Categories
Advertising social media

Why We’ll See Less Ads, and Hopefully, Less Hate Speech

Over 160 companies have decided to stop advertising on social media platforms for the month of July to support the Stop Hate for Profit campaign – I would too, to be honest, but I don’t have a business or advertise so that’s a bit of an obstacle, isn’t it?

A continually updated list of brands joining the Facebook ad ...

This is a boycott targeted at Facebook, but since Facebook owns nearly everything these days (like your personal data), companies won’t be advertising on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp for a month. Looks like Marky Z’s big plans of owning every platform is kinda blowing up in his face(book) a wee bit, doesn’t it? Instead of making loads of dolla, he’s now losing dolla on all of them. Shame.

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Starbucks and Coca-Cola have also decided to stop their social media advertising for 30 days, but not as part of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, so they’re not just boycotting Facebook. The only “social media” platform they’ll continue to use is YouTube, because like, does anyone actually consider YouTube to be ‘social media’?

Anyway, Starbucks has decided to take a break from all social media advertising while they have “discussions” to figure out how they can help stop hate speech, and Coca-Cola said that “there’s no place for racism on social media platforms” and that they need to have “greater accountability”. So, they’re sort of supporting the campaign but like, not actually supporting it, ya feel?

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So, why are these companies boycotting social media advertising which is a MASSIVE way to reach their target audiences? Not because they know we’re sick of seeing so many goddamn ads, no; because pretty much everyone’s sick of seeing so much hateful content on the platforms and not enough being done about it.

Basically, there’s been a lot of issues with what gets posted on Facebook. It’s been accused of allowing fake news, hate speech, racist, sexist and homophobic content, incitement to violence against human rights and racial justice protesters AND ignoring voter suppression on the site. Last year, it was also accused of discriminating against communities of colour, by targeting housing-related ads to exclude users of certain races. Quite the list, I know.

GIF pirates of the caribbean - animated GIF on GIFER

So, why is this content allowed on the platform, instead of being removed and users blocked? Well, Mr Mark said that two of Facebook’s priorities are: 1) Giving people a voice and 2) Keeping communities safe (I’m assuming “making money” and “capturing data” also fall pretty high on that list). According to him,

“The approach that we’ve taken to false news is not to say: You can’t say something wrong on the internet”

Mark Zuckerberg, 2018

But surely, hate speech is wrong? Incitement to violence of racial justice protesters is wrong? Voter suppression is wrong? Surely, racism, sexism, homophobia and anti-Semitism are all wrong?

Do You Have What It Takes To Be Wrong Wrong GIF - LowGif

Anyway, last week, Facebook announced some ‘changes’ to address the misinformation (fake news) and hate speech on its platform. It’s listed “trusted sources” on its new “high quality news” tab feature, which is fair. But, one of these “trusted” sources is Breitbart News, which has been known to work with white nationalists (not the Irish kind) and Neo-Nazis. According to Business Insider, it’s been called an “alt-right” and “white supremacist” platform;

“It promotes racist rhetoric and used a category tag called “black crime” for several years. Its stories often push anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim narratives, and heavily promotes Trump.”

Business Insider, 2019

Hmm. Trustworthy? High quality? Not the words I’d use, like.

Facebook Security Breach Exposes Accounts of 50 Million Users ...

Facebook also said it’ll label “problematic content” that might be harmful or misleading. But, the problem is, this content won’t necessarily be removed – even if it violates Facebook’s standard policies – if it’s “in the public interest” or seen as “news worthy”.  So, brands, people and Stop Hate for Profit have come out and said that that’s not enough.

Basically, they’re taking a stand and boycotting advertising on social media platforms because they don’t want to contribute to the $70 billion Facebook makes off advertising (I know, how mad is that?) when it refuses to accept accountability and take proper steps to protect users from dangerous content. In short, Stop Hate for Profit and the brands standing with it want to show Facebook that,

“Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.”

Stop Hate for Profit, 2020
Why This Facebook Boycott Is Different – Adweek

The advertisers joining the campaign have decided to put people before profits and accept that they might lose money from the lack of advertising, but it’s worth it for the bigger picture. This isn’t an approach Facebook seem to take, instead preferring to follow the money. But, by cutting away a decent chunk of its profits and holding some advertising revenue hostage, Facebook might decide to do what everyone wants it do to (and rightly so), to get its customers back. Ah, capitalism.

Even though this campaign hasn’t made Mr Mark further change his policies yet, it’s already cost him $7.2 billion off his personal net worth, £45 billion from Facebook’s market value and knocked him off third place of richest people in the world, so, something tells me that he will, pretty soon. $$$

Categories
Advertising

Seizing Opportunities or Capitalising on Coronavirus?

Let’s be real, everything’s pretty much gone to crap recently. Apart from the obvious main issue which is that thousands of people have sadly died; businesses are closed, jobs have been lost, there’s a massive recession and education is pretty much on pause. Oh, to be a millennial. The future is so dark right now.

