Saturday, January 31, 2009

╠ Free Fail ╣

After my previous post it seemed that there was a flare up on commuters angry at Connex. Many of which went onto sites such as Facebook and vented their anger through groups. One of my favourites is the 'Connex raped my mother, killed my father and made me late for school'. However the one probably of more note would be the 'Friday 13th Feb - Connex Fare-Free Day'. This group is determined to not pay on Friday the 13th and hope that not doing so makes it Connex's unlucky day and cause them to relook at their services.

Connex yesterday gave commuters a free travel day...However this did little. I don't know the percentage but I believe most commuters, like myself, would have weekly/monthly/yearly tickets. Which basically give rise to the thought 'Good to know you care for the people who buy your product in bulk'. Most of you probably remember the hideously confusing buy bulk Connex ads, well you'd probably remember the ad when howed to you, but they were so confusing you probably wouldn't remember the connex link.

The other problem with a free travel day is that it encourages people to travel on public transport. Normally not a problem. However when you're cancelling every second train with zero excuses even after the heat wave is over all you're doing is convincing the users on this individual day that this is something not worth paying for.

So basically you're pissing off regular users of your service as well as giving poor service to any new users. There overall seems to be no benefit in this scheme.

Connex can no longer rely on free travel days to solve their problems. They need to step up and either fix their services or find a new way to make their travellers stand their horrible travel conditions otherwise the coming Friday the 13th may not be a once off.

Ps: I'm tempted to start the facebook group 'The connex robot apologized for any inconvenience and it made me feel better'

Thursday, January 29, 2009

╠ Words cannot explain... ╣

Today I had to catch a train home from the city after work and thanks to a few perfectly placed train cancellations I had to wait about an hour for a train then faced a train ride that I found not too dissimilar from this video. I only got home a bit before six after finishing at 4 so what would normally be a half hour to three quarters became almost two hours. Needless to say this is an experience I will remember. It will forever be a blemish on Connex's name in my mind...although by now it is simply one of many. I earlier complained of unused opportunities within connex and this is one of them. However not necessarily by connex.

Some of you may have heard a story about a famous getaway resort. I forget the name myself but basically what happened is the customers flying to the destination had a horror flight. Much like my train ride, simply longer. What the resort did was to organize a special party for those who had suffered under the fetid plane ride and by doing so earned brand equity beyond reason.

I saw a huge opportunity when I got home for something like this. There is a strip of shops across from the stations, one of which is an IGA. If you consider the fact that almost everyone on that train is going to tell someone about how horrible it is think of if there had been someone waiting for you at the station with free icypoles. You would basically become a brand hero to those people and anyone they pass the story on to. Considering there would probably be quite a few trains like this in a row all you had to do was get one person to wait at a train stop, give everyone an icypole perhaps with a business card attached and then go and refill in the breaks. At most you're spending 30c per person and you become the hero of a story that will probably be told many rimes over.

I think it is a huge win opportunity however noone ever tries things like this. I think some businesses need to think outside the box. Capitalizing on your opposition isn't all you can do, you can capitalize on faults in businesses outside your sector if you think about it right. Connex is one organizion full of them. Personally I think connex could afford to have a service that simply tells businesses when it screws up because if I were a business owner I would pay to know when there is a train full of disgruntled people in need of a lift heading to a station close by.

Monday, January 26, 2009

╠ For when having all of your limbs flying in various directions doesn't work╣

On the 1st of January I was in a car crash. Not the best of starts to what has since actually been not too bad of a year. Noone was seriously hurt, one of us had to have a check up in the hospital and the car is a write off but other than we were all fine. But as with things like this you begin to think after. First off all the things such as why didn't we just get the damned pizza delivered but after that you think of how you can use it for good.

Doing so lead me to think of using the sort of accident where it isn't even your fault in a TAC ad. I mean we're all used to the if you don't obey the rules you're gonna screw up and kill or at least injure you or your mates. This is somewhat effective but less so because everyone thinks they're invincible. I think the 'Nobody thinks big of you' campaign is absolutely brilliant but underused here at least. I haven't actually seen it anywhere except for on the Gruen Transfer ABC show and a few banners at the MCG during the cricket.

However my idea was to use thd not your fault ideal. Sure it doesn't make you think about your driving instantly but it does make you think and also make you keep your eye on other drivers more which does end up helping your driving. Personally I think it would be a brilliant predecessor to the 'Nobody thinks big of you campaign'.

I know it's been a while since Jan 1st but my original idea was to do an entire video animated for this but it seems my artistic skills have wained recently so here's just the storyboards in aniblog form for the basic idea.

