I need a wake up light




An exciting development in marketing which has emerged recently is that of geo-fencing. This new technology allows for consumers to be informed of special offers on their favourite brands based on personal information and location. In the UK, Starbucks and L’Oreal are now a part of geo-fencing. This means that once a consumer who has signed up for the service is within half a mile of a Starbucks store, for example, he or she will receive a text offer for a particular type of coffee. Similarly, once near a stockist of L’Oreal products, the consumer will be sent a text with information about a specific deal or money-off offer.

          It seems that marketing is becoming more and more targeted as time goes on. Technology is allowing for this to happen, with Google AdWords already having emerged as a powerful tool in reaching a target audience. It could be argued that targeted marketing works well because it seeks to match individual needs as opposed to merely getting the name of a product known in the hope of generating sales. It ties into the idea that each one of us has a sense of identity, which is different to the identity of every single other person out there. In other words, we see ourselves as having needs different to those of others. We like it when big brands recognise this. It makes us feel special.

          Big brands need to be reminded, however, that each and every one of us is not only an individual, but also a social being. How we define ourselves is very much dependent on the groups we are a part of. A group could be anything from a family unit to a football team. A campaign can be just as successful when it is about sharing something with others as it is when it’s set up to target individuals based on personal details. A good example of this is Guinness’ Arthur’s Day which was based on the idea of celebrating a moment with others and being part of one massive group.

          In advertising, there is a place not only for targeted ads, but also for big branding exercises. It is vital that both individual needs and the concept of social identity are understood by marketers, so that a campaign is allowed to make the best connection possible with the consumer.




Is Mary Byrne Ireland’s answer to the Chilean miners? These good news stories have certainly captured the public’s imagination over recent weeks, and are welcome distractions in a country badly in need of them. Each story represents triumph in the face of adversity; they’re true underdog stories, the kind we really love. It’s impossible to be cynical about either. Or so I thought.

Mary Byrne’s rise to prominence has now been tainted by the idea that she is being given an unfair advantage because she has the support of Tesco behind her. 

What about an unfair disadvantage? The circumstances of Mary’s life have been such that it has taken her until the age of 50 and a show like The XFactor for her to have the chance to showcase her not inconsiderable talent on a large scale. Other contestants grew up with singing classes and piano lessons and stage schools. That Mary can be accused in essence of cheating because her employer is powerful doesn’t tally with me – it feels more like balancing things out.

Moreover, it might well be argued that Mary will do more for Tesco’s image than Tesco will do for hers. Incidentally, in a very nice piece of work, the first spot in the first ad break of the first live episode of Xfactor this year was a good luck message from Tesco to Mary. Nicely done. But what does support from Tesco really mean for Mary?

For Tesco, the connection with Mary provides something meaningful for them; it’s a fantastic opportunity for them to talk about something other than prices and range – something that has genuine currency with their consumer; the entire public. They get to be the friend of the underdog, the everywoman, to be seen as kind to and respectful of their employees, and in touch with the zeitgeist to boot. All valuable things for them to have the chance to communicate.

Tesco is the winner from the relationship, and well done to them; they saw an opportunity and were open, flexible and proactive enough to take full advantage. I for one am impressed.

I especially like the Flatter Me phone service! Enjoy,


X Factor Rules Again

October 7, 2010


Here we go again – another year of X Factor finals. And what a brilliant job the producers have done so far to build up the excitement and publicity surrounding the show. Firstly Cheryl bows out of the auditions early on because of malaria (Tick: pre awareness campaign). Next Chloe Mafia makes it through the auditions in spite of being a prostitute and cocaine addict (Tick: keep momentum going through one of the less exciting parts of the show). Third Gamu Nhengu, who made it through to the judges’ houses, is being deported from the UK for her mother’s immigration breaches (Tick: colossal amount of publicity in the lead up to the first live final).

Last year it was Jedward, this year it’s personal scandals.

And their new strategy is working. Last weekend’s UK viewing figures topped the final episode in 2008.

Just to give you an idea of the continuous growth of the programme in Ireland. From the viewership of the first TV3 show in 2006 to now: Housewife with Kids are up 66%, while the youth 15-34 audience is up 700%

Everyone knows when the X Factor comes back on air. You can’t avoid it. I think if I wasn’t interested I would watch it anyway just so I don’t feel left out of 50% of conversations. It’s unbelievable when you think about the amount of talk it generates.

In an evolving media climate where advertising channels are becoming more and more fragmented, it seems that X Factor is one of the most unifying channels of all.

And who knows what Simon Cowell has up his sleeve next? Bring on Saturday night.


Steve Jobs said recently, “It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want next, it’s mine”. Given the success of all things Apple, this made me wonder, do consumers not know what they want from a product? Are we merely on the receiving end of big ideas, waiting to change our lifestyle and habits based on clever brainstorming by big organisations?

          I can’t agree with Jobs completely on this one. If what he is saying is true across the board, then a lot of money, time and effort are being wasted each year on market research. In relation to focus groups, a recent blog post from Amárach pointed out that although someone may hold a certain opinion, they cannot always explain why. A lot of skill is required to uncover why someone thinks the way they do. A skilled moderator therefore plays a huge role in revealing what people want. Perhaps to the disappointment of Jobs.

          The role of advertising falls somewhere between guiding the consumer towards something new and responding to what they want. It does not ignore the beliefs that are held by a target audience about what they want to see in a given product or service. In fact, advertising often seeks to incorporate this knowledge into the message that is being communicated. Despite this, there is a huge need for creativity within the advertising world. With so many messages out there, advertisers must strive to be original and engaging if we want our message to stand out. It’s a careful balance between knowing the consumer, and giving them something new. Which is perhaps what Apple has been doing all along.


We especially like the Axa iAd,



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