In times like this, businesses aren’t functioning as normal (neither am I, like), so they have to try to do something to make a bit of dolla among all this mess. Bitta damage control, really.

So, how are they doing it? By exploiting opportunities!! (or capitalising on a pandemic).

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You’ve probably noticed that pretty much every ad is the same now. It goes a lil something like this: “In these unprecedented and daunting times, it’s so important to stay strong together, even though we’re apart. We will get through this eventually, but in the meantime, we have great pet insurance for only £7.99 a month.”

I know that not all advertising should be to push your products, and I do think it’s important for brands to acknowledge what’s going on and use this as an opportunity to do some social advertising. But, either promote a social issue or promote your product. Promote both if it makes SENSE and they’re somehow related. But, giving a big shpeil about the tough times or a nice wee pep talk and then finishing it off with, “which is why you should set up a fixed-interest current account” kinda ruins the vibe.

Frank Well Go Through This GIF - Frank WellGoThroughThis WCTH ...
“Please buy our products”

Then you’ve got your standard coronawashing, where businesses promote how much they “care” and are thankful for all their staff, key workers and the NHS etc, distracting people from their unethical corporate behaviour. @Virgin @Amazon – you know what would mean more than you telling us how supportive you are? Paying your tax so the NHS can be funded and actually supported ?

I get that brands want to help out and do whatever they can in these “uncertain” and pandemic-y times, and it’s a bit like greenwashing in that I do believe they’re doing a good thing despite the reason. But, surely it’s just another way to delay or avoid changing other important issues in your business strategy?

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“Oh, sorry, we can’t pay our tax because we’re too busy CONNECTING people”; “Yeah, we still use child-labour and sweatshops BUT look! We’ve donated some jammies and towels to key workers!”

Maybe part of the reason some brands are so on board with publicising their pandemic-related contributions is so that people don’t pay attention to their more negative contributions? But, maybe I’m just being while cynical. And sure, at least brands are taking a break from greenwashing though, right? Every cloud !

Facebook suspends face mask ads to stop traders exploiting ...

Then, there’s the more obvious capitalisation of COVID-19. Skims by Kim Kardashian, Boohoo and ASOS are some of the brands attempting to make face masks “fashionable”. And this has been pretty controversial. Are they making protection more accessible? Or are they potentially endangering people?

I think it’s a great idea to make masks prettier or more aesthetic to encourage more people to wear them and minimise spreading Coronavirus and other infcetions. But, the problem is that these marks aren’t medically beneficial. 

Boohoo blasted by NHS staff over selling 'useless' face masks ...

So, while more people might wear masks, LESS people are going to wear ones that actually work because they don’t come in neon colours or leopard print. It doesn’t matter if twice as many people start wearing face masks if they’re swapping medically-approved ones for flimsy nylon ones offer pretty much no protection. 

Like, fair enough if you want to take advantage of opportunities to make some money during all this, seeing as most businesses have seen a massive loss in sales and need to survive. But, so do people.  

I Need Money Meme GIFs | Tenor
CEOs everywhere

The problem is, that even if these brands don’t say that their masks are actually functional and have things like, “not a respirator and will not eliminate the risk of contracting disease or infection” on their websites, people won’t necessarily know or pay attention. They’ll see a cool, patterned face mask for a fiver versus a boring black one that doesn’t fit ANYBODY’S face, and they’ll probably opt for the one that’ll look best on the Gram.

It’s like making instant tan with SPF02 and promoting it as “suncream” that makes your skin look tan, but SMALLPRINT: doesn’t actually protect you from the sun.

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Sure, remember when Pretty Little Thing made bikinis that were for “poolside lounging only” – not to be used in water because the dye runs? Fashion’s about the aesthetic, not the function. And I know that if masks are ‘aesthetic’ then more people will wear them, but marketing non-protective masks and just HOPING consumers notice the small print might be crossing a line, like.

Where have you gone overboard? | Weddings, Planning | Wedding ...
Categories
Advertising Environment

Ryanair Offers Lies to Consumers – At No Extra Charge

Every now and then, Ryanair do something to melt people. There was changing the cabin bag policy so you now have to pay to be ‘priority’ to get anything bigger than a lunch bag on board. Then, they added the small text to “check-in 60 days before your flight for peace of mind” saying *if you pay extra, else, you can wait til 48 hours before. And let’s not forget the time they tried to charge for toilets. Bloons. 

But now, to put the icing on the cake – oh, that’ll be extra, sorry. They’ve been called out for Greenwashing. Honestly, like.

Image result for ryanair carbon emission ads

You’ve probably heard or seen the ads, where Ryanair claim to have ” the lowest carbon emissions of any major airline”, and the tagline of “Europe’s lowest fares, lowest emissions airline”. Yeah, I was suspicious too. I thought, “hmm, that’s not like Ryanair to actually have something GOOD to say? but, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe all those extra charges paid for some better petrol or something.

But, nope. I was wrong. Well, I was wrong to believe it, but I was right to be suspicious. Because, well, let’s face it, I’m never wrong. Pffft. 