Getting Call to pick up a friend
Getting into car
Chat to get viewers to identify
Casually introduce offending car
Show car approaching
Injured Escape
Injured Passenger
Critical Passenger

This is actually almost exactly what happened to us except for the fact we were going out for pizza and not to pick someone up. The change was there because I figured picking someone else had more effect because people who thought into it would notice the carry on effect of this and emphasize that there are other consequences and that the physical injuries are never the be all and end all of a crash.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

╠ Manifest Case - Avatars ╣

As most of you know I am now the branding officer for Melbourne Anime Festival. Recently I proposed that on the main site we should have a set of matching avatars for each user to post their own news. Being Manifest everyone, including those without any understanding of any of the factors involved began weighing in and the question was raised over whether this was worth it. In order to prevent this continuing I wrote a wall of text to argue my point. I thought I would share it here first of all to get your opinion of whether I'm arguing for the right side and also whether my knowledge to back it up was sufficient. Enjoy,

Daniel mentioned the voice of Manifest. This is exactly what this is avoiding. Manifest is a company, otherwise known as a soulless entity. Try as hard as you might but building relaionships with a soulless entity can be a bit of a hard task because communication with it is impersonal and often one way. This is a bad thing. People's opinion of Manifest is not limited to just the festival everything before and after it is included in this. Having a crap Manifest the previous year can be turned into a good experience if the Manifest they are exposed to online is a good one. Clearly what defines this is moc.

Now the online interaction is predominantly one on one and in the past it has been sufficiently lacking. Moc isn't accessible online. All of the members aren't on the website and the main website has just been a dumping ground for news posted under a single relatively faceless account due to Peppa-chan not being utilized as an actual character. Moc and the site are considered exclusive. My goal here is to partially remove that and to integrate MOC into the website. This is because so far very few people who aren't connected know anything about moc other than it's the group that runs things 'round here.

Using the avatars personalizes the online interaction. News is posted by a person, not by the soulless Manifest entity. It brings Moc into the website, you see the news, see the poster and begin to think of the people behind everything. Knowing that actual people are working and working hard for something is a positive thing and makes you think of committee as more than 'Those bastards that raise the prices every year'.

They need to be specially made because that is how you get them to best represent the person. Generators fail at this because first off what you think you look like can be inaccurate and also generators despite how big their libraries are, are always limited. Plus by being used elsewhere they no longer become the manifest style and instead are simply that thing that those guys stole and used for themselves cos they're lazy.

If we do it right people will notice it. However the effect of it is subconscious. You speak of resources as if it is something limited, which at the moment it isn't. All this is doing is asking one committee member to donate their time in order to do a few little pictures. If a committee member cannot spare the time then they won't do it. The resources used are zero. In fact more resources would have been used in this entire discussion.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

╠ Demeaning Fillers ╣

Those of you interested in the cricket may have noticed the ads like the one appearing on the left. Personally I can't understand how this got approved because I think it's quite horrible. The people watching this commercial are cricket lovers and all this ad campaign does is make the cricketers, umpires and crowd members look like a bunch of idiots.

So basically they're trying to sell something by taking the piss of what the people watching it care about. I hope I'm not the only one who sees a problem with this.

The more I've been getting into marketing the more I've noticed KFC. No matter what they do, they seem to be advertising in the right areas in sometimes new and interesting areas like Guitar Hero but they just seem to go about it so poorly.

The only benefit of this advertising is that it draws attention so I suppose they could be basing their bets on people only remembering the food part on the screen and not that KFC have demeaned their heroes. This argument could exist due to the impulse nature of fast food purchase but the same result could have been achieved via other means.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

╠ 50 Posts╣

It's weird to think that since this started that I've only made 50 posts. However I think that's because I still haven't branched out too much blog wise so my main exposure are short post blogs. I conversely seem to have a habit of writing walls of text. When you think of it like that, it's almost a book ^^;

I'm really glad so many people have taken the time to read my posts because I'm sure most would just go tl;dr (Too long, didn't read for those less geeky). More and more I feel I'm beginning to find my place in the marketing blogger community and all I really have to thank is those who read and also those who contribute, be it comments or even just offhanded ideas of things to write about.

I'd also like to apologise for the occassional gaps in posts and also the lack of any recent Aniblog's. There's a lot of issues contributing to it sickness, car crashes etc., ya know, the usual. Basically my work load recently has probably been too much so I haven't had time to come on and write too much. I basically get one day a week when I'm usually not doing something and I've been writing stuff on that day and then scheduling releases. I almost can't wait for Uni because surprisingly I think I have more free time when I'm at uni apart from the odd project here and there. I'm probably going to regret saying those words going into my final year but oh well.

Thank you all once again and here's hoping I can acomplish 50 more!

Monday, January 12, 2009

╠ Good Product or Everlasting Fad? ╣

Growing up I never had much expendable money so I didn't have much exposure to brands. Although despite this as soon as I got control of my own money I knew my first purchase of above base line clothes should be on a Converse pair of shoes. Although the funny thing is that I didn't know that the ever so common white toed shoes were converse. I simply wanted converse because I liked the shoes they had with the star on the side in the good old days.

I did think those white toed ones were cool but for some reason I felt brand loyalty for Converse despite being new to the whole you can imagine my surprise when the connection was made. After a while of having said fancy shoes I realized they were really popular...perhaps too popular and being someone who doesn't like to conform too much I decided not to replace them when my first pair didn't last...which may have been because they were from ebay :P

However I've realized recently that while I personally didn't want to be seen as conforming, I personally didn't see others as doing that. In fact on average if someone was wearing cons in the insta judgement that people seem to automatically do about each other I would usually think more of them than most others. In fact the only way to really beat it was to have a sort of video game referencing shirt or something else equally as obscure making them a standout of the effort to pleasing scale.

