Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The lost art of selling

We had it pretty sweet. We all did. We were living in a wonderful age where there was no recession and advertising budgets were (relatively) good. While I was in London last year New Zealand had its third consecutive negative quarter. When I got home, we were officially in a recession.

Having been in this media game only a couple of years, I get the impression that this changed the client/supplier relationship. In a big way. For so many years reps and sales people were simply taking orders. Demand was high and very rarely did they have to work their arses off for a sale (granted, sometimes we put a few people through their paces, but on the whole...). So we get into a recession, and suddenly sales are not being handed out on a plate. That's right, it is time to learn how to SELL things again.

The reason that I am talking about all this is because
  1. I question the selling abilities of some people in NZ
  2. I had the most curious of conversations with my sister yesterday.
My sister is the Marketing Manager of a commercial cable company in London called Eland Cables. She has been with Eland for many years and hooked me up with some work there while I was visiting. The work that she has done to boost online generated sales for the company is brilliant. Her work in website optimization makes me jealous, and she is a talented designer to boot. There are specific areas of the Eland site which have her name written all over them in the way that they have been executed. Take for example the contacts - hopefully you have a decent connection - and how when you scroll over the people they smile at you. Awesome!

At any rate, she told me today that she is going to start training in sales, to work with the sales team. The marketing manager, working in sales. Curious. But it got me thinking, we are an ever-revolving collection of sales people. Reps sell to agencies; agencies sell to clients (although it would seem TVNZ don't think this); and clients sell to boards/stakeholders/Ministers. We all have someone that we answer to, and if each connection of that chain isn't selling as hard as possible, then no one is going to make a sale.

What's my point? I think a number of industries have forgotten how to sell, and while I initially thought it a bad thing that a marketing manager was getting sales training, I think that the benefit of a marketing manager understanding and hearing her clients needs/demands first hand is incredibly very valuable in the long run.

On the other hand - I really want my sister to come back to NZ. Anyone know of any fabulous jobs for a very talented young lady who has done amazing things in London? Online/website marketing specialist positions available perhaps? If it is any consolation we are very different and after working with me for only 2 weeks her boss said to me "I'm glad that I got the easier Wales sister".

Let me know.

Updated: A note to any sales people out there. PLEASE do not make a meeting with me to present something you presented to me 4 or so months prior. In addition to this, please do not comment on other mediums which you obviously know nothing about. When you get it wrong you look like an idiot and I lose all respect for you and what you are selling.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I See (More) Red

So, I was impressed with Liquorland, and to be honest, I would have been disappointed if Australia hadn't taken advantage of the Red Dust storm for advertising purposes.

Very nice Australia - well done you. Nothing like making the most of a bad/random situation.

Thanks @xxnu for the link.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nice work Liquorland!

This is what I LOVE about online advertising. You can react immediately to what is happening in the world.

Yesterday Sydney was covered in a red dust cloud. Check out some pretty amazing pics here courtesy of The Big Picture.

Today, on the Herald homepage Liquorland's advertising is so beautifully relevant/spot on creative/well timed, it's SUPER impressive. (By the way - RIP Sir Howard, totes sad)

Just sublime. And good on NZ Herald too. I wonder what time they got the call yesterday with homepage impression requests. This is going to sound horrible, but no doubt the Sir Howard storyline will boost their impressions significantly today, so I'm sure it won't hurt serving out impressions.

I love good creative (and when I say good, in this case I'm not talking aesthetically, good as in smart).

- Yes yes, advertising alcohol online, I'm still not sure how I feel about this, but the creative, so smart!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How do you use Twitter?

Twitter is a curious beast. I have been using it for about 9 months now and have managed 2,000+ tweets. Scarily, that averages approx 7 tweets a day. At present I have about 510 followers, and I would hazard a guess that whilst I follow potentially up to 250/300 of those people back 80% of them I don't know exactly who they are or what they do.

Because of the incredibly open nature of Twitter, I (try to) make a point of not mouthing off too much. Granted I do sometimes, but I don't say anything that I would freak out if the
person/company involved found out about. This is sometimes frustrating as you know it would make you feel better if you could let all those people know exactly what you think, but hey, we had to handle frustrations before Twitter, so I go with more traditional methods in these instances.

Sometimes, something does really bug you though, and because you know the company are on Twitter, sometimes you send a tweet to see how responsive they may be. I certainly have done this twice with @vodafoneNZ and I have to say, both times I have had a phenomenal response. My issues were solved amazingly quickly, leaving me with a brilliant brand experience and creating something of a brand advocate. One of my issues I attempted to solve through the call centre and hit a wall. I honestly believe that if I had not had direct contact with @vodafoneNZ, it would not have been resolved, and Vodafone would have lost an incredibly loyal customer (same cell number for 9 years).