But, today came the news that the spoil-sports our dear friends, the ASA, banned the ads because they weren’t actually accurate or provable. Basically, they were lies. 

Image result for ryanair carbon emission ads"
Behold, propaganda an ad

The story kinda changes depending on which news source you use. Shock. The first one I read made it sound like Ryanair were actually telling the truth, because they compared their emissions to “four other large European airlines”. Whereas, the good old Guardian added a lil extra detail, that they “didn’t include some well-known airlines”.

So, I’m going to do y’all a favour and be the dependable news source that you know I am. First, let’s clarify a few things:

 1. “Lowest carbon emissions of any major airline”  means “lower than a couple”  

 2.  “Major airline” isn’t actually like a specific or agreed term. I mean, they probably ALL think they’re pretty major. And totally awesome.  

3. “Low CO2” means, “lower than average”

4. These CO2 emissions weren’t measured by the amount of CO2 emitted, but the “CO2 emissions per passenger, per kilometre“. Ryanair have less CO2 emissions per passenger than other airlines, because they have more passengers than other airlines. Hence why there’s no legroom. 

5. “Europe’s lowest fares, lowest emissions airline” AKA: “One of the EU’s Top 10 Carbon Emitters”  

6. “The single most important thing any consumer can do to halve their carbon footprint is switch to Ryanair.” Well, *flexes hands*, considering aviation (planes) account for 12% of transport CO2 emissions, while road accounts for 74%, people would be A LOT BETTER walking, cycling, scooting, using public transport, sharing lifts or just driving less. Also bearing in mind that most people drive several times a day, and don’t FLY several times a day, what do you think would make more of a difference?

Image result for deceiving gif"
Oh look, it’s Michael O’Leary.

So, Ryanair were called out and the ads are banned now. BUT, a lot of the damage is done. To the planet, I mean. I haven’t heard those ads in a while, but if I hadn’t have checked the news and saw that they were banned for being not true,  I would’ve kept thinking they were true.

That’s the thing with Greenwashing. It doesn’t matter if the ad’s banned or changed, people will just think that the replacement ads are the latest ad campaign. Some people will always remember the claims that were made, or remember at least, that at some time, Ryanair (or any of the other companies that use people’s concern for the death of the planet and humanity to spread propaganda and increase sales) released ads telling everyone that they were green. 

Image result for greenwashing

Brands spend a hell of a lot of time and money creating advertising campaigns which promote lies, which then get banned and need either changed or replaced, then spend more time and money replacing them and doing PR recovery by making a tiny change like “oh, we’re going to reduce 13% of our plastic use by 2050” (at which stage we’ll be lucky if the Earth is still here). Instead of just, I don’t know, ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY.

So yeah, to sum: Organisations are wrecking the planet and most don’t care. Of the few that actually DO make changes to be more eco-friendly, most are probably lying 🙂 GREAT. 

Happy Wednesday, folks. 

*Here’s my source for the stats, because, well, what I say actually CAN be proven. And isn’t a lie.

Categories
Advertising Feminism

Remove Stigma, Not Hair: Why Brands Are Promoting Female Body Hair

Dove launched a campaign which is all about removing the “ideal underarm” beauty standard (aka 100% hair-free and the exact same colour as the rest of your skin). So, in their ad, they showed REAL underarms, that is, non-photoshopped, edited or filtered ones. Some of the models shown had underarm hair. Hold your gasps of horror, fellas. 

Image result for dove ideal underarm campaign

But, it isn’t just Dove promoting female body hair, it’s become a bit of a recent trend. Which, is actually pretty sad considering it’s been a natural ‘trend’ since the beginning of humanity. But sure, better hundreds of years late than never, right?

Razor brand, Billie, showed women with ACTUAL body hair in their ad. AND they even used Billie’s razors to remove hair and show how good it is. This is pretty groundbreaking, because for some reason, brands seem to have an obsession with showing women with scarily reflective and hairless legs pretending to use razors ? The before and after is literally the exact same, not a great way to sell a £10 razor, in my opinion. 

Image result for billie ad

Rather than Gillette Venus‘s standard “you need to shave your legs to be a goddess” message (which is great for the kids), they ran a “my skin, my way” campaign which used models regular people who had scars, stretch marks, tattoos and vitiligo. But, this inclusive “to hell with beauty standards” campaign got a lot of backlash. Partly because people love a good scrap, yes (@ 90% of my blog posts). But, mainly because it showed a woman shaving her arms. As if girls and women don’t have ENOUGH body parts to worry about having to shave to satisfy the patriarchy and society. PLEASE give us more to do. We aren’t pressured enough!!

Image result for venus woman shaving arm

There’s also the Janu-hairy trend which was encouraging women not to shave for the month of January. Which, by the way, is no more “unclean”, “weird” or “disgusting” than ‘Movember’. At least we don’t get food and beer caught in our leg hair. Hmph.

