advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Eh, screw it—why not just pay people to use stuff.

It’s where we’re headed, no? In some ways, Matthew Lesko is like your crazy uncle. (If, you have one.) At times part consumer advocate on the order of Ralph Nadar, at others, whacked pitchman with Riddler suit. But I got this email blast that made me do a double-take.

It says instead of spending a ton of money on TV spots (and the agencies who run them), he’s offering that money as $5 rebates to people to go to his website and try his service. (The catch is that you have to sign up for a $1 7-day trial to get the five back.) But, it’s just crazy enough for larger brands to try in times like these.

Because while talking about conversation ripples and influencers is nice, in times like these? Money talks—that shit walks. We need less involved descriptions of how we buy stuff or “talk” to brands and more practical things that have tangible value.

Of course, rebates are nothing new. At their core, they’re direct response. (Look at the spin Denny’s put on it with their free meal promotion last Super Bowl.) There, it had the support of major media behind it. But if Lesko is avoiding TV to get the word out and can drive traffic to the offer, then he’s right, isn’t he?

Why spend for impressions that don’t guarantee anything when word of mouse and earned media does the job for you?

The piece on Denver Egotist about the underwater billboard drew an interesting comment. Someone wondered if it wasn’t the discount that drew people to buy more than any whacky stunt, and it’s a valid point. How do you know it wasn’t?

Talking with a friend about promotions that brands run, and concept of Schooner Tuna marketing came up. (It’s from a scene in Mr. Mom where the fictional CEO of Schooner Tuna basically rolled back prices until things were better *cue flag prop at end* Sales were insane.

Fictional, yes, but we were trying to think of another brand recently that has agreed to any kind of serious longterm rollback like that, and we couldn’t. I don’t mean small discount or $5 Subway.

He applied the theory to pets. Because of the high cost of keeping them is as much as kid depending on the breed, a dogfood company could own the market if just they came out and agreed to cut prices by half. Then, in a year, the price reverts.

Or say ketchup. In a category of condiment sameness, wouldn’t a price rollback be a major differentiator? If Heinz 57 was suddenly half, what other catchup would you buy? (His other point by the way: Name a third catchup in the category. I couldn’t.)

The point?

Not sure, except that at the rate P&G or Unilever claim they’re rewriting agency procurement rulebooks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go direct to the consumer this Super Bowl with some kind of drastic price rebate, rollback or wild offer on several of their products. Take the million dollars you want to give to just two people for a user-gen TV spot and share the wealth.

I would.

No comments: