The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Personality Builds Profit …
September 15, 2010, 5:57 am
Filed under: Comment

So as many of you know, we have a cat called Rosie.

Without doubt, she is one of the most pampered pussycats on the planet which is why we make sure that as soon as we move, we always get a new ID tag with our updated information on it.

Well, last week we went to pick up Rosie’s new tag and amongst the packaging was this:

Yes it’s a bit over the top Aussie cliche in parts plus it feels more ‘dog like’ than cat, but after I read the note, not only did it make me feel more of an emotional connection towards Red Dingo, but it made me feel like I’d made a better choice for Rosie.

That’s right … I felt a connection to a company that makes bloody animal tags.


OK, so I am a bit strange like that, but whilst an accountant [and environmentalist] could/would argue that this note was an unnecessary addition to the overall purchase decision and product deliverable, I would say it’s things like this that lifts a brand from passive to active, especially when it’s in for a category that commands huge emotional investment from its audience.

Given adland – especially media and DM companies – love to claim they know more and more about the public and their habits, I find it amazing they still recommend brainwashing society with bland and faceless materials [albeit with a personalised name and address] when creating a piece of communication that has emotional relevance can be far more meaningful, memorable and effective.

But that’s what happens when you make all your decisions with a computer screen and data that tells you what happened rather than why.

45 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Sorry, but that is bland and faceless and doesn’t even have a personalised address.

Comment by John

You need more than tone of voice to appear authentic.

Comment by John

youre forgetting this is campbell were talking about. he feels happy when some zit ridden 12 year old maccas server wishes him a nice day but then so would i if i was as much of a social fucking outcast as him. thats what you get when youre a planner.

so the note isnt great and its look is as bland as fuck but lets put that to one side and talk about the one thing campbell said in this post that made sense. no, not that personality is fucking important, we all know that shit, no i was talking about dm companies being full of fucking shit.

you may begin.

Comment by andy@cynic

DM Companies … though people that say ‘they get results’ but what they mean is they get to find out how totally ineffective they’ve been.

Maybe they need to remember that whilst data is hugely important, it only tells you what happened, not why – and with the low redemption levels they achieve, you’d think they’d spend a bit of time trying to grasp that concept rather than flogging software that can supposedly help companies be more ineffective for less.

Comment by Rob

I’ve seen better examples but I agree with what you’re saying.

Maybe they can make you feel ao good about them with such a small gesture is because they make a product for something that is alive and that induces a huge emotional response from the purchaser. Or maybe Andy is right. 🙂

My mother told me if you can’t say something nice you should say nothing at all which is why I won’t comment further on DM agencies.

To John’s comment, I agree you need more than tone of voice to appear authentic but done well, it can kick start a more meaningful connection with an audience. What happens next will be the key but so few brands get the voice right in the first place, possibly because they view its role as not alienating rather than powerfully attracting.

Comment by Pete

My point is that it shouldn’t have to be about what happens next. If you don’t make it happen immediately, there might well not be a next.

Comment by John

They’re heading in the right direction, but if they were serious about it, they would have looked at it and realised that it was cliched, dull to look at and didn’t personalise for cats or dogs. But they didn’t, they decided it was good enough. And good enough isn’t.

Comment by John

It’s for a cheap cat tag. And the photo I took is shit, it’s not some grey thing.

Sure it could be better – sure they maybe thought it was OK too soon – but it’s a cheap tag and it’s already better than a lot of big companies I could mention who claim to care about their customers and just send faceless shit they want to talk about rather than what they want to hear.

Comment by Rob

stop picking on the afflicted campbell. dodds is a sexually frustrated nerd brain, he only deals in perfect theory because he never actually interacts with real people. dont blame him either, real people get on my fuckng tits.

Comment by andy@cynic

maybe im right? fucking maybe?

didnt realise you liked hospital food so fucking much pete.

youre very fucking spiky these days. is sarah feeding you steroids at night. youre wife is a good lady. too fucking good for you but then maybe shes like jill and views you as a charity case. on the brightside youre not as much of a charity case as campbell so thats something you can be happy about.

Comment by andy@cynic

Sarah says you’re right, but you knew she’d say that didn’t you Yoda.

Comment by Pete

An industry that is happy with a 99.5% failure rate says it all.

Comment by John

i feel sorry for nokia as well doddsy.

Comment by andy@cynic

Aren’t Nokia a W+K client?

Comment by Pete

what are you trying to say pete? evil fuck. yes they are but they also work with jwt so guess who is to blame. actually neither of the fuckers, its all those finnish fucks fault and theyve scored another own goal by replacing the ceo with someone from microsoft. micromanagement more fucking like.

Comment by andy@cynic

OK … OK … so it’s a note, a generic note … but I still like it and it’s not because I’m a fucking loser [though that might be true as well] but because despite all that, they gave me something that was not actually necessary and yet enhanced the purchase I’d made.

Maybe Pete is right that it has more to do with the fact it was an item for something living that [if truth be known] I love … but we can all take the piss, but in this World of bland corporate mission statements and ultra efficiency of delivery, creating an element of ‘ceremony of purchase’ was nice, especially given it was a cheap fucking tag for a cat.

