Dear Marketers: Really? But Thank You!

Every now and again even I, with all my rational wisdom (I am, after all Dutch) have to throw my hands in the air and say to a particular marketer (in the words of Jay Leno to Hugh Grant after he’d been arrested for indecent conduct), “What the hell where you thinking?” (link to that moment in history here:

Every now and again a marketer and its agencies develop an idea that probably sounded like a major breakthrough when concocted at a late hour. Someone obviously should have said “Hang on a minute” — but nobody did, and the “big idea” spun into a budget-eating monster that subsequently became too big to fail.

There really is no reason for this to happen anymore. We have pretty good historic data that can be used as a proxy for what a future activity might be able to deliver. We have mountains of whitepapers on pretty much any topic you can possibly think of. We are, after all, living in the content-sharing economy -- and nobody is better at this than us, the inventors and immediate benefactors of the content-sharing economy.



And just to make sure you don’t descend into a black hole of spiraling cost, I have tried to keep you on the straight and narrow with my writings. I have shared facts and data about things that are just plain and simply wasteful. I have tried to save you from the shameful antics deployed by some of your business partners.

I have tried to show you better ways of doing things. I have shared tactics, checklists and frameworks. But some of you continue to be wooed by ludicrous ideas, no doubt prettied up by empty marketingspeak, set to deliver really bad ROIs.

You’re probably thinking I am going to talk about the Lexus Hoverboard. I almost was, but then the brand was outdone by another Japanese marketer. And so I present to you Pocari Sweat: Lunar Dream, the first sports drink set to land on the moon.

Having lived in Japan, and thus familiar with the somewhat strangely named brand, I can tell you that Pocari is a well-established rehydration beverage, in direct competition with brands like Gatorade and Powerade, marketed in a number of countries across Asia. Since the brand is manufactured by a pharmaceuticals company called Otsuka, doctors will actually recommend that you drink Pocari when you’re feeling under the weather.

Now just think for a moment of the amount of time and money that to date have gone into the Lunar Dream capsule, designed to look like a can of Pocari Sweat (the video in the link details the efforts by Japanese companies to create the capsule if you need reminding). And then think about what still needs to happen going forward in terms of integrated multichannel activation. Think of the army of agencies who will all giddily write up countless hours.

Try and add it all up. Now try to find a reasonable ROI. Did you succeed? Yeah, me neither.

Having said that, please do keep on gifting us with runaway efforts like this one. For us commentators at MediaPost, it’s like the Republican Party’s current gift to late-night comedians.

What about Red Bull’s marketing stunt with skydiver Felix Baumgartner, I hear you wondering? In that case we all watched, as there was a distinct possibility that it would end with a loud, human “splat!” If the lunar landing with Pocari Sweat goes wrong, we won’t hear a thing — literally.

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