The strange thing is there's nothing else really like me for this. I mean there are things out there such as oakley sunglasses but when it comes to things like that they're usually dominated by a particular demographic, such as jocks, which can make other demographics think less of them. Cons however seem to either be universal or simply part of large demogrpahics of people I don't hate therefore not devaluing them in my mind.

Now the overall main question I have is what has caused all of this. I personally have no recollection of advertising campaigns from converse so it's not that. So are converse shoes simply a popularity inciting social status and therefore making them a must have for all wanna be's or are they simply the ultimate design of shoe and therefore are preferred because they are simply a quality product?

Personally I believe I think the latter hence why I think more of their owners but what is your opinion?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

╠ Freeview ╣

I recently saw the freeview advert on the TV and thought '15 channels, wow that's like awesome'. Then I went to the website and saw that the 15 channels were actually just the ones pictured on the left.

3 Channel 7 Clones
3 Channel 9 Clones
2 Channel 10 Clones
3 ABC Clones
3 SBS Clones
& 1 One Film Channel

So from what I considered to be meaning there would be 10 new channels there is about 1. I personally was greatly disappointed. It's no secret that the government wants Australia to adopt digital TV as much as possible but I think this is really just trying to make the whole thing look shinier than it really is.

As marketers this is technically what we're meant to do, but I believe there are ethical lines we should keep to in order to make sure consumers can trust advertising and I believe claiming a channel and it's SD and HD counterparts counts as 3 channels crosses that line.

This may just be me taking more interest than the average consumer since I have to sell this stuff but what are all your personal opinions. Do you consider this lineup worthy of being called 15 channels?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

╠ Viral Entertainment Vs. Product Integrity ╣

This is a bit old but some of you probably saw the original Powerthirst commercial that went so viral on the internet that it even made it onto the Gruen Transfer for being an interesting attempt at advertising a drink. The original video was created to be entertaining and not for a real product. However it became so successful that from it 400 babies were sporn, one of which was.

Brawndo is a real energy drink which can be purchased in America. I haven't seen too many more stories on it to see how succesful it is, however I did notice that my favourite online geek store had picked it up and now sell it to their American audience.

This is an interesting product launch because it is more focused on the entertainment than the product initially than the more common variety of having a product and then trying to entertain to sell it. It is also an interesting ad because via normal methods you have to be truthful in advertising however this ad claims the near impossible. Is this product simply too out there to be taken seriously enough to be in trouble, immune because it is using the internet as its advertising medium or could their unique approach to stating the benefits of the product end them up in trouble with consumer affairs?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

╠ The Weathermen Alliance's evil plot to destroy the world ╣

I've always been one to conserve power by any means possible In Summer I'll usually try to stave out the heat for as long as possible without turning on a fan and in the winter I'll hold off on the heater for as long as possible.

I've done this because it is the sort of socially preferred option on the grounds that if you're not doing something to save electricity you're destroying the world. Probably not the most sensible option but I grew up in a poor family.

One thing I've discovered which can change my view over a day is if I hear a weatherman say something offhandedly like 'Boot up the fans, it's gonna be a hot'n'. It's clearly inadvertent but if you think about it there are probably quite a few people who take these recommendations as pronouncing that on that day it is actually socially acceptable to have a fan or heater on all day as the weatherman is still a somewhat respected citizen of society.

This is an interesting example of how people can be controlled outside simply trying to make you buy stuff, even if only inadvertently.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

╠ To 2009 ╣

So 2008 has ended. The time of year where everyone makes new resolutions they will never keep is upon us. I've been wondering for a while whether I actually had any such resolutions and my original thought was that I made so much progression over 2008 that I need not change a thing. I simply need to keep going as I am and I will only end up all the better.

So in a way my new years resolution is to not have a resolution! However then I looked at this blog and realized that this is something I have not done as much as I could. Sure I've worked on my blogging however the point behind a blog is actually to create a sort of community. Most blogging traffic usually comes people reading your comment on other blogs and this is something I haven't actually done much at all. The only other blogs I read are Zac Martin's and Julian Coles. So therefore in this year I hope to discover more blogs to read and have more comments across them.

So if you're a fellow blogger beware for I may just be reading and commenting on your blog throughtout this year. Who knows, maybe the Gruen Transfer may be worth something by 2010.

Also because I'm a huge stats nerd here's some for Gruen's start on July 27 til Dec 31.
Blogs - 43
Aniblogs - 3
Pageviews - 1827
Total AniBlog Video Views - 311
Most popular post - Cadbury Gorilla - 33 Hits
Most Commented post - Insight - Tivo - 7 Comments

Here's to an even better 2009. Thankyou everyone for all your support. I really mean it, from those of you who read regularly to those who left just a single comment, collectively you are all the sole reason I am still doing this.