the grass is greener on the internet

Things are better when you do them together
August 3, 2009, 10:13 am
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The Australian supermarket playground is notoriously small. Woolies and Coles are the big bullies, currently at a stalemate for who can build the biggest sandcastle.

So if you can’t win on your own…get a partner.

I don’t mean another shopping chain – the ACCC is already turning some of its attention to some of the tactics used to keep smaller players like Aldi out.

No, I’m referring to the recent ads which seem to be co-financed by Woolworths and Continental (Unilever).



The ads themselves are largely unremarkable; I couldn’t find them online. Essentially, there’s a product demo for Continental, followed by a message that you can find the products at Woolworths.

++ In a recession, particularly when you’ve just undergone high capital investment, partnering up might help stretch that ad budget further.

-+ Sharing ad time might confuse viewers, or lose the message completely. On the other hand, it’s more subtle and modest.

— As a retailer, promoting a household brand could encourage consumers to buy it…elsewhere.

Neither *seem* to be short on ad spend, with Continental’s ‘three-thirtyitis’ campaign** (DDB work I believe) and the re-done Woolworths ‘fresh food people’.

Perhaps Woolies feels that it needs to raise its publicity, since rival Coles backed winning horse ‘Masterchef’. This campaign certainly takes a similarly indirect approach, though whether it has helped flailing Coles remains to be seen.

How's that for co-branding...I didn't even have to edit the colours

How's that for co-branding...I didn't even have to edit the colours

++ Coles should benefit from the greater opportunities that arise from TV shows, such as recruiting judge George for product development.

— Two’s company, three’s a crowd. Just from viewing the show, you can tell that Coles isn’t the only organisation that put money behind Masterchef.

[I realise that I always seem to be commenting on Woolworths and what they’re doing, not Coles. Perhaps that tells you something…]

**I suspect that some of the ad budget has come from lowering production costs, if the Pasta Flakes Pasta & Sauce is anything to go by.

It’s all in the music

A quick observation that tonight 7’s current affairs stories were using lotto music in the background (um, but the jackpot was yesterday?) and 9’s current affairs cooking competition feature was using the same music as 10’s Masterchef.

Both complete coincidences, of course.

I find this interesting having just studied copyright, passing off and ‘misleading and deceptive conduct’… I don’t think either are quite close enough to attract legal action but it would be interesting to see if they could…

[In a related key, check out Hype Machine – it compiles music which is blogged then allows you to rate and see which is the most popular. Presents some nice alternatives to the mainstream so you can discover more songs riding the long tail.]


The Roundup 1#
June 23, 2009, 4:17 pm
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Sometimes there’s just too much silly stuff to write about.

The smoking grenade– wait, no, the ticking gun

Was very amused to read Mike Rann’s take on the Utegate scandal – way to demonstrate how to take down members of the opposing party *properly*. There are some occasions when ‘in a good way’ just doesn’t cut it.

I hear bets are now being taken by the conspiracy theorists – was it Costello? Could it have been Rudd?

But he must have been an excellent journo before politics (and with an argumentative tongue like that you can see why he made it in politics). There’s only sentence where the metaphor didn’t quite get there: ‘A smoking gun is much more damaging than a hand grenade that goes off while you’re still holding it.’

No, I think a grenade does a fair bit of damage if you’re holding it when it explodes…

Real time, real news?

If one does want to keep up with such scandals as they occur, one should keep a window open with Collecta (beta).

This search engine does hashtags, tweets, blog comments – pretty much anything the major search engines don’t catch. You can start and pause searches, which will keep trawling the web for the most up-to-date content containing your keywords.

Expect that this will be VERY useful for reputation management for big brands.

Expanding your domain…or shrinking it?

There’s mixed news on the domain registration front, with proposed changes to be discussed this week.

The good is that there will be character support for the non-english alphabet; hello China.

The bad, for companies at least, is the addition of registration for top-level domains. BRW suggests that the new urls will allow brands to let their country domain registrations lapse and allow smaller country-based businesses to take the url. Have they not seen how aggressively big business protects its brand names? There’s enough fuss made over trying to acquire .net versions of brand names and country domains to prevent confusion – this is just another address that they will scramble to protect.

Cook me up something new

Apparently Masterchef is making all the other stations jealous. It’s the fact that it’s a reality TV show which actually feels real, combined with an increase in home cooking and stirred with love and ads for an hour every night.

Nine and Seven are trying to prove that their milkshakes bring more of the boys to the yard… with more features on home chefs pitting themselves against ‘real’ chefs (some of the concepts resurrected from the cutting room floor). Yawn. Too many cooks. Give me something different!

A piece of history on a piece of history

Will write more on this later, but I just received, of all things, a direct mailer from the Australian Marketing Institute.

There are two things which irritate me about the AMI’s brand; that they sound like the organisation that runs the nasal therapy ads, and the fact that they seem to be absolutely resisting social media. (In their latest conference they’ve included one keynote speaker on new media strategies for a big brand… and they’re listed last.)

Ironically then, the letter has a historical theme. I will critique it in the next couple of days…