Malleable Musings

January 6, 2010

Career women make bad mothers

Filed under: Social Media, Trad marketing methods — Tags: — Brendan @ 7:01 am

I saw the “Career women make bad mothers” outdoor ad on a bus shelter as I was driving around the Leicester Ring Road on my way home yesterday.

It made an impression.  I remember thinking, “What advertiser uses a message like that.  Are they looking for trouble. ”

As I was only able to read the headline I assumed it was for some trashy new TV show.  A few minutes later I’d forgotten all about it.  Then in the evening I saw a tweet by @pigironjoe and I was interested enough to read his posterous post http://post.ly/HIrO.

Unlike Tristram I’m not a careers person so I wasn’t particularly interested in the careers aspect of the headline.  Instead, I was interested in the campaign itself.

So I went off to the marketing comics to find out a bit more.  According to Media Week/Brand Republic, it’s part of a £1.25m campaign to promote the power of outdoor advertising and will use 11,500 billboards and poster sites nationwide.  To put this into perspective it’s the equivalent weight as a campaign that would be used for the launch of a new blockbuster film or of a campaign by a major telecoms company.

What interests me about this campaign is the supposed interaction between online and offline media and the use of such a provocative headline.  In terms of the provocative headline I think that “Max Harrington” sums my thoughts up well with his comment on the Media Week/Brand Republic article.

Max Harrington

Max Harrington – 05/01/2010
This approach is a bit old hat these days. Couldn’t they come up with something that’s clever or funny? When the outdoor industry did that campaign \(10 years ago) for a fake Aussie perfume that was brilliant. If the outdoor industry wants to seduce brands then use the style of creative ads that brands would run. The average marketing director will simply say “well of course you got a response, you insulted thousands of people, big deal, that ain’t selling”.

However what really has me scratching my head is the quote from Alan James, the chief executive of the Outdoor Advertising Agency, “The campaign hopes to demonstrate the power of outdoor advertising as a direct response medium with the ability to drive people online.”  (Now this may not be an exact quote, there’s a subtle difference between the word direct and the word immediate used in the Daily Dooh post linked above. )

But in any case, why:

  1. was the URL so small as to be unreadable on the poster?
  2. pick the domain britainthinks.com when there is already a whatbritainthinks.com domain which dates from March 2003 (it was for text-messaging about the Iraq War and I found the analysis of their campaign really interesting);
  3. build a site that’s so poor for SEO purposes?
  4. run neglible PPC? Bizarrely they are bidding on “Britain Thinks” – where’s the PPC for the phrases that they will use on their posters.  If I were still a PPC advertiser I’d seriously consider running a campaign on their phrases for some quick, cheap eyeballs.

You’d expect them to get all this right wouldn’t you.  After all this a serious £1.25m campaign – isn’t it?

Having seen the poster the only thing I had to go on was the phrase Career Women make Bad Mothers.  So I typed it directly in to Google and at the time of writing the number one result was a highly critical mumsnet post “Career women make bad mothers“.  Whilst on Bing it’s this great blog post on “Career women make bad mothers“.

The BritainThinks website doesn’t make the first page on either search engine.

Whilst there is definitely more to getting a message across than advertising on Google poor oohgle thinking is unforgivable in this day and age.  Separately I’m wondering what effect the snow is going to have on the campaign.

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