Monday, November 30, 2009

Droids in Times Square and Live-in shopfronts at 5th avenue

As businesses look towards the holiday season, we've had some interesting promotions in the US following Black Friday, the first Friday after Thanksgiving which marks the beginning of the retail silly season.

Google Android started off with a Times Square display of their new Droid's ability to do voice searches over Google. In the campaign, Google showcases the features that iPhones don't have. People in Times Square were able to speak to the display and have Google search their query on a big screen, powered by Droid.

Also another Great Strategy can be found at XOXO clothing store on 5th Avenue, New York has taken shopfront displays to another (lower?) level. Not only does their shopfront feature real women, they spend much of their time trying on different outfits available in XOXO and another proportion of their time just sitting around in.. not much. It sure draws a crowd but I wonder how many women then decide to buy something from XOXO after they see the clothes modelled in the shopfront. Go to to read or view more on this ad campaign.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

iSnack 2.0 - it had to be said

Ok we have not blogged for a while but everyone in the blogosphere must mention something about iSnack 2.0 and so here we are, doing the inevitable and ready to lambast the collective wisdom of the competition panel (whoever they were) selecting such a moronic name as iSnack 2.0.

Many bloggers and marketing commentators floated the idea that it may have been great strategy to pick a crap name and create a talking point for everyone gathered together to watch the AFL finals. Think about it, this point has merits. Apart from the mental reluctance to conclude that someone consciously thought that iSnack was a real good name, we have to consider that the launch of this name happened during the AFL finals. A major fail would be to pick a neutral name that washes off the brain before the next ad break so picking a contraversial name could have been a master stroke to ensure that the 2.95 million people watching the game would start talking about Vegemite than the Cats. Think about how many people you know who DOESN'T know that:
  • There is a new vegemite
  • It has a crap name 
  • There's cheese mixed in with vegemite
And how many people wondered aloud to you what it would taste like?

Considering they did an online vote for the new name to replace iSnack 2.0 also may be a hint that they knew what they were doing. After all, it was the Web 2.0 interactivity that decided the final name. How many people voted in the online poll? 30,000 in 3 days. 751 mentions of Vegemite in Google News just in the last 24 hours. Not bad. And the new name - Vegemite Cheesybite. Didn't we see this coming before the competition?

Monday, September 21, 2009

440ml Coke Cans and Bottles

As a means of upgrading the spend per person, Coca-Cola has decided to move drinkers of the 375ml cans and 390ml bottles to 440ml. The cans have already started to appear in IGA as "AFL cans" and the bottles should be appearing in distribution chains soon.

If you are the first to notice one of these drinks, leave a comment with a link to your picture.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Highlights of the Week - Nando's Chaser Bruno launch

Whilst the Chaser's War on Everything signed an agreement not to interfere with the Bruno launch, the Sphere Agency led the charge, bringing in a fake Bruno flanked with an entourage of semi-clad models to promote Nando's Chicken, an Australian Portuguese chicken fast food chain. Two posters were held up that said "This year's hottest chicks are covered in peri-peri" and while the fake Bruno was being dragged away, the remaining models poured sauce all over themselves standing on the podium set up for the real Bruno.

Considering the number of cameras and videos being shot of this incident, it was a stroke of genius from an Australian advertising agency that has made headlines in other parts of the world like the New York Daily News, Toronto Sun and even Brazilian media. However, most outlets did not want to mention the fast food chain responsible for the best punk'd premiere.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Highlights of the Week - Perth Hero's in Pizza wars

Like many of you, I get excited when I see a company doing that little bit more to drive business their way. I am of course talking about Hero's Pizza in Perth. The pizza market in Australia is already very crowded, with smaller operators having to think beyond sticking a sign on the top of their shop and hoping people stumble in so there is nothing like a small pizza shop taking it to the big boys in town with their all-out efforts to market their dough. They stop short of putting up a road closed sign on Canning Hwy in order to get people to get a pizza before they realise that they didn't actually want one.

Underwear Outside on - if you want $5 off your pizza, turn up at the shop wearing your underwear on the outside. Here are a few that beat you to it.

Ongoing Winners wall - The website has a winners picture gallery of people who have recently won their pizza.

Quality guarantee - If the pizza is not bigger, better and fresher, you get it free.

Everyone loves gamble - Every time you buy a pizza, you get to spin the wheel for a chance to win a free pizza. The website claims that they have given away $34,262 worth of pizza so far.

FREE stuff - While waiting for your pizza, they offer free coffee, tea and slushy drinks while you wait and I think arcade games as well.

