Monthly Archives: February 2013

Hash Tag New A-Class

There is a new advertising campaign that is blighting my prime-time TV viewing at the moment.


The campaign is advertising the new Mercedes A-Class.

Weighing in at an on-the-road price of £18,970.00 the advert poses this opportunity: “you drive the story”.

That’s nice, although I am a little unsure what the story is.

The advert on television features rapper-turned-actor, Kano along with some brooding, spy-drama music and lots of suggested peril and antiheroism.

It is all rather exciting, intriguing and appealing to young people.

My question is; why?

All of the research suggests that the new car market, particularly in the Mercedes price range is dominated by people who are old enough to have worked for longer than 5 years and saved enough money to survive 2.4 children and the property ladder.

As the fantastic Bob Hoffman points out: “Half of all consumer spending is done by people over 50″.

Which begs the question; why is Mercedes wasting time creating a Twitter (hash tag) friendly advertising campaign for a product that is only attainable in any real volume to a much older market?

This, to me, is proof that even the large companies can make massive mistakes.

It is easy to assume that a company as well known as Mercedes knows exactly what it is doing.

The facts seem to point in the other direction.

As Dave Trott said in a talk I saw him do, it is wrong to write off an advertising campaign because ‘I don’t like it’. I don’t like the Go Compare opera-buffoon adverts, but I accept that they are extremely effective.

So, in the case of the garish Mercedes A-Class campaign I won’t say I don’t like it (I don’t), instead I will say that it is ineffective and destined to fail.

“TV advertising used to work like this: you sat on your sofa while creatives were paid to throw a bucket of shit in your face. Today you’re expected to sit on the bucket, fill it with your own shit, and tip it over your head while filming yourself on your mobile.” – Charlie Brooker, The Guardian, 05.09.12

A little knowledge is an expensive thing

Albert Einstein once said that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”.

I say “a little paid search knowledge is an expensive thing”.

Paid search advertising and in particular Google AdWords has a pretty bad image amongst the clients I meet.

Most of these clients are SMEs who have a very tight marketing budget and many of them are of the opinion that Google AdWords ‘doesn’t work and is a waste of money’.

As an online marketing expert I know that this is not true and that Google AdWords does indeed work.

I have seen some businesses do very well by using Google AdWords.

So why is there so much dislike for AdWords amongst the people I meet?

I believe it comes from the fact that the clients who I meet and dislike AdWords ‘know how it works and haven’t had any business from it’.

Now unless you are one of the companies that works in a vertical that just doesn’t attract search engine visits (not many SMEs fit this category) then the fact that you are getting no business from AdWords suggests that you don’t know how to use it.

Take for example an AdWords account I reviewed last week.

It was a near perfect representation of what-not-to-do with an AdWords account.

This rendered the account a money wasting machine; a very effective one at that.

This is where I have my problem.

Seeing this kind of marketing waste makes me annoyed.

First I am annoyed with the client for being so ignorant and not bothering to learn how to use something that costs a lot of money if done wrong.

Then I get annoyed with Google.

I have seen more ineffective AdWords accounts that will clearly never yield results than I care to remember.

Google actively encourages small business owners to sign up and use their paid search advertising service but I don’t feel it does enough to make sure that people don’t completely mis-use it and waste money.

On accounts where lots of money (thousands of pounds) is being spent Google does get in contact with the advertiser to offer help, but what about the smaller business?

It may not be thousands of pounds but it is still a high percentage of the business’s advertising budget.

The most frustrating part of this story is that a group of clients still insist they know what they are doing and write off Google AdWords as a marketing fad.

A dangerous opinion.


Scrunch or fold or waste money on a crap advert?

Andrex wants to know whether you scrunch or fold.

No, I don’t know what that means either.

Apparently there is a debate raging: whether it is better to scrunch or fold your toilet paper.

This particular debate seems to have bypassed me, but if it had have caught my attention I am pretty sure it would have happened in my local after roughly four and a half pints.

Andrex disagrees, they think prime time TV is the place to pose the eternal question.

Splashing valuable marketing money Andrex has put together this cringe inducing spot:

It is worth remembering at this stage what it is that Andrex wants to achieve.

They want to sell toilet roll.

It is an eternal truth that the aim of marketing is to sell things. Simple.

Therefore, Andrex wants us to think of them when you need to wipe your bum. They want you to use too much Andrex when you wipe your bum so that you have to go out and buy more Andrex to wipe your bum again next time.

That is it. Nothing will make the Andrex Puppy more happy than to see his profits rising as his toilet roll flies off the shelves.

For most companies the aim is to sell their products and that is why the most effective adverts aim to present a good reason for you to buy their product.

Andrex begs to differ, instead their new advert is not aimed at giving you a good reason to buy their product but is giving a (not-so-good) reason to visit their website and ‘vote’.

This begs the question: why spend money producing and placing an ad that doesn’t try to sell your product?

I can only assume one reasonable explanation, a social meda expert has gotten their way into the company.

Only a social media expert would advise such a thing.

Having spent time with social media types it has become clear that to them ROI is only a part of the puzzle and that ‘relationships’ and ‘community’ are just as important.

I disagree.

Who cares about having a relationship with the people who make paper for you to wipe your bum? I just want to buy it (for a reasonable price), use it and make sure it doesn’t make me sore, nothing more, nothing less.

Then there is the thought that the ‘call to action’ posed in said advert actively requires the viewer to go online, type ‘’ and then vote!

I did vote, out of curiosity, and to my surprise I still wasn’t given a good reason to buy Andrex, I was just presented with the same old Facebook guff that every other big brand is pushing at the moment.

Never has there been a better specimen of crap advertising.