So, why are brands doing this? Because it’s about damn time people got over the fact that WOMEN HAVE HAIR TOO. I mean, how come women get judged for not shaving body hair, but men get judged for shaving body hair?

Image result for thats not fair gif

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for women shaving. I believe that women should shave. IF men have to. Men ‘have’ to shave their faces. IF they want to, but sure, beards are in! Women ‘have’ to shave everywhere below the eyebrows. Either both should have to shave every bit of body hair, or neither should. Fair is fair.

So, I’m pro-male grooming. I am more than happy for men to endure the pressure, pain and price that we have to from the age of about 11 years old. We’re literally children when we’re told by society to hide and remove something which grows naturally on ALL GENDERS. But, nah, boys you can keep it. Tough luck, gals. 

Image result for the patriarchy has spoken gif

We see all over social media how everyone prefers “natural” women, or the “natural look” is in. As long as any hair is either bleached, clipped in or drawn on, of course. Ah, nature. ‘Tis a beautiful thing. 

If you ask women why they shave, they’ll probably say it’s because they think it looks nicer, or because they want to. But, why do we think it looks nicer? Maybe because we’re conditioned and socialised to believe that it looks nicer, and the alternative is ugly, unclean and unnatural. All we see in the media and in the people around us is shaven, hairless people, so of course we assume that’s what people SHOULD look like. 

Image result for shaving gif

We “want to”. Do we really? Or do we want to avoid the disgust, judgement and abuse if we don’t? Ask women if they want to shave, they might say yeah. Ask them if they “want” to perform dangerous shower-acrobatics, suffer the pain of accidentally nicking themselves, wrecking their towels and the hour of bleeding after the cut (because those cuts NEVER seem to heal???), and spending an arm and a leg (literally) for razors, waxing, threading and laser hair removal. If it’s so FUN and wantable (don’t) then why don’t men join us? Why doesn’t everyone want to? 

See, brands aren’t just promoting female body hair, they’re promoting choice and removing stigma. And they’re promoting their products too, like, smashing the patriarchy won’t pay the bills, I guess.

Categories
Advertising PR social media

Peloton’s Advertising Disaster

Now, we all know Christmas ads can be pretty cringey – like the Mariah Carey ‘Walkers’ one, BRUTAL, and the public are just sitting at the ready just WAITING to slate them online. But one that’s getting a lot of attention is the Peloton one.

You’ve probably heard of Peloton, it’s basically a (£2,000) exercise bike with a tablet-y thing that lets your stream live workouts while you pedal. I know what you’re thinking, but no, it’s COMPLETELY different to just watching YouTube workout videos on a regular spin bike…

Does everyone look like this during exercise?

Anyway, Peloton released their Christmas ad a few weeks ago, if you haven’t seen it or don’t fancy watching the 2 minute creative masterpiece, here’s a lil summary: The ad starts with a man buying his wife a Peloton exercise bike for Christmas (so basically the gift of pain, sweat and exhaustion, lucky gal). For her revenge, To thank him, she decides to make a vlog of her using the bike throughout the year, and makes a compilation video, which she then forces him lets him watch. The ultimate film night. 

Enjoy 🙂

It wasn’t long before this ad really got people talking, but not for good reasons. You’re shocked, I know. The ad was criticised for being “sexist”, with people saying a man buying his wife an exercise bike might be seen as an indication that he wants her to lose weight. I mean, it wouldn’t exactly boost your ego, would it? Then the fact that the woman looks to be in perfectly fit and healthy shape added a bit more fuel to the fire.

Next in line to be mocked by the public, was the woman saying, “A year ago, I didn’t realise how much this would change me”; because, well, there wasn’t exactly a jaw-dropping transformation (or transformation at all) after using the exercise bike for a year. So it doesn’t really do much in selling the actual product, does it? Using a “before and after” to showcase the results of using a fitness product is a pretty good strategy, but only if there are actual results to show, like.

Aside from that, the ad was mocked on Twitter for just being weird. The public were spoiled for choice on what to comment on. From the sheer fear in the poor woman’s eyes when she’s using the product which has been labelled as “dystopian”; to the fact that she not only filmed it, but made a compilation (why, like); and THEN presented this as a gift to her husband. Uncomfortable viewing to say the least. 

I know there’s the whole “all press is good press” thing, but, maybe not in this case. As if having their advertising efforts laughed at and criticised wasn’t bad enough, Peloton’s shares have actually gone down by 9% as a result of it. It just goes to show how crucial it is to get the ad and message right.

They recently responded to the criticism by saying that the ad was “misinterpreted”, and I do get what they were trying to do, but I think a few things were overlooked when choosing how to communicate it. It’ll be interesting to see how Peleton plan to recover from this and what their next ad will be like. Whether this one’s “sexist” or “dystopian” can be argued, but what can’t be, is how painful it is to watch. 