Massive signage - When business is slow, they hire a roadworks wheelie sign to direct all traffic to Hero's Pizza from Canning Hwy, one of the main arteries in Perth.

Merchandise - Nothing says you need to get with the "Jones" like an offering of merchandise to die-hard fans. To push you that little further to buy your own Hero's underwear, they run promotions to give discounts to those that bought into their success, maybe to reduce the buyers remorse you may suffer when your friends don't think that your Hero's visor is as cool as it looked in the shop.

There are very few businesses that make such an effort on their doorstop to bring in customers. We all have those streets in our cities (eg James St in Perth and Lygon St in Melbourne) where people are hounded as they walk past but many businesses sit there and wait, hoping that someone would walk in to buy their kebab or whatever. I can imagine the owner of Hero's frantically pacing up and down at any moment there are no customers sipping their free slushy. We need more business owners like that.

One admission from me is that I haven't actually tried their pizza. But their effort so far certainly wins a gold star from Great Strategy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Twittering Up Your Profile - Perez Hilton v John Mayer

As I'm typing this blog, Perez Hilton and John Mayer are exchanging tweets since the incident where Perez Hilton was punched in the face by a tour manager for of the Black Eyed Peas. Usually, what celebrities say is filtered by their publicists and spin doctors and this is the reason why Twitter has become a major promo opportunity for people like John Mayer. John decided to send Perez a few pointers like offering to train him in an old martial art called "Never Call A Black Dude a Faggot Jitsu."

Meanwhile, Perez Hilton has been increasing in mentions on twitter by users around the world and hey, even blogs like this one. Who are the winners? Perez Hilton and John Mayer. As the textual stoush is being played out, more and more twitter users are "following" the two to get updates on their twitter account. So how much did this extra publicity cost the two celebs? Nothing. Perhaps one hour of their time.

The instant access that Twitter gives to companies and their "followers" makes it a very powerful marketing tool and one that you need to know how to use well in order to prevent a major backlash from users, like the one Perez might get if he doesn't play his cards right engaging Mayer and his jitsu.

In the time this blog was posted, Perez increased his following by 207 people and John Mayer ended his 1 on 1 with this:

@PerezHilton Good night Perez, you dumb s***. #perezisokbyme

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Highlights of the Week - Uni Loonies Wildcats Marketing Juggernaut

It was a simple idea, but a marketing stroke of genius in sporting history. We're talking about the Uni Loonies, the Perth Wildcats rent-a-crowd supporters who took up complimentary front row tickets to the Perth Wildcats games in exchange for a menacing and contagious presence in the stadium.

Australian Luc Longley, playmate of Michael Jordan and former owner of the Perth Wildcats brought back the idea of the Uni Loonies to Perth when he saw raucous and parochial fans in the US college basketball scene. University students with little to lose would be encouraged to encourage mob mentality against visiting teams in the Perth Entertainment Centre. The result -
  • a massive increase in crowd attendance for the 1999/2000 season,
  • 12-1 win rate for the Wildcats at home,
  • a national award for a television story done on the Uni Loonies
  • free radio and press coverage of Wildcats games
  • and of course, the championship celebrated appropriately on home turf.
Admittedly, I think the Uni Loonies supporters idea was a great strategy because I got free season tickets to the Wildcats and I was involved in coming up with most of the ideas that the Uni Loonies did that season. Surrounded by likeminded fans who would look at you if you weren't chanting with them, rather than the other way around, we egged each other on and made the Entertainment Centre a fearful place for teams. It became a little embarrassing for lukewarm fans too.. imagine three rows of people pointing in your direction because you weren't standing up to support the team.

How to kill a good idea? Get greedy. The Wildcats administration decided to charge us a nominal price for season tickets the next season. That immediately had a massively dampening effect on the enthusiasm of the Uni Loonies. They became like other fans, bandwagon jumpers - cheering on the team when they were doing well, waning support when the team needed the support most. The Wildcats may have received around $4000 in ticket sales from us, but lost the immeasurable effect of turning the Loonies into crowd-pleasers.

Why did it work? The Uni Loonies were given complimentary tickets with the condition that they support the team vocally. This gave the fans more ownership of the team than ever before. If the team lost, these fans would realise they had a part to play in the loss. As a "sixth man" on the court, the Loonies would do anything to help the team win and bring in the involvement of the rest of the crowd. Without perceived ownership, fans become just spectators.

I've decided to post some articles on the Uni Loonies separately as this is getting long, so you can read more about what the press said about the Uni Loonies here. Photos will be posted soon as well.

