Less toil and trou­ble?

IN­TRIGU­ING: WASH­ING-UP LIQ­UID GOES TOE-TO-TOE WITH ONE OF THE BIG GUNS

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Bren­dan Seery

Thumbs down to Old Mu­tual, who has done lit­tle for its im­age in re­cent times.

Here’s a thing which is prob­a­bly not go­ing to be that pop­u­lar: SABC News is still do­ing a good job. Ev­ery day, as some­one whose job is news, I reg­u­larly dip into SABC2’s Morn­ing Live pro­gramme to get an ac­cu­rate up­date of what is hap­pen­ing right around the coun­try.

And it also gives me the op­por­tu­nity to take in one of the hard­est-work­ing ad seg­ments out there: early morn­ing TV, which aims to catch mom, dad and the kids be­fore they head out the door to school and work.

So, I get to see an in­ter­est­ing com­bi­na­tion of brand and re­tail ad­ver­tis­ing, as well as for prod­ucts I nor­mally don’t think about.

There is sel­dom just brand ad­ver­tis­ing in these time slots, be­cause the ads also have to push peo­ple to buy, so the bias is of­ten heav­ily on re­tail.

An ad which man­ages to cap­ture both its brand essence and to plant the seed of pos­si­ble pur­chase in the minds of view­ers, is the one for MAQ wash­ing-up liq­uid. MAQ is a chal­lenger brand, tak­ing on some of the big names which have be­come house­hold words over the decades.

MAQ’s wash­ing-up liq­uid has de­cided to go toe-to-toe with the mar­ket leader, Sun­light, which has as its USP (unique sell­ing point or propo­si­tion) that it can wash more dirty crock­ery, cut­lery and pots and pans than any­one else with the same vol­ume of its de­ter­gent.

Not so, MAQ is ar­gu­ing, although I have seen no firm facts to back up its chal­lenge.

What it does set out to show – with out­ra­geous ex­ag­ger­a­tion (but who’s never done that in ad­ver­tis­ing?) is that its wash­ing-up liq­uid churns out huge amounts of foam.

So we see or­di­nary be­ings stopped in their tracks – in their cars, on their morn­ing jogs, in the city streets – by what looks like an in­va­sion of alien foam. It pours out of win­dows, bursts into blobs which shower down on peo­ple, it blocks roads.

Even­tu­ally, it at­tracts the at­ten­tion of a TV crew, who re­port that MAQ users are gob­s­macked about how far the wash­ing up liq­uid goes.

It’s a nice ri­poste to the Sun­light claim – years old now – that “just this one tea­spoon” of Sun­light will clean a whole bunch of dirty dishes, pots and pans.

Fun­nily enough, the ad also man­aged to pen­e­trate my con­sumer con­scious­ness.

Af­ter all, on a few days ev­ery week, I do the wash­ing up.

I am not a SNAG (sen­si­tive new-age guy), mind you, it’s just that even I feel bad oc­ca­sion­ally about my lazi­ness and not help­ing out more around the house.

And, on oc­ca­sions, I have found, with an es­pe­cially greasy set of pots and pans in the mix, my Sun­light hasn’t lasted long enough and I’ve had to re­fill the basin. (Oh, the woes of do­mes­tic life…)

So, I might just grab a bot­tle of MAQ some time and see how it goes.

And that’s ad­ver­tis­ing which works. Ad­ver­tis­ing which works gets an Orchid from me. And trust me, on Morn­ing Live…

It’s a won­der Old Mu­tual has any feet left in which to shoot it­self.

Not only are they em­broiled in a vi­cious le­gal brawl with one­time chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Moyo, as share­hold­ers look on and weep, what lit­tle rep­u­ta­tion the group has left for plain deal­ing has just been se­verely dam­aged.

The story about the an­gry fam­ily who dumped the body of their dead rel­a­tive at an Old Mu­tual of­fice in frus­tra­tion at not re­ceiv­ing his in­sur­ance pay­out, flashed around the coun­try.

There was lit­tle sym­pa­thy for Old Mu­tual, which flip-flopped be­tween apol­o­gis­ing and claim­ing the money had been paid out a few days be­fore the body was dumped (clearly no one told the fam­ily, though…)

Although the com­pany did jump around when the mag­ni­tude of the brand fail be­came ev­i­dent, that still does not de­tract from the fact that sloppy cus­tomer ser­vice cost it money.

So Old Mu­tual gets an Onion from me for for­get­ting one of the golden rules of mar­ket­ing: the cheap­est form is ex­cel­lent cus­tomer ser­vice, be­cause happy clients are loyal clients and re­tain­ing sat­is­fied cus­tomers costs frac­tions of go­ing out to “con­quer” new ones.

Oh, the woes of do­mes­tic life…

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