in retail marketing, the window is back

Source: in retail marketing, the window is back



It is said that audiences seek great content no matter who produces it, where it comes from or which media device they use. This is the main justification for native content. Yet, with the ongoing popularity of ad blocking technologies, marketers need to realize that their is another side to this. People will actively avoid content they don’t want. And in large part, that it advertising content.

Google: the critical marketing company

It is funny how things turn out – a point made movingly by Steve Job’s before his death. This is why I’m always skeptical of people who say business research has to support and congratulate business to be productive. And believe it or not there are plenty of people (often highly paid in top universities) who do say this. It is one of the reasons any academic research label “critical” gets marginalised.

But wait.

Google is an incredibly successful company. As is made clear in its recent corporate re-structuring, it is also predominantly an advertising company. Perhaps it is the most successful advertising company ever. Yet, ironically, it began as a critical marketing project.

In their paper which introduced the Google search engine, Brin and Page were highly critical of the influence of advertising on the web. In fact, this is listed as one of the key motivations for developing a new search engine. The very first paragraph of the paper tells us that they set out to overcome: ‘some advertisers attempt[s] to gain people’s attention by taking measures meant to mislead automated search engines’. They go on to critique the effects of an ‘advertising business model’ on the quality of web searches. They even stated that ‘advertising income often provides an incentive to provide poor quality search results’. And concluded that ‘advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers … In general, it could be argued from the consumer point of view that the better the search engine is, the fewer advertisements will be needed for the consumer to find what they want’.

In this case, the freedom to critique and question the advertising business model allowed Brin and Page the ability to understand it better and to exploit their understanding. Why do we not see similar arguments in top marketing journals?

Taste the bush

I love a pun as much as the next man but this is really, really, really terrible. For a start the ad is like something from the Apprentice – including the acting – and the “pay-off” is just awful.

I’m not convinced this conforms to the CAP Code. But again I just can’t help but picture the meeting where they sold this to their client:

Account exe: “What image does Premier Wines want to project to the world?”

Brand manager: “That we supply high quality wines at a reasonable price to take your taste buds on a journey”.

Account exe: “Or… we could go with a bullshit pun about oral sex.”

Brand manager: “Oh right and what will that do?”

Account exe: “It’ll stand a much better chance of going viral especially if we get a model to pose in a skin tone dress so it looks a bit like she’s naked if you watch it on a mobile?”

Brand manager: “And bloggers will write about it on Tiwtter? That’s meant to be good marketing.”

Account exe: ‘Yes, bloggers will write about it. They’ll say how funny and daring it is”.

And you know what, they were part right. I’ve written about it. But it’s not daring or funny. It’s rubbish.

But it looked great on the screen – cover your home in a dick

Click dick … what’s the difference? Not too much when you are reading from an iMac (like me). But it turns out the difference is pretty big on a billboard and can make you look like a right clickhead. This is an oldie but a goodie. It also turns out to be a pretty good ad. I remember esurance.

Newsjacking by idiots

A few years ago “newsjacking” caught the some ad industry headlines. Put simply, it involves brands trying to steal attention from a news event. Oreo’s did it well and won many awards for their ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ tweet when the lights went out at the Superbowl. But it’s not as easy as reading a newspaper/social feed on your iPhone during your daily commute. Here’s some terrible executions:

Kurl-On Mattresses:

Imagine the pitch meeting… Account exe: “Nothing says quality bed brand than the thought of a young girl being shot in the face on her way to school by the Taliban right?’. Brand manager: ‘Of course’.

Yes, a mattress company used Malala Yousafzai in an execution for their ‘Bounce back’ campaign.

Get some ethics.


Imagine the pitch meeting … Account exe: ‘People are pouring ice on them to show support and raise money for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Rather than quietly donate money to a good cause, we could turn that good cause into good marketing. This is a great opportunity to show that Samsung phones are more water resistant than their rivals’. Brand manager: ‘I heard my niece talk about JLS. Let’s do it’.

And they did.



Just horrible.