On the other hand, I attempted to obtain information from @bloomcosmetics and while I did get an initial response (an unhelpful one) they never replied to my second call for help via Twitter. Colour me unloved. I have since moved on from the brand and probably won't purchase again. Yes, I am just one person, but I would hazard a guess this may have not just happened to me.

Now, what happens when a Twitterer vents on Twitter, in the hopes (I'm guessing) of gaining some form of a response from the company involved, and whilst the COMPANY come back with a very tempered response and solves this problem, an employee of this company (who the Twitterer unfortunately happened to be following) very openly bitches about what is going on. What then?

What we need to remember about Twitter and this goes all the way to celebrities (talk about PR nightmares!) is that because you have little control over who can see what you are tweeting, you are opening yourself and your tweets up to the world. Little mini press releases depending on who you are and who is following you. Are you really sure you know exactly who those 10/50/100/500 are, who they work for and how what you say could turn around and bite you in the arse?

Recently the lovely @livlarge sent out a Tweet which I think is something that more people (and companies) should embrace, maybe even take on as their ethos?
And then, employees should be reminded that even though it may be your personal account, unfortunately at the end of the day, we are all associated with our place of employment, and perhaps Twitter is not the place to vent all issues.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Remember my name

I'm gonna live forever, I'm gonna learn how to fly, high!

Total cross blog post, but too bad. This lives between 2 of my favourite worlds, advertising and street art.

So I am a bit of a sucker for the first version of this film, so I am interested to see what the remake is like. What I think they have done very well while promoting this film is their mix of mediums used to push the film. They're doing some pretty serious promotion both in cinema, Readings Courtenay Central is overtaken with promo material, and considering the movies on at the moment (Dance Flick, I love you Beth Cooper, The Ugly Truth) the are talking directly to their audience right there. As well as cinema they are also doing some nice work in the outdoor space. They have used ambient media, and it has been done very nicely. I walked past this street stencil the other night:

and right up the road was the AdShel:Really nice complementary mediums, and great placement too, right outside Massey University.

For movie promoters this must be second hand, but as we move into this kind of promotion I am noticing it more and more, and am more and more

Friday, September 18, 2009

TVNZ Skyscraper fail

Oh no. Scroll bars on a Skyscraper. Pretty sure that's not how it's meant to look...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

DineOut vs. DineSmart

Ok, to be fair the only reason I even really know about this is because I have been trying to get one of my fav dining establishments more into the social media space and take control of who is saying what, where and why.

When it comes to reviewing restaurants, I have always referred to as it has had the best base audience and reviews (in my opinion).

Ding ding ding. Round One.

So apparently back in October last year the original peeps who started DineOut entered into a joint venture with an Internet publishing firm, and for whatever reason this joint venture was cancelled in August this year. DineOut went back to its OLD design (which I have to say, was a little ugly) but still had all of the content and was still trucking along. All of a sudden however, we have a new player in the market. DineSmart. Looks exactly like the DineOut site early August but with a new name. When I say "looks exactly like" I mean even the reviews are identical.

Ding ding ding. Round Two

September rolls around and DineOut gets a lovely makeover and sends out an email about the new look site. The newsletter touches on 'ventures we shouldn't have [entered into]' but does not go into detail. They didn't need to. For their users the URL remained the same and while they had about a month of the old site, it didn't really disrupt anything. 2 days after the DineOut newsletter arrived in my inbox, I get a DineSmart newsletter. There is no reference in this newsletter about who DineSmart are or why they are emailing me. While there is an opt-out at the bottom of the email, I never opted IN to receive this email communication. I opted in to receive one from DineOut, but not DineSmart. I really do think a number of people need to take another look at the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act as many seem to be ignoring it.

So I have been sitting on all of this for a week or so. DineOut seem to be being very generous to restaurant owners allowing them to claim their restaurants and update information where appropriate without charge (as far as I can tell). I think this is smart, the better the information on the venues, the better it is for the owners as well as the site. Nothing worse than reading that somewhere opens at 7.30am only to find it is now 9am. From what I have been told by a restaurant owner, on DineSmart you do have to pay to claim your venue...

Ding ding ding. Round Three.

