human behaviour. Marc Mathieu from Unilever said ‘A brand without a purpose is just a billboard’. Unilever’s Dove soap helps women feel more self-confident and empowered in much the same way Lynx’s deodorant does for men. In Lynx’s latest TV commercial, the brand is encouraging peace not war.

Behavioural science was another area discussed. John Kearon from market research company BrainJuicer challenged our thinking that humans don’t actually put a lot of thought in to our decision making. In reality, we think less then we think. In time sensitive situations we are more inclined to revert to our instincts (unconscious behaviour) and use our left-side of the brain.

John challenged the marketers in the room to look at things differently. Consumers thought process is made up of 3 steps:

  1. Framing – no decision made out of context. Luxury car makers sell more cars at boat shows because cars seem cheap compared with boats.
  2. Copying – we copy everything/ everyone (herd mentality). E-commerce websites do this very well with ‘recommended buys’.
  3. Feeling – if people feel nothing, they will do nothing. The importance of brands having a purpose. It’s important to make people feel something.

Sir John Hegarty closed out the conference with his insightful and entertaining talk. It was refreshing to hear him say that he doesn’t understand why marketers don’t want to make things better! John left us with 5 tips:

  1. Broadcast – branding is remembered by the person who doesn’t buy your product.
  2. Risk – forget the word, it should be exciting.
  3. Consistency – avoid changing the message.
  4. Tell the truth – self explanatory.
  5. Passionate – believe in the product.

Bitcoin is everywhere, even in Tasmania!

PX Tapas - bitcoinI just got back from a 2 week break in Tasmania. The island is an amazing place. The scenery, wildlife, food and drink are all divine. I was last there when I was a wee lad so was excited to visit the place and it didn’t disappoint.

We were lucky enough to catch the end of the Taste of Tasmania. In its 24th year the food festival celebrates local produce. Working in the digital industry I was excited to see the promotion of the event’s hashtag #tasteoftasmania it was posted on all signage. Instagram looked to be the most popular platform with 1,411 posts. A suggestion for next year’s event is to have free wi-fi and run a photo competition.

Driving around Tasmania I wasn’t expecting the state to be fully digital. But I nearly fell off my seat in Launceston when I saw the cafe (PX Tapas on George st) I was eating breakfast at was accepting Bitcoin. Not sure if many people know much about it, but it was great to see the sticker! ABC’s 730 TV show had an informative segment on Bitcoin last week and featured a couple of cafes and businesses in Australia using the digital currency.

With limited tourism budget, Social Media is definitely the channel the Tasmanian government and local businesses should be utilising.  Now that I’m back on the mainland I’ve researched some brands using Facebook and there are some tourism pages doing a good job posting fan photos, but overall it seems to be underutilised. With so many tourists from all over the world, the opportunities to get free/low cost publicity is untapped. Sure you will need to spend some money on advertising, but this will help with the reach of content. While it’s fresh in my mind I will write a couple more posts on my Tasmanian trip.

Is this the best billboard ever?

Probably not, but with the cricket score on it last weekend it sure would come close! Just in time for the Ashes cricket series (Australia vs England) a new billboard appeared on my drive to work.

Victoria Bitter (VB), a classic Aussie beer has launched its summer campaign with a live cricket scoreboard billboard – drivers passing by get live cricket updates. The design of the billboard looks like a vintage cricket scoreboard from the good old days (eg. Adelaide Oval). The company is giving away mini versions of the billboard that give live updates with special purchases of VB cartons (slabs).

The billboards are in Melbourne (St Kilda), Sydney and Brisbane. I think it’s a brilliant campaign! Let’s hope the rest of the series continues like Brisbane. #cmon #aussies #ashes


Media has a role in educating about racism

Mountain DewRacism has reared its ugly head this week in Australia. Last week’s Australian Football League (AFL) round was meant to be a celebration of Indigenous culture, however an incident by a supporter took the shine off the round. Aboriginal football star, Adam Goodes was subjected to racial slurs and was also involved in another incident during the week when media personality and AFL club president, Eddie McGuire suggested Goodes should help promote the upcoming King Kong musical.

Looking at the conversation that followed its evident that Anglo Australians have a lack of understanding of derogatory terms and the impact racism has on people. Television host, Michael Leach from television show Offsiders summed it up well this morning when he said that we haven’t had the same conversation American has had on the topic. I have to agree with him. It would be great if McGuire used his media influence to lead this conversation.

The topic got me thinking about racism on television. Over the years advertisers have been labelled racist due to insensitive adverts. A recent online commercial in America for Mountain Dew was pulled due to stereotyping black males as criminals. The ad was produced by Tyler, an African-American rapper. Some people claimed the ad was the most racist ever.

In Australia KFC was forced to pull its TV commercial last summer due to racism claims. In the commercial white cricket fans offered West Indian supporter’s fried chicken at a cricket game. The advert made it all the way to the United States where Americans labelled Australians racist because the ad insinuated that African Americans eat a lot of fried chicken.