Categories
Advertising PR

The Christmas Cup-Off

Well lads it’s that time of year again, C H R I S T M A S (cups) – get your Mariah Carey playlists pumpin and dig out that Christmas tea towel you’ve lying at the bottom of your third drawer. If you listen carefully, you can almost hear Michael Bublé doing his warm-up.

First of November marks the start of the countdown, and what better way to start than with beautiful festive coffee cups??

Me and my ma had a competition going to see who could spot and photograph (trust no one) the first Christmas cups of the year. The prize (aside from the pleasure of winning) was the winner got taken out on a coffee date by the loser. And there’s me always say I’m strictly anti-gambling, I know. The HYPOCRISY of me.

Well – I won. I saw ELEVEN Starbucks ones in town on the 1st but couldn’t whack out my phone in time, but finally captured the red cups in action on Tuesday (thank you, Caitlin for bringing in your Starbucks to the lecture).

But me and Claire aren’t the only ones having a Christmas cup competition, the coffee shops are, too.

It’s like a Christmas cup-off in the coffee shop world; if you don’t have them, you could be losing out on customers. Let’s be real, we all go somewhere purely for the novelty of the cups this time of year. People go into cafés and ask for a takeaway cup even though they’re sitting in (and not just because the takeaway’s are bigger) and parents ask for cups for their children (I know this is true because my ma does it for me). Little do the baristas know that “my wee girl” is 21, not 5.

It’s a race to see who can release them first (usually Starbuck’s, and Caffé Nero last) and who can do it best. Yeah, fair, people actually want the drinks inside, so I guess nailing the menu is important too, but the real winner is the winner of the cup design.

Not a fan of Starbucks but their cup game is strong

See, you don’t have to go for a fancy festive drink, you can get your bog standard americano, but give it a wee bitta razzle dazzle with a Santa cup. It’s a simple way to get in the holiday mood, without having to drink an eggy, cherry-y or gingerbread sugar-bomb concoction. Dentists, rejoice.

Companies need to NAIL their Christmas drinks campaign, and not just to attract customers with their coffees and cups. What’s the whole point of branded cups – Christmas or otherwise? Brand reinforcement. You need a distinctive cup so when people see that cup on the train, in people’s hands or used as an ashtray on someone’s windowsill (classy), they know who’s it is.

See a Costa cup, *subliminal message received*. Want a coffee? You didn’t but since you saw that woman with one, you’re kinda in the mood for one. Sure why not nip into the Costa round the corner there, you deserve it. Don’t want one? No problem. Sure just REMEMBER that Costa cup, retain the brand name and place it at the forefront of your mind so when you think coffee, you think Costa. Just visualise that cup, v i s u a l i s e.

So having a Christmas cup that really grabs attention is ESSENTIAL. Why do you think there’s so many ads for them? Companies need to shout about their fabulous crimbo cups (and drinks, I guess) so that when you see a wee Rudolph, Santa or Christmas tree cup, you know where it’s from. Christmas cups aren’t normally in the brand’s colours or style, so they need to make people aware that “hey, we look different, but it’s still us”. Not that Clements need to do that because the grinches that they are keep the same grey cups all year round – bah humbug.

So, lads, the Christmas cup-off is ON – but only one can win. Who are you voting for?

Categories
Advertising

Beans are Beans – Why Buy Brands?

Okay, this has something which always confused me. What’s the craic with people buying branded food? I don’t get why people pay so much more for a branded food item, when there are loads of cheaper options available. Like why would you want to spend more?

Y’all at Tesco

I’m a student, yes, but that’s irrelevant. Even if I had the money to buy branded foods, I still wouldn’t, because I really don’t see the point. “The branded ones are nicer”, well okay but I really don’t think having a “nicer” tin of sweetcorn is going to seriously improve my life to be honest. But thank you anyway.

I’ve always wondered how big brands still do so well, because supermarket own brands are available left, right and centre. I know back in the day, that this wasn’t the case; it was either buy the big brand or buy nothing. Brands were the only real option when doing your shopping. But nowadays, pretty much every food item comes in a cheaper version. There’s even several TV Shows like Eat Well for Less, which encourage people to switch from expensive brands and try cheaper alternatives to save money. 

Right, maybe I’m missing something here, but why would you pay £1.50 for a loaf of bread when you can literally get one for 36p? I buy it. I’m not dead yet, it’s decent bread like. It’s not really salty, makes a nice wee sandwich, and is UNREAL toasted. So why would you pay £1.14 more for BREAD? Like, I seriously don’t get that.

People buy branded products for the assumed better quality. But how important is it? How important is the quality of a tin of chopped tomatoes? Is the 28p tin going to absolutely destroy your precious spaghetti bolognese? Is the 80p tin going to make it taste like Gordon Ramsay made it himself?

That’s the thing, people assume. “You get what you pay for”. That’s a brilliant wee line, which brand’s marketing department came up with that one? It’s not true like. How many times have you bought something that wasn’t worth what you paid for it? Probably a lot more times than the price was justified. “You get what you pay for”, that, that is the thing keeping big brands in business. That’s their mantra. They depend on people thinking that to justify them charging more.  

Some people don’t “need” to save money and can “afford to buy the big brands”. Good for you, congrats on your financial situation. But surely there’s something you’d rather spend your money on? Something that’ll last longer than the 5 minutes it takes to eat?

Maybe it’s for some kind of self-fulfilment or something, I don’t know. Maybe it makes people feel good in a way because they feel like they’re giving themselves the best that they can? “I’m treating myself to the finest baked beans money can buy” or something like that.

I mean, it has to be to impress and please yourself, right? Who else cares? Unless you want the sales assistant to think, “Wow, he’s living the high life. I wish I paid £4 for a box of corn flakes. I aspire to be that man” as they beep your shopping through.

For some, it’s a habit. They just buy whatever brand they grew up with. They didn’t have the supermarket own ones when they were younger, so they’ve just kept buying the same ones they always have. They grew to love that brand, and its food. They think “I’m not going to like any other ones as much as these ones”, but sure why not try others and see if there’s one you like just as much?

Of course, it’s your money, you can do what you want with it and you don’t need a 21 year old telling you which loaf to buy.  

Youse to me right now

I’m not saying ‘boycott all big brands’, I’m just saying, why not give cheaper ones a go? If you’ve tried the supermarket own brand version and you really hated it, fair enough. But I don’t see why people don’t even consider them. What have you got to lose? 36p? Sure what’s that compared to the £1.50 you were going to spend anyway?

Rant over. Sort of.

Another thing I don’t get, and which confuses me even more, is why people buy supermarket own brands, but buy the dearer version? Let me clarify, supermarkets normally have a few own brand ranges: the regular range and the value one. There’s the finest one too, but like, that’s for people who do stuff like host dinner parties and eat cheese as a dessert. Madness.

Grapes. Let’s talk about grapes (now you’re excited, aren’t you?) You can get a 500g packet for £1.06, or, you can get a 500g packet for £2. They’re both Tesco’s own. One is ‘Suntrail’ and one is ‘Tesco’.  Same colour, same weight, same use by date. Just dropped a nice wee rhyme there, hope someone noticed. So what’s the difference? The price.  

I mean, you can’t really say that one range tastes better because not all grapes are created equal. Some are nicer than others. Sometimes I get a packet which is UNREAL, and sometimes they’re just standard grapes. But does this only happen with the cheaper ones? Can you categorically say that every individual packet of Tesco grapes is nicer than every single packet of the Suntrail ones? Despite being a different variety, from a different supplier in a different country, picked at a different time of the year? Really? You sure?

Now, just going to throw this out there, but I reckon people buy the more expensive ones for the packaging, not the actual food.  Hear me out.

Tesco reinvented their value range. It’s no longer ‘Tesco Value’; the products don’t come in plain white packaging with Arial font. Instead, they’ve got ‘Suntrail Farms’, ‘Grower’s Own’, ‘Neville’s’, and ‘Stockwell’s.  They’re all Tesco’s own version, but different categories have different names and different branding. And they come in nice colourful packaging with a funky wee font and logo and all. Lovely.

Why did Tesco do this? So people don’t feel like they’re buying the ‘cheap, budget option’. It gives the impression that they’re still buying a brand. Neville’s? That’s a brand. Grower’s Own? Also a brand. A cheaper one made by the supermarket, but a brand nonetheless.

This is because for some reason, people are embarrassed to buy own brands and value ranges. There’s this sort of stigma that if you buy own brands, you’ll be seen as cheap or stingy or poor. And to be honest, that’s a bit disgraceful like. People shouldn’t feel ashamed for buying cheaper food. It’s the same way people get embarrassed and hide the stickers when they buy ‘reduced’ items.

Did Tesco change the recipes? The food product inside? No. Just the packaging.  Because they know that the packaging changes how people view the product. From we’re no age, we’re told, “it’s what’s on the inside that counts”, so why isn’t this the case for food? If it tastes nice, what difference does it make if the packet looks ‘boring’ or ‘cheap’? Just gonna come out and say it, y’all are shallow.

P.S – This post was not sponsored by Tesco, I just shop there so know the prices. Although a wee giftcard wouldn’t be turned down.

Categories
Advertising PR

Coffee Doesn’t Costa Thing

Well lads, in case you haven’t heard, Costa are giving people FREE COFFEE today  at all of their Costa Express machines. Can I get a ‘yeo’?

Not the type of Yeo I meant, but ok Google, cheers.

That’s right, pop into any wee garage or shop with one of these ‘Costa Express’ bad boys and grab yourself a free coffee. And, this is available all day (1st October). No conditions and no hidden charges. Except you’re only allowed one per person, but sure there’s nothing stopping you caffeine junkies doing a wee tour and hitting them all up. #RoadTrip. Not that I would condone such behaviour. Not at all.

So, why is Costa doing this? Well, to celebrate National Coffee Day and promote their snazzy machine coffee. But, why this specific tactic?