"The West Australian" Articles on Wildcats' Uni Loonies in 1999/2000

How to make attendance increase 22% in one season

Newspaper articles about the Perth Wildcats in the 1999/2000 season.
Survival Priority For Titans
Dave Hughes
492 words
12 April 2000
The West Australian
Copyright West Australian Newspapers Limited, all rights reserved.
LAST roll of the dice for the Victoria Titans? Uh-uh. Try last roll of the hand grenade.
Expect an explosive reaction from the Titans to last Friday's six-point loss to the Perth Wildcats when the best-of-three National Basketball League grand finals resume at the Perth Entertainment Centre tonight.
Perth, 15-1 in front of its fanatical supporters this season, is shooting for a record fourth championship title.
The Titans, though, are shooting for survival - and if anyone can appreciate the consequences of desperation, it is the Wildcats. Tonight's antagonists have had to extricate themselves from awkward situations in the elimination and semi-finals.
Both fought back from a game down in the first round of the play-offs and both survived a hostile environment to win the deciding semi-final.
Impressive as it is, the Wildcats' home-court record does not guarantee them victory against a team that has consistently proved its resilience this season.
The Perth players acknowledged this by keeping their emotions in check after last Friday's hard-fought win at Melbourne Park.
They know the Titans will be a tougher proposition tonight because it is unlikely that players like Darryl McDonald, Jason Smith and Ben Pepper will have another off-night.
Victoria coach Brian Goorjian knows as well as anyone that improved defence and rebounding are critical to his side extending the series to a decider on Friday.
The Titans got hammered on the backboards in game one and it was Perth that produced the only significant period of sustained defence, holding the Titans to 12 points in the third term, while scoring 22 themselves.
Despite Perth's caution, the Titans' task is ... well ... titanic.
Just as several Victoria players will expect to make a more significant contribution, so, too, will Wildcats captain Andrew Vlahov.
Titans forward Tony Ronaldson lit him up like a display window for 25 points and it is inconceivable the Perth captain will allow that to re-occur.
The Wildcats will also enjoy their own rims. They do not find Melbourne Park a shooter-friendly environment and will expect to record a better percentage tonight.
Equally, the Wildcats will enjoy their home crowd. The Uni Loonies and Hawaiian Boys create an intimidating atmosphere for visiting teams and the bedlam they create is sufficiently infectious to spread to the back row.
Victoria will have to disrupt the Paul Rogers-Ricky Grace connection that dominated game one. Rogers, who on Monday became the first Perth representative to win the league's Most Valuable Player honour, should again dominate the keyway and Grace's ability to control the tempo is pivotal.
Although Perth will want to meet Victoria's assault head on, it must do so with controlled aggression. Foul trouble nearly cost it game one, with Grace and Vlahov teetering on the brink with five fouls and the Titans taking 14 more free throws.
How'd You Go?
Dave Hughes
573 words
10 April 2000
The West Australian
Copyright West Australian Newspapers Limited, all rights reserved.
THE Uni Loonies have the better name, but the Hawaiian Boys have an impromptu Melbourne chapter.
The two groups sit behind the baskets at either end of the court at Perth Wildcats home games and give considerable stick to opposing teams in general and one player in particular.
The Loonies, from Murdoch, win the award for the best sledge for their "Rillie is a tape worm" chant, directed at West Sydney's skinny, shaven-headed shooter during the elimination finals.
UWA's Hawaiian Boys take the sartorial honours, if only for catching the eye of Melbourne-based Wildcats fans during telecasts from the Entertainment Centre.
Document twau000020010828dw4a003gd
How'd You Go?
Dave Hughes
574 words
1 February 2000
The West Australian
Copyright West Australian Newspapers Limited, all rights reserved.
IT'S official. The bounce is back in basketball, especially in Perth.
The National Basketball League recently completed its mid-season audit of crowd numbers, something which in recent years has caused officials to shudder violently and reluctantly peep at the findings through their fingers.
This summer, however, the attendance figures were accompanied, not by groans, but by the popping of corks. The increase from last season was 15 per cent.
Admittedly, the gain was achieved in part by the near sell-out for the opening of the monster Olympic venue at Homebush in Sydney and the arrival in the league of Cairns.
And nowhere have crowds risen more than at the Perth Entertainment Centre. The Wildcats have been playing to a 22 per cent bigger audience since Andrew Vlahov and Luc Longley bought a controlling interest in the club and set about winning back the fans.
No Place Like Home For The Wildcats
Dave Hughes
485 words
15 January 2000
The West Australian
Copyright West Australian Newspapers Limited, all rights reserved.
When Andrew Vlahov and Luc Longley bought a controlling stake in the Wildcats last August, they determined that one of their key points to revitalise the moribund club was to emphasise a basic tenant of professional sport: win at home.
The considerable home-court advantage the Wildcats once enjoyed had all but evaporated. The frenzied, house-full atmosphere which helped the Wildcats to 12-1 records at home in 1991 and 1993 had faded to the indifference of a half-empty stadium and a barely tolerable 7-6 mark in Perth last season.
To rectify this, Longley suggested that ticket prices be cut to lure back the families and that free tickets be given to several hundred local students who, in essence, would be required to sing for their supper. Loudly.
Longley was seeking to recreate the crowd frenzy of US college basketball, hence the formation of the Uni Loonies from Murdoch, who sit behind one basket, and the Hawaiian Gang from UWA, who sit behind the other.
The Uni Loonies frequent the same website where they plan their game-night chants and activities.
They target a specific opposition player and harass him from the time he steps on the court to warm up to his final exit to the change room.
"It's got to be intimidating for opponents," said Vlahov.
"The students have been fantastic. They get everyone else going and the place is as noisy as it was when I first came into the league."
Only one NBL team has been unbeaten at home in the 1990s - the now defunct Magic, who went 12-0 in Melbourne in 1992.
Document twau000020010828dw1f00ouf