What’s been good to see recently in Australian is the use of non-white characters in commercials. Marketers have finally caught on that Australia is a multicultural place! Now we just need television shows to do the same and be more racially diverse

What’s in a name? Are you tempted by V Energy’s latest flavour?

V Not OrangeNew Zealand beverage company Frucor, manufacturer of V-Energy drinks has added a limited edition ‘V Not Orange’ flavour to its range. Just as consumer tastebuds started to move away from cold caffeinated drinks to hot beverages, V Energy needed a product to keep interest in their range during the cooler autumn and winter months.

Limited edition product releases are intended to create awareness and boost sales during quiet periods. The marketing guys at V Energy have come up with some great campaigns over the years, but had their latest campaign achieved their objective?

The smarts behind this product release is in its name, ‘V Not Orange’. Having not tried the new flavour I was curious to find out what people online were saying about the taste. Blogger Chris Jager, a self-confessed lover of V Energy drinks taste tested the product on the blog, Lifehacker. He scored the product 8 out of 10. The flavour of the drink was a combination of eating handful of jellybeans with a slight orange after taste, Jager commented.

A post on V Energy’s Facebook page on the 8th April asked fans what they thought of the new flavour generated 955 comments and over 7,000 likes. While the new flavour generated a mixed response, what was more interesting was the discussion around the name of the new product; it was a real conversation starter which most likely extended offline. To promote the new flavour V Energy is running a competition on its Facebook page, fans can win a trip to LA and weekly product prizes. Entrants must upload an image of fans photo bombing shots with the new flavour. Due to the design of the App it is hard to gauge how many people have entered the competition.

Working at an online marketing agency it’s not unusual to see developers sipping on energy drinks, however I hadn’t seen anyone try the new V Energy flavour. While waiting for our food at the pub on Friday the conversation turned to if anyone had tried the new V Not Orange drink and the merits of the marketing campaign behind it (I decided to write this article based on that discussion).

No one had tried it, but the very fact that everyone was talking about it was evidence that the marketing guys at V had achieved their goal of achieving awareness. Will this translate into trialling the product is yet to been seen, but I would say 35% of V drinkers that know about the product would most likely trial the new flavour out of pure curiosity. And that would be enough to keep sales going until the appetite for cold drinks returns in spring.

What’s the difference between marketing strategies and tactics?

ImageMany newbies and experienced marketers confuse strategies for tactics. This is quite common in the digital industry, especially social media, which is full of savvy social media users, but most times they don’t see the big picture and deal with just the tactical execution.

Strategies are a subset of your business goals. Tactics are the actions taken to achieve the goals. Everything starts with the business goals, for example grow sales by 20% this financial year. These are the high level targets for the business. Strategies explain how you will achieve the goals.

Like most organisations, soft drink/ soda manufacturers would look to grow sales, but in a saturated market they would look at other food lines/ categories to achieve their goals. The ice-cream category is often used by soft drink manufacturers to broaden their sales. Ribena, a popular blackcurrant drink has released an ice-block product.

Ribena would have done their market research and understood their target market likes to keep cool in summer and ice-blocks fit that need. Research probably also told them that consumers for years had been creating their own version of Ribena ice-blocks by freezing the juice at home. In addition the ice-cream confectionary market has been growing steadily as a result of hotter and more prolonged summers.

When it came to tactics, Ribena would have most likely used a combination of television and print advertisements and social media to promote the new product. Social media is used a lot these days to launch a product, for example a simple 25 words or less competition is good way to generate interest in a new product. Once brands have built-up a good following on social media they can leverage this for product launches.

Now I’m not sure of the success of Ribena’s ice-block product, but if you want a better example check-out the blog ‘Brand Insight Blog’, John Ferguson references the famous ‘Arm & Hammer baking soda’ example.

First blog post to launch Jimmy’s Marketing news

Welcome to Jimmy’s Marketing News blog, a place where I will discuss marketing theories, digital, social media and comment on advertising that catches my eye. Jimmy

Why start a blog, it’s something I’ve meant to do for a while. Previously I had a travel blog, but got lazy and don’t get to travel as much anymore. With over 5 years of digital experience it’s time to get my thoughts down. In Trevor Young’s latest book microDOMINATION, he explains the benefits of having a blog.

I write this while watching Celebrity Apprentice, the episode where they launch the new Tim Tams treat pack range. Comedian and ex-marketer Peter Berner and PR expert Roxy Jackenko were the project managers. I have to say, what a great way to launch a new product! Looking at the Twitter stream, everyone is craving Tim Tams. I wonder how much Arnott’s spent to launch their product to a national audience! Looking purely from a PR and social media ROI perspective, I have a feeling they’ve recouped their investment!

Both teams held events in Sydney’s Pitt street mall. In the boardroom the gloves came off and the attacks were sustained! I admire celebrities who participate in shows like Celebrity Apprentice.  Sure they get plenty of personal brand awareness, but if things go wrong it’s not pretty and surely damages some credibility. In the end the ladies won the Tim Tams challenge, $40k was donated to charity.

Watching television while trying to write is not that productive, but I hope you enjoyed my first blog post. I plan to write at least one article per week so check back soon.