Hot cam­paigns, clue­less PROs...

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - MEDIA& MARKETING -

I RE­ALLY am get­ting just a bit tired of breath­less dig­i­tal mar­keters try­ing to tell me – and their clients – that Face­book “likes” are some­how in­dica­tive of a suc­cess­ful cam­paign.

You can’t eat likes… which is another way of say­ing likes are mean­ing­less, re­ally. What mat­ters is the bot­tom line and how many wid­gets you move off the shelves.

And when it comes to mov­ing wid­gets, we in the “di­nosaur” me­dia can still do ex­actly that, and more cost-ef­fec­tively than some of the newtech so­lu­tions.

But not all print ads are cre­ated equal. For me, the trick is to have a good, eye-catch­ing im­age and a sim­i­larly ar­rest­ing tagline. Once the at­ten­tion has been grabbed, you’ve got to put in a “call to ac­tion”, with a good price so peo­ple will be at­tracted fur­ther along the road to pur­chase.

A re­ally good ex­am­ple of a print ad which hits all of those marks is the cur­rent one for Wilder­ness Sa­faris pro­mot­ing its camps in Namibia for SADC res­i­dents.

A photo of a group of desert ele­phants wan­der­ing through the seem­ingly in­hos­pitable Kaokoveld (where Wilder­ness has some of its camps) in­stantly calls to a soul yearn­ing for space and peace af­ter the bus­tle of the city.

The tagline gets right to the point: Dis­cover Namibia. From R1 500 per per­son per night. That’s a good price for the qual­ity on of­fer and Namibia is a “bucket list” desti­na­tion (I lived there for five years and I long to go back). The of­fer is for SADC res­i­dents as part of the com­pany’s cam­paign to make its camps more af­ford­able for lo­cals.

I bet you it will work, too. Wellde­signed ad, well-writ­ten copy, good of­fer. It de­serves an Orchid.

Busi­ness should be about pro­fes­sion­ally de­liv­er­ing goods or ser­vices for a rea­son­able price and in a way which gen­er­ates profit. It’s a hard and some­times in­hu­man world. But we all know busi­ness is about re­la­tion­ships – and mar­ket­ing, done well, is what helps to build those re­la­tion­ships for your com­pany or your brand.

This was brought home to me this week at a break­fast meet­ing in Sand­ton with Carter Mur­ray, world­wide chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Draft­fcb group. The fact that a full house of mar­ket­ing jour­nal­ists made a trip of at least an hour each through rush-hour traf­fic to meet Mur­ray is in­dica­tive not only of his im­por­tance in the global world of ad­ver­tis­ing, but of the high re­gard in which Draft­fcb, and es­pe­cially its Joburg op­er­a­tion, is held by those of us who com­ment on the in­dus­try.

That’s a re­la­tion­ship which has been built up over years and is founded on mu­tual re­spect and trust. Draft­fcb and its South African CEO, John Dixon, don’t al­ways agree with what I say, but they lis­ten, they re­spect it and they don’t hold grudges.

From my side, I recog­nise the agency still does uniquely South African work… and which is of­ten, sadly, not given the recog­ni­tion it de­serves at awards, al­though its clients, like Toy­ota and Old Mu­tual, ap­pre­ci­ate it.

Much of that re­la­tion­ship has been built on good pub­lic re­la­tions, via Draft­fcb’s agency, C Cubed Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and its “old hands”, Cathy van Zyl and Pe­tra Pea­cock. They un­der­stand, ex­actly, what my re­quire­ments are in terms of news and al­ways de­liver what they prom­ise.

They pro­vide a stark con­trast to the sort of slap­dash PR churned out by in­com­pe­tent peo­ple (I hes­i­tate to call them prac­ti­tion­ers, be­cause I can hear the re­doubtable – and pro­fes­sional – Mar­cus Brew­ster chid­ing me for glo­ri­fy­ing them with that de­scrip­tion).

This week, I was tear­ing out what lit­tle hair I have left over a PR per­son who com­pounded her own in­com­pe­tence by play­ing the wounded in­no­cent when I told her to “get her act to­gether”.

An out­fit called Younique Con­cepts, ir­ri­tated me twice last year by think­ing I was the ed­i­tor of Stu­dent Life (do I look like a stu­dent?). De­spite be­ing told I wasn’t, their Stephanie Steckel re­peated the same gaffe ear­lier this year.

This week, how­ever, took the cake. Steckel e-mailed me to ask for a PDF of Page 2 of the Satur­day Star, in which her client’s piece had ap­peared. Hear­ing my wife’s voice re­mind­ing me not to be grumpy, I duly went to our PDF li­brary, searched for the page and found it – but not a trace of the story.

I e-mailed that to her and and got a re­sponse: It can’t be – I have a clip­ping here.… Page 2, 48Hours. Two dif­fer­ent prod­ucts, so clearly you don’t know the dif­fer­ence (see PR 101). So, still swal­low­ing my ir­ri­ta­tion (and hear­ing that voice again), I got P2 of 48 Hours and sent it to her. Oh no, she said, I wanted the one from Oc­to­ber 5.

That is weapons-grade stu­pid­ity and when told her to get her act to­gether, she replied: “Be­ing friendly doesn’t cost any­thing…”

First of all, Stephanie, do not pre­sume to throw your Hall­mark plat­i­tudes at me, I did not get off the Mthatha bus yes­ter­day morn­ing. Sec­ond, I am not your friend, I am not your brother or your fa­ther. I am some­one you have in­con­ve­nienced be­cause of your in­com­pe­tence. If that makes you feel of­fended, then too bad.

Busi­ness is about pro­fes­sion­al­ism first. Once you’ve got that right, then you can think about build­ing a re­la­tion­ship. In the mean­time, take this Onion. Sorry – please take this Onion (did you no­tice how po­lite I was?)

GOOD EX­AM­PLE: Eye-catch­ing im­age, ar­rest­ing tagline, call to ac­tion.

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