Today I get an email from DineOut. Without going into too much detail about what/where/why/who & how they answered a number of questions which must have come from their users, explaining why DineSmart are using their content and what can be done (i.e you can request to have your reviews removed) if you are unhappy with what is going on. To be honest, I have asked that my reviews be removed from the DineSmart site. I am not trying to take anything away from the restaurants which I have reviewed (I am a very nice reviewer) however I think what DineSmart have done is bad Internet etiquette. Its basically poaching content. The email that DineOut sent today was good I thought. They were standing up for themselves without telling tales and obviously addressing specific questions they have received...

Ding ding ding. Round Four.

So I get a response from DineSmart re. my request to have my reviews removed. These guys have got their backs up. I'm assuming they have had more than my request to take down reviews. They state that the situation was out of their control (actually, I think it probably was their decision to load up identical content i.e. my reviews, without asking my permission) and then go into something of a slinging match blaming the original people behind DineOut; "... effectively removing the website URL, database and reviews in the middle of the night." Honestly, that has nothing to do with me, and I am not sure why I have been told it. They go as far to say that they have made no attempt to misrepresent themselves as DineOut...


and "refute any allegation that we have acted in an illegal or improper manner". On the defence much? DineOut have not said anything negative about what happened other than it didn't work out, I find the DineSmart reaction to all of this disappointing, and I know what site I will continue to visit.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nifty on-road advertising

So these came through from my boss, they are pretty cool, although I do question just how real they are considering they are all against the exact same wall. Either way, nice use of a boring medium.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sucker for good, smart advertising

You would think, that working in the industry I would be slightly less effected by such marketing ploys, however when you combine two of my favourite things, wine and Karen Walker. I will fall at your feet oh wise Marketing Manager/Agency.

A little over a week ago I was sent an email via the Karen Walker mailing list telling me about this promotion:Of course you have to spend some coin to be able to enter, but I checked it out nonetheless:Flights to Auckland, accommodation, limo transfers and $2k to spend at Karen Walker. Really. Where do I sign up?

So, on Saturday I was in the supermarket looking for a nice Pinot to drink tonight and what do I spot but the word Rosemount. A little more than I would normally spend on a bottle of wine, but I thought, why not? I can enter the competition and you never know, I might like it!

There was no instore promotion of the competition other than the neck tag on the bottle, and how the bottles were displayed at New World, you couldn't see them anyway. It was from that one email communication that the word Rosemount stuck in my head. It just shows how making a message as relevant as possible to your audience will help you gain traction.

Very nice. I hope I win!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Being nice about BNZ

I was going to share a new favourite site of the week, but I like it heaps and actually, want to be self fish and keep it to myself. Sorry. No site for you guys. Instead, I am going be nice about BNZ. Shock. Horror.

So, I have talked about BNZ linking to OTHER BANKS in their own online advertising, crazy expandable banners on Stuff, unfortunate coincides of their video ads showing against Swine Flu articles (has anyone heard of negative keywords?), their revised and much better business partners ad, and yet another expandable banner which confused me.

Lets be fair, I haven't had a lot of positive things to say. However, today, I take a lot of it back.

I noticed this paste up yesterday, and had to take a pic:
This little piggy has taken up the entire Phantom board. The whole thing. I like it, you can't not notice it. It ties in brilliantly with the television campaign (as much as I am not a fan of it) and works in this medium.

So this is where I take a lot of my negative comments back.

The one thing I have not acknowledged through any of my BNZ posts is that at least the client is willing to try different things. As with most agencies, we spend a lot of time coming up with creative ideas and options for clients which, for one reason or another, are not seen through to completion. It seems to me (and I may be wrong) that BNZ seem to be a little more courageous than some other banks out there for trying different things, at least giving them a shot (you don't see too many banks doing pasteups...) A lot of that will be down to the agency and a team that challenge their client to push boundaries.

As we all know last week Sugar & Spark have taken BNZ off Y&R. Sucks to be Y&R, but best of luck for Sugar & Spark. I have no doubt that you guys will continue to push the boundaries, and I look forward to what comes next (great blog fodder...)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New TVCs

Gosh, I have been terribly slack. Take 1 day off and pay for it for the next 3!

Not to worry, at least I am not going to be hitting up online advertising today. Today, I am talking TVCs.

So, Sunday is one of my favourite days of the week as I get to channel surf to find ad breaks. Yes, I am well aware that this is both sad and pathetic and makes me a complete geek, but I'm comfortable with that.

So, the commercial that caught my eye this Sunday just been, that would have to be the Max commercial. Now, I am 100% their target audience and I do buy a good deal of my work clothes from Max, so I would have hoped that the ad would grab me. It did not. In fact, the reason that it had me so transfixed was because I could not for the life of me work out what it was advertising. Seriously, click on that link above. You barely even see the clothes. Isn't that what they are trying to sell?