Our article about the Loonies here

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Highlights of the Week - Your Generation

What do you do when you want to increase your TV audience? Increase the target audience.
What if you don't want to dilute your current demographic appeal? Specifically target other demographics.

If you don't get we're talking about, we're talking about the Channel 10 show "Talkin' 'bout your Generation". The show pits two representatives of three different "generations" against each other to answer questions about everything. Baby Boomers vs Generation X vs Generation Y. From the facebook groups, social commentators would have noticed the huge appeal of reminiscing of the good ol' days whether they be the 70's, 80's or 90's. Its seeing slinkys and hypercolour t-shirts that puts smiles on some people's faces, bemused faces and then followed by "you had to be there" attitudes to the generations that missed out.

Talkin' 'bout Your Generation has averaged 1.3m+ viewers each episode which indicates that someone has hit the right formula with this show. Add to it the expert hosting by Shaun Micallef and a panel of comedians from all the eras, this show has lots still to give. My prediction is that this sort of TV show will be produced more in the coming months where the different "eras" go against each other whilst advertisers laugh their way to the bank.

Tuesday’s (9/6/09) top 15 shows:

  1. Seven News - Seven 1.7m
  2. Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation - Ten 1.7m
  3. NCIS 8:30pm - Ten 1.6m
  4. The Zoo - Seven 1.5m
  5. A Current Affair - Nine 1.5m
  6. Today Tonight - Seven 1.4m
  7. Find My Family - Seven 1.4m
  8. Masterchef - Ten 1.4m
  9. Nine News - Nine 1.3m
  10. NCIS 9:30pm - Ten 1.3m
  11. Two and a Half Men 7pm - Nine 1.2m
  12. All Saints - Seven 1.2m
  13. Home and Away - Seven 1.2m
  14. Two and a Half Men 8:30pm - Nine 1.2m
  15. Two and a Half Men 9pm - Nine 1.1m

Edit: Can I just say, I told you so? Great Australian Cook-off

Monday, May 25, 2009

Everyday Rewards and Epumps

Many of us find it particularly exciting when they see a company leading in innovation and product development. Woolworths is no longer a groceries store but quickly becoming the corporate "corner store" and recently, its their petrol station revolution that has us blogging about today. 

Many of the Caltex Woolworths petrol stations are rolling out epumps (see locations here) which allow customers to pull up to a bowser, wave a credit card at the bowser, fill up and then drive away. No need to queue up, no need to get a receipt either because the receipt is emailled to your email account immediately. 

They've used the new epumps to also roll out: 
1. Everyday Money credit cards which give 10c off petrol so you can buy petrol at 98.9c in Perth
2. Everyday Rewards loyalty cards 
3. Subsequently causes you to see Woolworths stores as another opportunity to earn points. 
4. Makes you want to try out the self serve innovative woolworths check out stations in the City. 
5. Everyday Rewards website which has a communal suggestion box where people rate each others' suggestions and you can see how much you have saved shopping at woolworths etc

In a matter of one week signing up to the Everyday money credit card, I found myself at a Woolworths petrol station, shopping at woolworths and surfing on their website. That is one successful promotion.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Highlights of the week - SMSGlobal

When you have a competitive product, the challenge is to get that product out there. At the recent CeBIT expo, SMSGlobal were giving out cards offering 225 free sms when you sign up to SMS Global for free. That was the sort of deal people come back from expos with a smile on their face. 

