In the crowded, busy and chaotic world of media messages, some brands are so desperate that they are prepared to stoop to any level in order to get attention. There’s nothing more glaringly obvious or tragic, in my mind, than a brand that is screaming out “me, me, me.” One of the classic ways that brands do this is by announcing and celebrating their own birthday. Essentially, the message amounts to:
Happy Anniversary to Me!
But, I can only say, “so what?”
Where’s the WIIFM?
The major question that should be asked by the marketing team is: what's in it for me... the reader? Click To Tweet The answer in the case of such empty messages: not much.
If cutting through the noise is an obsession for many marketing teams, there is a cumulative effect of meaningless or empty messages that tampers with one’s loveability and trust level. It’s quite imperceptible, like the effects of dripping water. However, without doubt one is toying with one’s long-term business potential by pushing out short-term-minded meaningless messages.
Having observed many companies and brands fall prey to the “anniversary” message over the years, this month, Vacheron Constantin, the luxury watch brand owned by Richemont, wins the award of the most misplaced, unengaging and dull effort.
In the May 2016 issue of Raconteur, a monthly review of current affairs, Vacheron Constantin had a double-page spread “celebrating 260 years of uninterrupted watchmaking.” The text goes on to say:
On September 17th, the 260th day of the year…”
A couple of issues here. First, we are no longer in 2015! In May 2016, we are well passed the anniversary date. Secondly, the only seeming benefit VC is promoting is that they have done “uninterrupted” watchmaking for 260 years. As if that adds anything to the 260 years of existence? I’d note that the dense dark brown ink on the rather lightweight uncoated paper didn’t give the ad any pop either. In the bottom right, the ad has a QR code to “experience our 260th anniversary.” Actually, the QR code just sends you to a mini site. And the landing page is as good an indication as any that Vacheron Constantin is not very focused on the user experience nor the modern digital era. The text is horribly small and terribly tight, with a poor contrast to boot. Welcome to the mobile era, I’d say.
Luxury loves age
It seems that luxury brands like to tout their age. XYZ Since 1848, etc. It’s as if, by being many years old, the products must be better. Of course, they would like to believe that the years of accumulated experience are contributing to a better product today.
We’ve all seen brands broadcast that they have reached a certain age…. Like this “luxury” watch brand, Enicar of Switzerland, that bought this ad space at an airport to say it was 100 years old.
What such an ad says to me is that the business is glad to be still alive! Click To Tweet Or are we supposed to say that the actress looks great for being 100 years old?
Happy Anniversary Emails
If there is one place where my tolerance level seems to be sliding ever lower, it’s how and why brands are sending me emails. Between the unwanted SMS, the unsolicited telesales pitch and spammy emails, I feel that the bullshit detector seems to be getting more sophisticated! In any event, one of the standout nonsensical email campaigns I received over the last couple of years came from the “luxury” haircare brand, Kerastase, which provided me with a 19.64% discount in honor of the year of its birth (same as mine as it happens, but they would not have noticed that I’m afraid). A 19.64% discount?
Really? Adorably cute? Or stupendously dumb? Where’s the 50% discount when you need it!
Keep it in the family
Wishing oneself happy birthday or happy anniversary is fine, among friends and family. For a startup, making it through three years of existence is commendable and worthy of celebration. A company that wishes to celebrate 25, 50 or 100 years of existence is equally laudable from a shareholder and employee perspective. Both shareholder and employee have something to gain from being part of long-term success. But, such anniversary celebrations only have real merit inside the company Click To Tweet The customer — ever more so today I would say — could be left scratching their head as to their WIIFM. Basically, it wreaks of brand marketers who are desperate for any reason to justify a discount or jam my email inbox with one more “impression”?
Your thoughts and reactions are most welcome!