Pilot Light

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Archive for March 2008

Bunnies of Steel: Selling chocs through vomworthy stunts

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FMCG is a challenging area too often left to the most candy flossy of fluffy bunnies. They rely on insultingly basic sleb-led tactics: like jamming chocs and bog roll into the handbags of e-listers, or even getting faux soul popsters with less cred than biro-ed on hair extensions to do the adverts. Yes, I am referring to the dream inspired Jocelyn Stoker (aka ‘Joss Stone’) Flake video, which most people in this office could only stand 20 seconds of before the screaming started. Being a glutton for the reality of what our culture has become I watched it all before entering a catatonic trance.

This trauma was partially assuaged by the subtle, foul genius of today’s Metro on Page 3. Cadbury’s people achieved a whole page of spectacular, gut-churning coverage based on a classic ‘shock’ stunt. Some Kentish chippie is claiming to be deep frying Crème Eggs. That’s it. But you get an account of all the fun and not-so-fun ways to eat the things, the fact that they are only 171 calories etc etc. Classic tactic. Assume there is more coverage elsewhere too and this guff may even go international. The moral of the story is that faux eccentricity and gross out based stunts still work.

Just to be sure, we telephoned Cornford Fish and Chips in glorious Maidstone, expecting to find that they didn’t really exist. The canny Cadbury’s bunnies thought of that too. They are 60p and are flying out the door like wasps from a discarded pop tin in summer.



Written by pilotlight

07/03/2008 at 3:04 pm

Posted in Media, PR

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Refuelling a dead brand

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With the majority of the news fired onto our front pages last week
revolving around Prince Harry secretly being whisked off to a war zone,
it was reassuring when some interesting NEWS chugged into the press on
Thursday. This didn’t accelerate onto the front page like a royal
scandal but merely idled in the background of the business section.

The news was the announcement that car conglomerate Renault-Nissan paid
$1.17 billion USD for a 25% stake in Russian carmaker Autovaz and is
planning to recharge their most famous brand, Lada. The deal would lead
to an initial public offering in London in September or October and by
the end of 2009 we would see a new Lada model released.

This news will be lamented by automobile enthusiasts as in the past the Lada has been seen as a little more than a Soviet thorn in the side of mechanics and lovers of style the world over. What I can guarantee though is we will begin to see more PR, marketing and advertising around this old marque as we witness a tired and troubled brand like try to refuel itself.

The deal takes Renault-Nissan-Autovaz onto the podium as the third
largest car-making group in the world behind General Motors (GM) and

Toyota. What is going to be interesting to see, from a marketeer’s
perspective, is whether they follow the lead of the bigger players in
their marcoms roadmap or adopt a style all of their own. Following the
lead of the bigger players would mean one of two approaches – localised
marketing and PR campaigns or “One Size Fits All”.

If they choose to take the GM route, they will localise their businesses
and marketing by selling cars under a native marque and give each
marketing campaign a local flavour. For example GM in Korea is Daewoo, in Australasia it is under the guise of Holden, in Europe it is Opel and in the UK it comes in the form of Vauxhall.

Toyota, the world’s leading automobile manufacturer, on the other hand
steers their brand with a one size fits all approach. Toyota take the Japanese approach to marketing and believe in best of breed and that the quality, build and sheer superiority of their vehicles will make them sell. This is taken from their world famous “kaizen” management style and pushed out to the entire marcoms strategy.

So from a marketing and PR perspective there is an interesting road
ahead. How can the world’s third biggest car conglomerate refuel a tired
brand and become a driving force in an established industry? Will they
decide to drive down the GM and Toyota track and take the “old brick” to new markets? Or will they just stick to the BRIC economies… Only time will tell.

You never know, before too long we may even see a Lada Riva take to the
Top Gear track and post a record lap time. We will have to wait and see
whether the lap time and the brand can make it to the front of the

Matt L

Written by pilotlight

04/03/2008 at 1:13 pm

Posted in Advertising, Business

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