Marketing with the XXXX-off factor

Okay, there’s no denying that over-produced talent show The X factor is ingrained in modern popular culture.

There’s also no denying that the UK’s MPs have systematically raped, pillaged and disrespected the country, its bank balance and its populace.

So you’d think that both parties would have a little humility; a little more on their agenda than childish backbiting and cheap shots with no regard whatsoever for the fact that we might want some serious work out of these guys for at least the next century.

Their recent marketing campaigns would wholeheartedly suggest not.

First Labour kicked off featuring David Cameron and George Osbourne, sporting Jedward’s infamous ice-cream cuts.

The half-arsed copy line, ‘You won’t be laughing if they win’ only added injury to the insult.

And I mean insult. I didn’t want to use this blog to rant – it’s the number one schoolboy error of blogging – but I’m pretty XXXXing dismayed.

Dismayed that intelligent people are getting fed this kind of puerile, benefit-bereft drivel; dismayed the party has not had a thought for how they can address the most pressing political concern of the moment and dismayed that anybody in advertising or marketing can even think this worthy of public viewing.

It gets no better I’m afraid. Since the Irish twins have been booted off the X Factor, the Conservatives have wasted no time in launching their own assault. Sorry insult. At least this version, featuring the hapless Brown and Mr. Darling is a slightly, ever so slightly better Photoshop job but both ads belong on the b3ta challenge – a pretty funny site where anyone who knows how to paste an image into a word doc and come up with a line can broadcast their message.

No points whatsoever to the reds or the blues for:

  • failing to gauge the strength of feeling of the public who can still be arsed to vote
  • treating us like the little kids they would have us all be
  • spending oodles on marketing that doesn’t communicate one iota of a single benefit
  • not having one ounce of humility and spending the cash on trying to go at least a little way in redressing the balance of the bled-dry balance books
  • not even giving one brain cell over to how this might project brand Labour or brand Conservative
  • achieving the mutually assured destruction of simultaneously looking like the bunch of clowns they all are.

Full points to both agencies concerned however, for:

extracting even more taxpayer’s dosh on something that, quite frankly wouldn’t get in the portfolio of a six year old.

The awful truth (Sultan of Ikea part 6)

Part 5 here.

Okay, got my card number and phoned Ikea again.

‘Right thanks Mr. Caleb. We’ll look for your receipt and when we find it, we’ll send round an inspector to look at your mattress.’

What? After all this, you still don’t believe me? And you’ve got a squad of SS mattress inspectors?

Do I have to get the house cleaned? Polish my shoes? My God, I’ve got a slightly prominent nose and a Jewish sounding surname - will I escape from the inspection with my life?

Brand tOuch score out of ten: minus 10. Hopes: that the execution will be short and painless.

To be continued…

The visit to the store (Sultan of Ikea part 5)

Part 4 here.

‘What, they told you to bring a photo?’


‘They said that would be okay? And this statement isn’t enough. I’m afraid we need the card number that went with the purchase.’

Is it Ikea policy to employ liars at the battery farm? At the moment, I’m guessing so.

Okay, so I need to contact Halifax again and see if they can find the card number from 5 years ago for me. At this point I’m thinking, this Ikea lady is staring me in the face and potentially saying I’m trying to scam a mattress from them. Or at the very least that I may not have purchased the said mattress. I obviously look like a bloke who’d happily accept a second hand mattress from someone. Thanks a bunch.

Brand tOuch score out of ten: 4. Hopes: Fading.

Right. Stiff upper, press on. Phoned Halifax who said, ‘Ooooh no…oooo…. We can’t give you that kind of information over the phone. You’ll have to go into a branch and request it.

Reluctantly left the Ikea store empty handed (ie; no new mattress) and drove the 15 miles back to my Halifax branch.

‘What, they told you that you needed to go into your branch…?’

Is it Halifax policy to employ liars at the Halifax farm?

‘Customer services could have got you they information, they just try to send more people in branch…’

Her exact words. Apparently it is Halifax policy to employ liars at the Halifax farm.

Impromptu Halifax Brand tOuch score out of ten: 0, nada, zilch. Hopes: I’ll eventually lose the will to live.

To be continued…

Good brand tOuch – Kwik Fit

It’s 8:05 pm and I’ve just come off the phone to a lady from the Kwik Fit customer call centre. My, those Indians are far better at the Glasgee accent than the Glaswegians! She rang me to enquire whether I was satisfied with the service I’d received at their Shipley garage.

A little background: For a couple of weeks I’ve been hooking up my Ford Focus to the missus’s Galaxy just to get it started (amazing how much power there is in a bar of chocolate.) Eventually after a meeting in Bradford I had to suffer the indignity of pushing my old banger out of the company’s car park, half-in, half-out of the driver’s door, then hopping in, John Wayne stylee at the optimum time - all in front of a near 2,000 strong workforce. Now even though I say it myself, in a bucket of rust that takes balls of steel.

Long story short, upon sighting the welcome blue and yellow sign of Kwik Fit in my peripheral vision I hand-braked in to the forecourt without an indication to my name – after all, it’s absolute gospel that using your indicator when your battery isn’t charging increases your chances of stalling… isn’t it?

Anyway, my good brand tOuch tale is not about the service I received from the fitters, but from the call I’ve just received from Gloria Glasgee. It went something like this:

GG. Just wanted to say thank you for using our garage in Shipley.

Me. Er, that’s okay, thanks for having me.

GG. Just enquiring as to whether you were happy with the service.

Me. Er yes, yes I was actually, very good, thank you.

GG. Oh that’s great. Do you think there’s anything else we could have done to improve the service?

Me. Ummm, no… no I really don’t think so. (If I was being totally brutal, a couple of the lads could have smiled a bit more, but hey, I’d rather have fast, efficient service over false mateyness any day.)

So there you have it. A nice courteous call, relevant and specific to my experience and blow me, the phone even rang after I’d safely packed the rugrats off to Slumberland. Okay, I’ve got a fair idea how Gloria knew I’d visited the Shipley garage for a new battery, but how the hell did she know I was a dad of three?

Blimey, they’re good.

Not so good brand tOuch – Kwik Fit

This has got to be a record. Good brand tOuch followed by not so good in the space of one minute 35 seconds; with the same brand; in the same phone call.

Gloria from Glasgow then went on to say, ‘Just while you’re on Sir…’ Hang on, I wasn’t on, you were! ‘Just wondered if you knew that Kwik Fit do car insurance and we’re offering customers a 10% discount…’

Oh dear. My momentary Kwik Fit fizz went as flat as my old car battery in an instant. Deflated, I explained I wasn’t interested and got on with pondering how na├»ve I’d been thinking that a commercial organisation might possibly have seen some longer-term value in simply enquiring after their customers’ interests.

I must admit though, Kwik Fit did warm me up nicely with their opening gambit before bringing me down by trying to upsell me in the second part.

Those sneaky Kwif Fit f***ers! *

* That’s fitters to you.

The statements are back (Sultan of Ikea part 4)

Part 3 here. Statements arrived from Halifax. Expected them to be gold plated but strangely, no such luck. Found an Ikea entry and duly rang the battery farm again.

‘Okay, Mr Caleb, that should be fine. Can you bring the mattress in?’

‘Well, I could…’ At least they’d see how so unworthy it is of a 25 year guarantee.

‘Er it’s okay… can you take some photos of it?’


‘Right, that should be fine. Just bring a photo in with your statement and that will be fine.’

‘Brilliant, thanks for your time.’ That, I think counts as a result.

Brand tOuch score out of ten: 8.5. Hopes: Rising.

To be continued…