Friday, July 27, 2007

After resigning account, agency auctions off the brand merchandise

I received an email this afternoon that made me raise my eyebrows and tickled me enough to want to blog about it immediately.

The subject read: "BBH Asia-Pacific sent you this eBay item: Unwanted Tiger Beers X 24".
It was sent by: "eBay member: []"

BBH resigned the Tiger Beer account a while back. Now it is selling off its ex-client's leftover beer? (can beer ever be 'leftover'? us at Marketing magazine usually drink it lovingly)

So I quickly clicked through to the eBay site address provided and found a real auction for a carton of Tiger Beer going for a whopping $120 and here is what the description said:


Unwanted crate of Tiger Beer! Pick-up only at our new BBH Asia-Pacific office: 5 Magazine Road, #03-03 Central Mall, Singapore 059571. Thanks for shopping!!!!!!

Clicking through to the other items the "seller" has, brought me to this:

I don't know how APB will feel about this but I did get a good laugh after realising it was a marketing stunt to tell everyone the agency was moving house.

I particularly like the "coasters aka business cards" (why didn't I do the same for my old cards!) and of course, the "Coffee cup used by Sir John Hegarty (Unwashed!!!!!!!)". I can't say the same for Steve's body comb though... I didn't know there were combs for this purpose.


Will monitor to see who actually bids for this bunch of junk. Nice one BBH! I wonder which brand of beer guests will be served at your office warming party? *chuckle*

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Sicko corporate blogging debate

Corporate blogging – those two words seem worlds apart in the context of Singapore. Even as I type this sentence out, 70% of voters on Marketing’s weekly snap poll felt that corporate blogging wouldn’t even take off in Asia yet alone succeed in Singapore.

Many heads of organisations here, and correct me if I am wrong, feel the blogosphere (sorry guys I know everyone hates that word) isn’t a safe place for their brands to be – afraid of criticisms and half truths I assume.

The thing is – the argument for and against companies engaging in corporate blogging are both valid and once the brand decides to start a blog, then the rules of engagement further murky the water on what’s acceptable or not. Yes, even the blogosphere has self govern rules amongst bloggers on what’s acceptable corporate blogging decorum.

So let’s have a look at a recent corporate blogging mishap from a company which has been known to use blogs to reach the public – Google.

The incident came about after Google employee, Lauren Turner went on the offensive over the latest Michael Moore movie ‘Sicko’ in which he takes a swing at the highly profitable American health industry. Turner’s comments on the then impending release of movie went like this:

“While legislators, litigators, and patient groups are growing excited, others among us are growing anxious. And why wouldn’t they? Moore attacks health insurers, health providers, and pharmaceutical companies by connecting them to isolated and emotional stories of the system at its worst. Moore’s film portrays the industry as money and marketing driven, and fails to show healthcare’s interest in patient well-being and care,”

“Or, as is often common, the media may use an isolated, heartbreaking, or sensationalist story to paint a picture of healthcare as a whole. With all the coverage, it’s a shame no one focuses on the industry’s numerous prescription programs, charity services, and philanthropy efforts,” she wrote.

What’s the big deal you may ask? Well she posted the article in an official Google blog, thus blurring the line between ‘own opinions’ and ‘company opinions’. Turner later said her post contained her views and her views only but then included in her post was a plug for Google services.

“Many of our clients face these issues; companies come to us hoping we can help them better manage their reputations. Your brand or corporate site may already have these informational assets, but can users easily find them?”

“We can place text ads, video ads, and rich media ads in paid search results or in relevant websites within our ever-expanding content network. Whatever the problem, Google can act as a platform for educating the public and promoting your message,”

If you’re interested in learning more about issue management campaigns or about how we can help your company better connect its assets online, email us. We’d love to hear from you,” she wrote.

It wasn’t clear whose opinions she was expressing and the bloggers went to work, blasting the company for catering to the insurance industry and for its increasingly closer ties with corporate advertising.

Undeserved heat or are you with the bloggers on this one? You tell me.