Quickly, the offer became the  top offer on many bargain websites like OzBargain and TopBargain, increasing their publicity even more. I have no idea how many people signed up to SMS Global in the past week but I would not be surprised if 10,000+ people did. 

Once the 225 free sms are used up, users would find the 10c / SMS (cheaper if you order more than 100 sms in one go) a very reasonable price to continue using the service. Many of the triallers would definitely become paying customers, because: 

1. The price is right
2. They are already over the hurdle of signing up
3. The website offers many flexible ways of importing the mobile numbers from excel etc
4. You're happy. A happy customer is a good customer. Getting $22.50 worth of sms, puts a smilt on anyone's face. 
5. Many people don't know yet how to sms from their computer via their mobile phone so this will make life easier for them
6. You can make the sms come from a "Name" such as "Fred Flintstone", rather than just a random number. 

SMS global, good work! 

Twitter - why a bird sound makes so much noise

As someone who describes himself as quite internet savvy, I managed to resist the urge to join Twitter until only a month ago. I thought, what's the big deal about a social network that only allows you to update 160 characters at a time? You can't even put the URL links in that you are talking about, without turning it into a TinyUrl. 

So I joined twitter with two eyes open to identify what the big deal is, after Ashton Kutcher was the first Twitter account to have 1,000,000 million followers. 

Here are some things I found interesting about twitter, which are relevant to marketing people:

1. Twitter allows you to update your customers subliminally. Every time they log on to twitter, they see your company name and your updates.
2. Twitter increases your customer loyalty. You are talking to people at a personal level with twitter, even if you are a bank. 
3. Twitter allows you to search your company name  to see what people are saying about your company. (eg Getting a lot of "steak is crap at Harry's" twitter updates.. then its time to rethink that recipe)
4. Twitter can grow your following very quickly.
5. Twitter breaks down the barrier between company and Generation Z, who don't go to a store counter or call up on the phone. 

I'm still looking so these are some things I have found. 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Highlights of the week - Ubank

NAB's subsidiary which has aimed at the younger generation, getting itself on twitter and facebook. Recently offered free 1GB thumb drives to the first 1000 followers on Twitter. One week later, they still have 1,200 followers and they are giving daily updates about their call centre and other "behind the scenes stuff" and replying to individual twitterers which makes the bank a more friendly face on the net.

So what does a bank do with people following them? Have a look here or here are some of their twitters:

@jessnichols You're definitely on our list, hope our emails are not hitting your spam folder, it'll be posted soon. Thanks for touching base from web

Hello to all 1,300 of our Twitter friends. Thanks so much for for tuning in. Share your feedback anytime to @UBank, DM or from web

Hello, We've emailed all registrants for the UBank 1GB USB Drive, check your inbox folks, some of you may have some info to confirm. Thanks. from web

Why do we follow you when you follow us? It's simple. If you take the time to listen to us, we try our best to reciprocate. Tweet soon. from web

RT @bankingreview 7 tips on how to improve your financial knowledge and save money using Twitter Features @UBank... from web

An update for those *still* waiting for an email from us regarding USBs, we're running a bit behind with that, it'll be out later today, thx from web

The NAB website has a great little video on "What the budget means for you" as well as a fact sheet #AusBudget09 from web

@philipargy Thanks for your feedback, we'll take it on board, at the moment there are some privacy issues to consider with #Skype chat from web in reply to philipargy

Call queues to our Direct Banking Centre (13 30 80) have eased, no wait time now, thanks for your patience + sorry for any inconvenience :) from web

@philipargy We use #Skype for VoIP calls 24x7 to our Aust. Direct Banking Centre, we're not available via Skype Chat yet from web

If you don't want to wait on hold, you may wish to apply online at from web

4.51%pa for 3 months is causing a queue at our Direct Banking Centre, sorry for the delays folks, we'll get to your call as soon as we can from web

Money Box Webisode 6 - It's all about Superannuation, now with over 1,300 views, check it out on our YouTube channel from web

Happy Saturday folks, we're always open here and thought we'd say hello. Speak soon. from web

Positive rate change eff. 16 May. 6mo now 4.11%. 1mo 3.26%, 3mo 4.51%, 9mo 4.01%& 12mo 4.01% unchanged. Compare@ from web

Friday, May 1, 2009

Greatest Job in the World

We won't spend too much time talking about this stunt, except to say a $2m campaign attracted over $150m worth of free publicity in the world to advertise a $150,000 one year contract as an island caretaker and blogger. 

This publicity stunt has earnt worldwide acclaim with many touting it as the most successful publicity stunt in the world in 2009. Ok that's enough.