Thursday, March 26, 2009

What after the recession?

Consumer behaviour will change after the recession says David Evans, ex-adman and founder and CEO of performance-improvement firm Grass Roots, who was in Singapore recently.

Grass Roots specialises in employee customer and reseller focused reward and recognition programs, and it recently announced expansion plans for Asia Pacific despite rough economic weather. Established in 1980, the firm has a presence in more than 16 countries.

Before starting Grass Roots, Evans had had stints with Benton and Bowles now called DMB&B and a brief one with A&B, an agency under the same group.

I caught up with him a day after he spoke to a gathering at the Singapore Chamber of Commerce and he urged the industry to stay optimistic during these times. Evans said that there will be a paradigm shift in consumer behaviour, and companies must remain optimistic even during the recession.

Monday, March 23, 2009

AdFest Lowdown

I just got back from Thailand after a tiring but exciting four days at AdFest, which despite the impact of the recession was a great event this year.

Numbers and entries might have be down but attendees were in great spirits and some of the work on show was very inspiring. AdFest is still the number one Asia Pacific show for the advertising industry to get together, and it was great to meet and chat to some of not only Asia's top ad people but the world's. Names like Hegarty and Tutssel don't drop in to this part of the world every week.

The highlights for this year have to be the emergence of China as a creative powerhouse, Japan's strong showing (particularly in Cyber), some great radio work from Leo Burnett Melbourne, the NSW Government's strong production push and some great TV ads from Ogilvy in Thailand. Another thing to mention was the relatively meek showing at AdFest from Singapore, not only in terms of awards but in attendees from the city-state. It was a little disappointing.

I hope you enjoyed our live blogging from Pattaya. There is a lot of video to come from the festival so keep your eyes out for it in the coming days. We've also some posted some videos from AdFest on our sister blog - The Pitch HK - which is for Marketing Hong Kong. You can check it out here.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Pitch: How not to gain consumer trust

In times like these when gaining the trust of the consumer is so vitally important for brands, the last thing they want to do is get caught out for deceptive marketing…twice.

A Spanish tourism board has taken two shots to its integrity this year alone, both for publishing photographs of other countries to promote their tourist destinations.

The Costa Brava Tourism Board recently used a photo of a man and young boy standing hand-in-hand on a beach to promote a gastronomical fair on Spain’s north-east coast. The only problem was that the shot was of a beach halfway around the world – in Perth, Australia.

When the tourism board was caught out, they admitted to their mistake but maintained they were unaware the photo was actually of City Beach in Western Australia.

To make matters worse, it was the second slip-up from the tourism board after just last month they withdrew an ad campaign which featured a photo of the Bahamas to promote the Girona province as a holiday destination

The Getty Images shot was also digitally altered to dull the sand towards a greyer shade typical of the Costa Brava coastline.

The tourism board director claimed photos of sufficient quality could not be found and that it was never their intention to cheat consumers in any way. A spokesperson also defended the two fake photographs as isolated incidents.

But surely consumers have a right to feel aggrieved if they travel to Costa Brava only to find it’s nothing like what’s promised in the photographs?

What the photos have done is throw a veil of doubt over the brand’s integrity – a perfect example of how deceptive marketing can badly hurt a brand’s image. It will certainly be interesting to see what effect the bad news stories have on the tourism industry in Costa Brava.