media trends

Grandmothers wearing mini-skirts

There are things in this world that just aren’t right.  Who told politicians it was a good idea to go around kissing babies?  Why do some companies insist on calling me at home in the middle of dinner and then expect me to buy something off them?

Then there is the phenomenon in advertising and marketing that is akin to a grandmother wearing a mini skirt.  I’m talking about those companies who, in an effort to reach out to the younger demographics, decide its time to get down and get trendy.

There are some brands that are just naturally young.  Coca Cola, Virgin and Rip Curl are just a few that come to mind.  But if your company decides you desperately need to connect with Gen Y’s or whoever, avoid at all costs the temptation to go “mini skirt hunting”. 

There are some companies that my kids just want to stay middle aged or even a bit older.  They like it that way. 

A few years ago I was trying to help a respected older company lift its sales to younger people.  We naturally assumed that being part of the “Internet generation” we had to focus our attention online and perhaps show a bit of leg. True, online was a good channel for starting the conversation but a surprisingly large number of the younger folk we surveyed actually wanted to have a face-to-face conversation with someone like…their mum.  If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. We are talking here about insurance designed to cover you for things you haven’t experienced yet…like perhaps having kids of your own one day.  You’d actually feel much better talking to someone who looks like they might know a bit about it.

If you’re selling surf products, I’m happy to accept the 18 year old in board shorts with tatts.  But many products and services need to remember that credibility doesn’t come from how hip you are but- far more importantly regardless of the generation- how trustworthy you are.  

Advertising...you get what you pay for

The truth of advertising – please forgive my phrasing – is that you get what you pay for. Ad agencies hate the likes of Gerry Harvey and his self-made cronies who like to produce their own TV and radio commercials in house. Putting aside the ad industry’s self interest in loss of potential revenue, they do have a point. Making great advertising that genuinely delivers a message is a lot more difficult than most people think. More to the point, it isn’t just about striding into the main street with a loud hailer and shouting at people. There is just too much going on and these days consumers don’t have to watch, read or listen to your ad – they have a choice. I have to confess I watch most of my TV these days through Foxtel IQ –meaning I fast forward through the ad breaks.

A sense of urgency

Standby for an overwhelming stereotype: There are two types of people in this world – the slow, steady considered types who follow the mantra that fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Then there’s the polar opposite. The stitch in time saves nine types – who go by gut feel and seize the opportunity just in time.

The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in between. There are times when it is right to step back, take a deep breath and think carefully before acting. But equally so, there are times when you need to act.