Onions to dine out on
Here’s an Orchid for Nando’s lapel, but tear-filled eyes to you, Sanral
ANDO’S wouldn’t be Nando’s if they didn’t jump in with a cheeky, news-related advert. This week was no different as they tackled everyone’s favourite enemy, Sanral, when e-tolls went live in Gauteng.
The ad suggested Sanral could have taken us out to dinner, wined and dined us before doing the obvious. Slighly crude, yes, but when has Nando’s ever been prim and proper?
It does make the point, and it taps into the anger people are feeling. But it becomes – and this is something few brands manage to do – the voice of protest for us. Thanks to Nando’s we can have a laugh about the situation. So another Orchid to Nando’s – another in a long line…
Following on from last week, when I noted that companies openly siding with the e-toll do so at their own peril, as they risk a consumer backlash, I was interested to see Werksmans Attorneys adopt a seemingly unlawyerly attitude in speaking on behalf of its client, Sanral, to the Justice Project of South Africa.
JPSA had asked legitimate questions about the system of enforcement proposed for non e-tag users – something which is not at all clear, either from Sanral’s own website or from government documents.
In response, Werksmans adopted the sarcastic, evasive and threatening manner which has charac-
Nterised Sanral’s interaction with anyone who questions it.
There was no need to frame the response so rudely. It smacked of the high-handed “to hell with you” attitude government and parastatal bodies have adopted of late. In insulting JPSA, Werksmans, you also insulted ordinary South Africans, some of whom might be potential clients and who might be tempted to vote with their wallets. Not good marketing, so you get an Onion for failing to look at the bigger picture of your own brand reputation.
One of the biggest cons (after hybrid vehicles) in the world of marketing is internet advertising. And because those using it are either ignorant or scared, no one questions the barrels of snake oil which are produced daily. I’m not denying that internet advertising is effective – if it is targeted and you use things like Google’s various schemes for inserting your ads into searches – but banners and other ads on places like news sites are hugely ineffective.
Take this example. A few months ago, on SAfm, Daily Maverick cofounder Styli Charalambous admitted that the CTR (Click Through Rates) on ads on the site was just 1 percent. Even though this is double the world average and Daily Maverick is doing interesting things with the presentation of its ads, only one in every 100 people who visit the site reads the ads.
That is true of most content sites: people are used to getting content for free and ignore the ads. To counter this, many sites have come up with annoying “pop- up” ads, which either close after a time or can be closed with a mouse click.
All these do is falsely present a picture of user engagement. If you wait for the ad to close, you are helping increase the time spent on the page (whether you engage with the ad or not). And, if you close the ad, it is recorded as a click, as if someone was reading the ad. Both these metrics are critical for website owners wanting to convince people that their visitors actually see the ads. This means they can charge more.
I am not enamoured by the counter-argument that people using such sites shouldn’t do so for free – that there should be some “cost of entrance”, even if this means delay and irritation for users. If you want to make money, people, put up a pay wall. Users do not equate to money.
But it is all slightly dishonest. Why would you have to carry out such manoeuvres if the medium was a good place to run advertising?
The latest site to do this is News 24, which includes pop-up ads on its most popular news stories. These either close after a certain number of seconds or can be clicked closed.
You are not fooling me. On the contrary, you’re irritating me, so you get an Onion.
British Airways says it has achieved a world-first with its new interactive, real-time billboards, installed at two locations in London. The billboards feature a small child walking across the frame, looking up at the sky – at exactly the same time a flight goes over. The digital software links with BA systems which track planes leaving Heathrow Airport (the billboards are on one of its flight paths) and deliver the exact flight number and destination, as the child looks up. The system apparently also recognises when cloud cover will prevent the plane from being seen.