What Max do very well is their email shots, perfect for me:
Show me the clothes, make me want them. I do realise that due to the turnover in stock that Max has, the clothes that they show in the TVC are possibly not going to be available in another few months time, but even so, its an ad about clothes. Show the clothes! Sell the product. I would imagine that the purpose of the TVC is to get women into the store, they're not going to go in just because of a logo, they may if they see something they like in said ad however.

As a complete aside - I think the ad is super creepy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Generation Y in thoughts...

Ok, so this is more pretty irrelevant content, however I had to share this with more people than those who automatically come up on my email. I always try to claim that I am not typical Generation Y, but reading this, I am more Gen Y than originally anticipated.

I wish I could cite exactly where this has all come from, but I'm at a loss, sorry. Terribly funny, may take a moment to get through it all.

- More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves me.

- Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realise you're wrong.

- I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?

- Have you ever been walking down the street and realised that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

- I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

- Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the "people you may know" feature on Facebook people that I do know, but I deliberately choose not to be friends with?

- Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.

- There is a great need for sarcasm font.

- Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realise I had no idea what the f*** was going on when I first saw it.

- I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.

- How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

- I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

- I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

- LOL has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say".

- I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

- Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

- How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

- I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

- Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using 'as in' examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss's last name to an attorney and said "Yes that's G as in...(10 second lapse)..ummm...Goonies".

- What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

- While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.

- Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

- I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.

- Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

- I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

- Bad decisions make good stories.

- Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning that just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!

- Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?

- If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.

- Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a problem …

- You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

- Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.

- There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

- I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

- "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this ever.

- I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?'

- I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

- I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

- When I meet a new girl, I'm terrified of mentioning something she hasn't already told me but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.

- I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

- Why is a school zone 25 km/h? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for paedophiles...

- As a driver I hate pedestrians and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

- Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

- I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

- Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, hitting the G-spot, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my ass everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time...

- My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?

- I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.

- I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

- The other night I ordered take away and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic cutlery. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There's nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.

Agencies are advertising

See the agencies advertising as of late?

Draft FCB have been pretty visible with both TV and print:
Sorry, I can't be bothered scanning this properly. The words you are missing are 'Change' and 'Sucks'. This is in the inside cover as a gate fold of the spanking new Metro magazine (which by the way, read a very interesting review of here). When the gate is folded all you can see is 'Change Sucks'. Kinda clever, definitely would have cost a pretty penny to place.

Can't say I am a massive fan of their TVCs.

At any rate then I noticed TBWA online ads on Stop Press:
I may be missing the point, but what's with the skull flag? Don't get me wrong, I like it, but that's just me, and I am a little strange. I do like the fact that they have embraced online and they link through to a very nicely put together site. Message seems a little odd to be running on Stop Press - not sure exactly who Stop Press' target audience is, but feels very industry to me. Preaching to the converted?

Anyway, something tells me that agencies promoting themselves is going to happen more and more over the next year or so. I'd love to see some crazy massive stunt. Just hope that everyone has learnt from the Wellington agency who (a couple of years ago) took out a full page ad in the Dom Post in conjunction with a client, and got the clients phone number wrong. Was kinda the most crucial part of the whole ad.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Arrivals

Shock horror. Totally irrelevant (well, maybe) but I do believe it is possible there may be a reason to venture back towards Courtenay Place on a night out.

Last Friday a friend and I decided to venture to The Library. What used to be Chow Cabaret has been transformed into a beautiful little cocktail bar. Delicious cocktails (still dreaming about the bitter chocolate martini), fabulous staff, and brilliant atmosphere. Dare I say it, it is what Motel once was, but they're so nice I doubt they wouldn't turn away Liv Tyler!

And then today, I have been invited to the opening of Bettys. Now, not sure where they found my name, but it is just delightful that they extended an invitation. I already have a function the night of the opening, so will not be attending, although I am intrigued. They are calling themselves "Function House & Bar + Private Kitchen Table + Digital Artspace + Members Club".
This is where I pretend that the fact they called it a 'digital artspace' it can be tied in with the rest of this blog.

So, based behind Hummingbird - what I think used to be Paradiso - Bettys will be open to the public, I am guessing as of Friday the 4th of September (what a brilliant day - my birthday!). I will most certainly be braving the Courtenay Place masses to check this place out as soon as possible.

My curiosity has been piqued and am hopeful that between The Library and Bettys I will once again have a valid reason to leave behind the security blanket of Cuba Mall and meet some more new people!

UPDATE: C/- Betty's Press Release uploaded by the fantastic, here is an image of the inside of Bettys. I'm liking the look...