Tuesday 18 October 2011

Marketing gone mad

Given that I'm a PR luvvy dahling (well ex now), I understand that the entire year is simply a series of marketing opportunities. What - you weren't aware of that? You thought life was actually about living? Bless. Let me educate you.

Christmas, New Year, Valentines Day, Mother's Day, April Fool's Day, Easter, Father's Day, Grandparents Day, Bank holiday Weekends, summer holidays, Back to School, Halloween, Bonfire Night - and those are just the biggies. Don't forget National Talk Like a Pirate Day, National Egg/baking/curry/meat/lentils/insert anything Week, World Book Day, Safety Awareness Week, International Make Up a Day Day. You get the point.

Marketers don't think like normal people. They live permanently a few months ahead of everyone else. While you might be washing the sand out of your sandals after that fab summer holiday thinking how lovely it was to spend time with your family, marketers are putting the finishing touches on their Christmas campaigns and are well into planning their New Year New You items and probably have Easter in the bag too.

I do understand that they can't exactly wake up on 1 December and suddenly think: 'Oh, there are just 24 shopping days till Christmas, perhaps we should have a chat about what products to make and then figure out how to package them and get them made and shipped to shops all before Christmas'. They have to work in advance.

But there is advance. And there's ADVANCE.

I took this picture in our local supermarket during the first week of September.

Are there actually people who buy their Christmas chocolates in the first week of September? Are these the same organised people who buy their 'back to school stuff' in June leaving the dregs for the rest of us who think their children will probably grow at least 10 inches over the summer? And let's not forget Easter eggs and hot cross buns being available right after Christmas. Because Lord knows we need another religious holiday to start stockpiling for months in advance, just in case the end of the world comes and we haven't got any Cadbury's cream eggs.

But it goes beyond how ridiculously far in advance they promote these 'marketing moments'. It's the extent to which marketers jump onto an idea (no matter how irrelevant it is to their business) and KTAOOI (that is an acronym I made up because I like the onomatopoeiac sound it makes - go on, say it out loud - it stands for Kick The Arse Out Of It).

There are many examples of this (all of which I'm now making up so that I don't get sued).

Things like: 'Sick of the nagging? With Christmas approaching, now's the time to get your divorce sorted out. Use Quickie Divorce and make every night a silent night.'


'It's Back to School at your local car dealership. Read our great prices, do the maths and get an A+ car deal.'


'It's pancake day. The perfect time to buy not just a frying pan, but an entire new kitchen. We'll throw in the free eggs.'

But today while I was out at the supermarket (again) I spotted what has to be my personal favourite completely irrelevant marketing link. Take a look:

Yes folks - that's Halloween-themed loo roll.

So, let me know what you think Andrex's thinking behind this innovation was:

a) Halloween party hosts pay attention to the finest details

b) It's a themed bog roll for 'wrap the mummy' games at halloween parties

c) It's part of a new campaign to celebrate special days. Because your bottom shouldn't be left out of the festivities. Wait for the Father Christmas and Easter bunny range to be pampering your bum soon.

d) For those phantom poos that you know you've done but cannot see in the toilet bowl

e) Halloween is so scary that you'll shit yourself

Go on, give me your pay off line. I might even buy the winning entry a pack of Halloween themed toilet paper.

PS - in case you're wondering, this is absolutely not a sponsored post.


Sarah said...

Ha ha! That really made me laugh. I love the "phantom poo" image. You are absolutely on the money - it is ridiculous and relentless pressure.Let's start a firm called "Just In Time" marketing for those like us who stubbornly refuse to buy in advance but still get the occasion sorted out anyway xx

Home Office Mum said...

Sarah I can see it. A shop that has in its window: It's Christmas day tomorrow. Buy your gift here now.

Gosh and when it's cold, you could buy winter clothes instead of those for spring. And in summer, you could buy a swimsuit instead of winter boots. I think we might be onto something

Jen said...

I spotted that on Saturday too, got to admit I picked it up and thought about decorating the hall with it, then put it back! Somehow themed kitchen roll I am fine with, but themed loo roll is just wrong.

nappy valley girl said...

Haven't seen Halloween loo roll here, but I bet it exists - you can have everything Halloween in America, even special bedding. Christmas is in full swing here already - all the Christmas tablecloths are out in the local Bed Bath and Beyond, with the autumnal ones on special offer (because Thanksgiving is over a month away, so surely you'll have bought everything for that by now. And Halloween is so, like, over).

Nicola said...

Hilarious post! "It's Halloween, I'm going to shit myself..." Classic.

I hate all this crap too - after being in the industry for over 18 years I am so cynical and disparaging of these strategies.

And Halloween themed toilet roll? Oh purrrleease. That is so bloody American (where everything is themed to the nth degree in money-making consumer madness). To see where we are going the same way is, frankly, depressing

Iota said...

Stop the world, I'm getting off.

It feels like Nero fiddling while Rome burned. Consumer-led capitalism is teetering on the brink of collapse and the response is to run harder and faster in tighter circles. Hallowe'en toilet paper is a symptom of the panic that we are all suppressing but know is there, lurking under the surface. In my opinion.

Potty Mummy said...

I'm loving nb 4. You should be in marketing, HOM. Oh. Wait...