Tuesday, 4 December 2012

why advertising is too much like parenthood

I recently read a piece online about a young lady who had false legs.

Apparently she had a wardrobe of a dozen different pairs of legs, and would match them to the social occasion she was attending (making them taller, darker, patterned etc) - thus turning a perceived disability to her advantage. It was something she did on purpose to make herself stand out from the crowd, although people were often shocked at what she was doing.

Surely that isn't 'normal' behaviour?

One of the comments from the story (which can be read in full here) has been repeated below 

"The client (parents) doesn’t want it’s child (advertising) to stand out too much. Because if you stand out too much, there’s bound to be trouble with you. The child will upset some people and make other people love it for that. Some people will complain to the parent about the child’s behaviour. And whether the child is more good than bad, all the parent will see is the negative feedback. So better not upset anyone. Better not stand out. Better not try to be different, because that just means more work for the parent. Let’s try to be invisible in a field where the most important thing is to be visible."

I thought that was a brilliant comment. 

No one ever said that being different was going to be easy, and no one ever said being different was going to get you universal praise. But what it does get you, is a piece of advertising that stands out from the crowd. And that is what advertising, in its rawest form, has to do. 

You don't start from the basis that people will look at your advertising, you have to start from the basis that they won't. In order to do that, you have to be different.

For me, too many transport companies aren't different enough in what they do. They are happy to toe the line with their advertising rather than take a big enough step over it.

Monday, 3 December 2012

First get free with their tickets

If you live in Greater Manchester or the Yorkshires, First Bus are giving away free day tickets in your neck of the woods.

As part of the promotional push that seems to prevalent around the group, in return for 5 minutes worth of personal information on their website (here) locals will be a sent a free First Day ticket for them to try the bus with.

For me, there is no denying that non users find certain bus tickets a little less than value for money - especially for standard return journeys or where there is a larger group travelling - in comparison to taking the car. So what better way to convince them otherwise than with a 'try before you buy' incentive.

Not only does it gives sceptics a chance to see the benefits of bus travel but also means the operator has to step up to the plate on the basics and deliver a service they are proud of (something they should be doing as standard admittedly).

Would be interesting to know what other marketing they are doing to promote the offer in the region too.