Well, to raise awareness. They want to shout about the fact that you don’t have to visit a Costa to get Costa coffee. There’s the sort of assumption that machine coffee isn’t as nice as the “proper stuff”. So, they want to tell everyone that you don’t have to choose convenience or good coffee. So, good news for people who like Costa coffee but don’t live or be near one. And of course, good news for Costa who are able to ‘go’ to those who aren’t ‘coming’ to them. But, the thing is, you no don’t have to want to go to Costa or have a Costa coffee. You just have to want a coffee. Being realistic, if you’re driving about at 8 in the morning in rush hour traffic, you’ll probably take any brand of coffee you can get your hands on. “There’s a garage, I’ll pop in there while I get petrol”, “There’s a shop at the top of the road, I’ll pop in there while I grab a meal deal”. Whether it be Frank and Honest, Barista Bar, Centra’s own or Costa, you’ll most likely buy it.

The point is, Costa aren’t restricting themselves to deliberate purchases. They’re increasing their convenience and impulse sales, too. More people are buying and drinking Costa coffee, whether or not they intend to.

So, where are these machines? Which shops or garages? Well, you can figure out where your nearest one is today, can’t you? “We’ve got decent machine coffee at selected retailers” doesn’t exactly motivate people to jump to Google and see where, does it? “We’ve got FREE COFFEE at our coffee machines” does. I’m guessing Google’s got A LOT of recent searches asking where these machines are. So, Costa doesn’t really have to promote where exactly the machines are, because customers are hella motivated to figure it out for themselves. Then they’ll know for future where they can get this decent machine brew. It’s a wee coffee-fuelled treasure hunt. Move over, Easter bunny.

Normally, the point of offering ‘free’ things is that you’re hoping people will buy other items off you while they’re there; but, it would be the retailers benefiting from this, not Costa. If they offered free coffee at Costa cafés, people might buy biscuits, buns or food while they’re there, so Costa can still make money. But, in an independent retailer, Costa won’t reap the benefit of any add-ons. Unless they’ve agreed to get commission for every Kit-Kat sold or something, I don’t know.

They’re probably hoping for repeat purchases and loyalty. Once people try Costa machine coffee, they’ll never go back to anything else. Well, in theory, that’s possible, yeah. But there’s always gonna ‘brand switchers’ who just want the freebies or whatever’s on offer, regardless of the brand (@ me). This is always the case with this type of marketing promotion, but maybe even more so because of the ‘convenience’ nature of these coffees. Like I said, it’s not just people who want a Costa coffee, but a coffee in general. So, they’ll likely buy whatever the quick and handy option is.

The thing is, whether people decide to be brand loyal to Costa Express coffee or not, depends on if they reckon the taste and quality is worth the price. The fact is, once the offer’s over, you have to pay the same price for the machine coffee as you would a barista one from a Costa café. So people need to decide whether they’d rather have a Costa machine one for like £2.50, or if they’d be happy to go back to their regular 99p or £1.79 or whatever they normally pay. If it’s a small price difference to their usual, standard machine brew, chances are yeah, they will become loyal. But again, this mightn’t be through specific intention.

“£3 machine coffee?” Costa’s dream customer^

So, it’s a bit of a risk for Costa, and an expensive one at that. So, what else is in it for them? Well, they’re getting people talking. They’re getting free publicity. Everyone will be saying, “Here, did ya hear there’s free coffee at the garage down the road?”, “Costa are doing free coffee, Google the closest one for us there”, I can’t even mentally prepare myself for the cued Insta stories “Thank u @Costa!!!”. We all know how powerful word of mouth is, you trust your mates more than ads, so if they like the coffee, chances are it’s good. They’re not being paid to say it like. Plus, not to state the obvious but Costa have managed to get ME to write about them so they MUST have hit the jackpot. Lucky duckies.

So, Costa can sit back while consumers spread the word and promote the offer, their brand, the machines that do NICE coffee (I didn’t know it was possible either) AND the location of them, for free. Maybe that’s worth more than the £2.50 coffee is.

“Free publicity?” ^Costa

A wee downfall is that Costa cafés might get fewer sales, but, mostly for takeaways or pre-planned visits. People who are passing by and aren’t near an Express machine will still call in. People who wanna sit on comfy seats and leech off their wifi and electricity for a few hours will still call in. People who take a wee notion for a coffee will still call in. Plus, it’s national coffee day so they should be busy enough like. So, it’s good news for them. But, bad news for baristas who were hoping to skive for the day. Sorry, mate.

But, this tactic doesn’t just benefit Costa, it potentially harms competitors, too. Double whammy. If Costa are serving more, then, their competitors might be serving less. Costa could benefit from ‘sales’ from those who would usually get their coffee elsewhere. Just say you go to Caffe Nero or Starbucks normally (even though they leave their water taps running CONSTANTLY), would you not be more likely to give the Costa one a go since it’s free? You never know, you might actually prefer it. There’s not much in the price anyway. So that’s another thing, Costa are able to encourage consumption by those who would otherwise not be motivated to switch brands. They could become some people’s “new favourite”. So, increasing consumption of your own brand while possibly reducing that of your competitors, not a shabby idea, lads. Chapeau.

So, go forth and enjoy your free Costa coffee (unless you live in the north of Ireland of course, SHOCK we’re oppressed excluded).

*Not sponsored by Costa. Although, if you want to repay me in cappuccinos, that would be nice 🙂

Categories
Advertising Fashion PR social media

2,599,964‬ Fake Fans

We all know that ‘IG Influencers’ are thee new, hip-happening social media marketing tactic, with many major companies ‘collabing’ with bloggers, vloggers and other ‘big names’ on social media (although clearly not because I haven’t been DM’d yet?) to get them to promote their goods.

The whole idea is: “okay they have 1 million followers, so we should get x many impressions; they get around 50,000 likes so there’s at least 50,000 active users who will be exposed to the content. Of these 50,000, x many will actually ‘like’ the product (not just double tap while mindlessly scrolling) and then proceed to buy the merch”. Simple.

So, how come an Instagram influencer with over 2 million followers, was unable to sell 36 items from their own clothing line?

Instagram influencer Arii launched her own clothing line, and then 13 days later uploaded (and since deleted) a post apologising to her ‘fans’. I think. To be honest, I’m not really sure what the point of the post was, she seemed to be apologising to customers, calling people out and thanking others at the same time? I’ll let you be the judge because here’s a wee screenshot. Enjoy.

Anyway, Arii states that the clothing company she was working with had a rule that she had to sell a minimum amount of products for them to keep working with her and producing the clothes, which seems fair enough like, it has to be worth their while. But, the minimum order amount wasn’t achieved, which meant the clothes couldn’t be produced so any buyers had to get refunds instead, and the company would stop working with her. Yikes.

So, what went wrong? How could someone with (apparently) such a big ‘influence’ over hundreds of thousands of people and the power to persuade them to buy certain things, fail to persuade them to buy her own line?

Well, likes aren’t everything. *Louder for the Gen Z’ers in the back*. 40,000 likes doesn’t mean 40,000 orders. Your followers and likers aren’t necessarily going to be your customers. People follow companies just to have a wee jook, but have no real intention of buying their products. And on the flip side, I don’t follow a single clothing company on Instagram, but I buy from them. It’s not about how many follow you, but who. Are they actual customers, fans or just wee robots?

Another lil issue may be that Arii didn’t really promote the line? She posted one video announcing the launch. Then another promo post for good measure. And then, boom: the line “failure” post. I’m no expert, but how can people buy what they don’t know about?

But, apart from all that, what about the clothes themselves? Look at Arii’s feed. Look what she wears – the style, the colours. Now look at her clothing line. Does it look like the sort of thing she would or does wear? Sweatshirts and what I can only assume are cycling(?) clothes don’t really fit in with her style. She isn’t even wearing her own clothes in her posts? Even if you don’t actually wear them, at least whack on a sweatshirt, take some pics saying how “comfy” and “cute” it is and then change into something else. Just lie, girl.

People follow influencers and like their photos because they like what they’re wearing. They have similar style, so will buy clothes of that style. If you show them something completely different to what they like or wear, why would they buy them? You need to know who your customers are and what they want. Just because you are selling a product, doesn’t mean that people will buy it. Especially if you wouldn’t even buy it yourself.

But sure don’t we all love a wee conspiracy theory? What if this was just a marketing ploy? Did Arii think and hope that sharing her story of fake friends, fake fans and unfulfilling promises would make some of her 2.6 million followers feel bad and buy the products to help a gal out? Did she want them to take pity on her? Young girl starting her own clothing line in this massively competitive market is bound to be daunting like, why not give her a hand in helping her achieve her dream? Or did she want them to take pity on the people who actually wanted and bought the products but now had to be refunded instead because not enough people ordered them? I don’t know much (or anything really) about clothes production but it seems a bit weird that a minimum order amount is 36 pieces? Could’ve at least picked a round number, pffft.

The post was also deleted which is a bit sus. Maybe she realised that it was a bit questionable to blame people who didn’t buy her clothes and broken promises for the failure of the line. I mean, maybe making your fans feel guilty isn’t the best move? Neither is calling out people who didn’t leave you a review. Or maybe, the post had caused enough drama and pity to get people to buy enough clothes to fulfil the order amount. Either that, or she noticed that she forgot the word “take”. I sure did.

me

So why did Arii’s clothing line supposedly fail? Was it because she didn’t do market research before launching the line and people just don’t like the clothes? Maybe it was because she didn’t actually promote it? Or, was it all a big lie and this is actually her way of promoting it? That post got Twitter and Instagram talking about her and her line, with everyone giving their (very qualified) marketing opinions and advice. Buzzfeed wrote about it, and more importantly, I’m writing about it. So it must be a big deal.

Then again, maybe we’re giving her too much credit and it was just an ugly clothing line that only 35 people liked. Who knows?