Archivo del July, 2013

If You’re in Marketing, Kill Yourself


I found this lovely headline on social media, spewed forth by someone – probably an engineer – who hasn’t been convinced by the message of this blog: that marketing can help society and marketing professionals can create value for society.

The outburst was in response to a new marketing application: train windows that talk. If you’re riding the metro and you lean against a window, advertising – about insurance, detergent or whatever – can now be delivered directly to your brain. The advertising agency BBDO created this new application, known as Sky Deutschland. Tired commuters who lean their head against a window receive vibrations that are translated by the brain into sound – a voice inside their head that no one else can hear. Talking windows.

This technology – also found in Google Glass – could be used to pipe music, public-transit information, weather forecasts and, of course, advertising directly into commuters’ brains. This development was foretold not by Orwell but by Professor Farnsworth of Futurama: “It’s very simple. The ad gets into your brain.”

The technology is out there, and marketers must now decide how to apply it. It’s a technology suited to sensory marketing. The sense of sight is relatively simple; we can identify around 200 different colours, whereas the sense of smell can distinguish up to 10,000 aromas. We know that the sense of hearing brings emotions into perception. Even as adults, our brains react to sounds we first heard in the womb. In one study, when people were asked to describe an emotional experience, 96% recalled hearing a song (compared to 70% who mentioned some sort of sexual activity).

The list of potential social-marketing applications for talking windows is already growing: fundraising, public-health messages, campaigns against antisocial behaviours. But to paraphrase Jurassic Park’s Ian Malcolm, when faced with a horde of velociraptors: scientists have been so busy developing technology that they haven’t stopped to think about whether they should. God help us, we’re in the hands of engineers. And engineers are the death of marketers.

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Neymar means happiness

Various studies reveal that sports fans behave strangely. There is the well-known ‘March Madness’ as American university basketball hits the news. It is marked by a 50% surge in vasectomies, with men using convalescence as a lame excuse to stay ‘glued to the box’. Then there are all those tone-deaf Britons and Greeks who are spellbound by ‘the ‘talent’ singing and jigging around at Anfield Road or at the OAKA Sports Hall.

A fascinating finding is that sports fans are often much happier than lesser mortals and that match results are less important than the idle chit-chat they give rise to. This helps them share things and strike up relations that makes them psychologically healthier. As a result, they suffer fewer depressions and enjoy greater self-respect. It also makes them feel they are backed up by the rest of the tribe — something that helps them stay in good mental health.

Many kinds of fans benefit from this effect. Men overcome their inhibitions and hug and kiss one another with gay abandon — 67% of football fans have wept at least once in a football stadium. Couples find an activity they can enjoy together. Pensioners find that watching sports makes them forget their cares.

We have been asked to evaluate from our marketing expertise the signing of Neymar Jr. Evaluation on the transfer fee Return On Investment (ROI), his position as the world’s biggest marketing money-spinner and his attributes in terms of charisma, willingness and cross over appeal.

We find that Neymar Jr. also represents a social marketing policy — his signing creates happiness. Over 350 media networks turned up at the public presentation and there are now 80 million Internet pages bearing his name — he is the footballer with the greatest presence in Instagram. Neymar gives rise to millions of conversations among fans, reduces depressions and leads to new outbursts of joy. Neymar will make fans happier. Perhaps The State should pay his transfer fees as part of a Benthamite social marketing policy seeking the greatest happiness of the greatest number.

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