Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Enough about you... let's talk about me

Rowse Honey's newly launched marketing activity has a lot going for it. They asked their own staff to write and film potential TV ads which are now online (facebook.com/rowsehoney), and they're asking people to vote on their favourite. It's a really nice demonstration of employee engagement - they've clearly managed to infuse their whole workforce with the joy of marketing. And what comes across is that they are a small, family centred company - quite an attractive, yet subtle, positioning for honey. Not bad, for their first ever piece of TV advertising.

There are at least three respects, though, in which it could go much further:

1) The awareness driving kicked off with a TVC about the potential TVCs - that's quite an investment in airtime when the whole thing could instead be given a chance to bubble up through social media. And in some ways a glossy launch TVC slightly undermines the "hand-made" credentials. If this is representative of the media plan as a whole (we'll soon see) then it's probably still too "conventional".

2) If only consumers could be engaged as deeply as employees. Clicking "Like" in Facebook is at least not as passive as simply watching an ad, but there could be a lot more scope. When can we submit our own ads? Is there a Sandbox on YouTube so we can share "unauthorised" (risqué) ads? "The birds and the bees,Take 1!" Can we write Rowse slogans? (One of the employees' ads concludes "We're Rowse Honey. We're not jacks of all trades, we're masters of one", which is not bad.) And so on. Involve us, interact with us, incorporate us!

3) It takes time and effort to engage consumers in dialogue. By and large, we want that dialogue to be about our product/ service. By and large consumers want to talk about their own lives and interests. So alarm bells should ring when we come up with ideas to talk to consumers about advertising. How much better would this campaign be if these were employees' films about bees, or about flowers? Then people could talk about their own gardens, or photos from their holidays. "Happy bees make the best honey. Send us a photo of your favourite flowers and we'll make posters for our bees to enjoy"...

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