It doesn’t have to be language – Apple do it very well with their packaging where even the uber-cheap iPod Nano gets a box that is somewhat special compared to other brands in that price pocket … however I do think there is something in the written word that starts people thinking about that more than just an experiential event which seems to be all the rage these days even though most of them even do that badly … preferring to offer a moment of fun rather than an experience you would kill to have again.

Anyway I digress, I stand by it being good – generalistic and unpersonalised as it is – though I do concede that is possibly more to do with everyone else being so shit than this being so good.

Comment by Rob

Hey Hey Hey…people! Your cynicism is making me blush. Rob’s perception is all that really matters here. Red Dingo didn’t HAVE to do anything. They did SOMETHING. Many do NOTHING. ANd I thought “Smell you Later” was rather…personal.

Comment by adchick

wonder how many of the fuckers run their own company. its easy to take the fucking piss when you sit in your ivory fucking tower. but it is pretty shit, id of made it brilliant.

Comment by andy@cynic

Besides everyone finding fault in this, I think your first paragraph of this comment really says it all.

Comment by Age

Surely I’m not the only one who goes into a blind rage any time I see Comic Sans being used on any commercial piece of work.

I mean the message is cute and conveys good things about what the brand is how they view their relationship with you/your cat, but it’s presented in Comic fucking Sans! The worst font of all time. I’d rather they printed it in Wingdings.

Medium vs message and all that.

Comment by Felix

dont knock comic sans, it helps me identify who need a fucking big kicking more easily.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes, comic sans is as bad as IMPACT [or so I’m told] but let’s get this a bit in proportion, it’s not been used as a font for some major branding campaign, it’s a little letter that is supposedly to an animal that can’t read. I’m with Andy, it’s easy to criticise a fuckload about it, but it’s better than many companies do including – I would bet – what you and your organisations deliver to your clients.

Comment by Rob

Jesus, we can’t even agree on this little thing for fuck’s sake.

Comment by The Kaiser

I know … and I do take on board people’s comments, but I think they’re all becoming like clients, judging the execution rather than the idea behind it and for me, the fact they are giving me something that was not actually necessary and yet enhanced the purchase I’d made, is a good thing – and way more than most do, especially adland.

Comment by Rob

No that’s not what’s happening. You’re quite happy for comments that criticise ads/products that you’ve attacked, but as soon as it’s something you like, then the rules change. Doesn’t that sound like a client?

What’s happening here is that people have accepted your premise and are pointing out how the execution can get closer to the ideal you espouse. Yes it’s “way more than most do” but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t do more and by pointing that out, more general lessons can be developed.

Comment by John

No John, that’s not what’s happening either.

I am very happy to have people criticise anything I say/think – as you all do – however my contention is that many of the comments seemed to not acknowledge the idea, just slam the execution … as your 2 comments at the beginning of this stream exemplifies.

If I’ve lost something in translation then I apologise, but if anyone is acting like a client, it’s the people who are ignoring the strat/idea and just focusing on the piccies and the font.

I absolutely acknowledge they are very important elements and the company could – and quite possibly should – have worked harder on it, but at it’s heart I think the overdelivery of an experience is a good one though as I stated in one comment, maybe my appreciation of this is more to do with it relating to an animal I love and the fact everyone else is so crap at doing this, it naturally stands out from the crowd.

Comment by Rob

Ok I probably should have prefaced my opening comments by saying that I entirely agree with your premise but think this is a bad example to have chosen.

But in this forum I take that as read and was looking at how to make the better better. I should have made that clear. Happy now?

Comment by John

Why do you think it’s always all about you? Clearly this was all about me. Deal with it.

Comment by Rosie the Cat


And there I was thinking you were clever just being able to read that thing everyone is shitting on. Talking of shitting, can you go and do one on the neighbours front mat as their kids were screaming way too loudly this morning and woke me from my slumber. Way to go Rosie … though if it’s not you who wrote this and some person pretending to be you, it’s time they took a long, hard look in the mirror or called the nuthouse immediately.

Comment by Rob

i overheard a conversation the other day where someone in the media arts didn’t know what lolcats was. and someone had to explain that shit. it was comedy i would have paid for.

ps. way to go rosie!

Comment by lauren

Who doesn’t know lolcats??

Comment by Felix The Cat

The last bad of a very bad bunch – a bit like having to get off with a Spice Girl and being thankful you got Ginger Spice

Comment by northern

Ginger Spice. Fuck me, that’s scary – though I saw a pic of her in a paper this week, she’s got better with age. And an exercise machine.

[I said that for Andy, don’t kill me ladies]

Comment by Rob

Good at Yoga apparently.
And Ginger Spice isn’t scary, Scary Spice is scary.

Comment by northern

Each day I learn a little more about you.

I’m still trying to work out if that’s a good thing.

Comment by Rob

Cheap, rough and unpersolised but it still positively impacted the brand. It could be better but if it works it works.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

That sounds like quite a good description of Andy.

Comment by Rob

Gotta give this one to Dodds..

“At Red Dingo, near enough simply isn’t good enough ”

Wonder how they would react to receiving an (heavily) edited version of the comments/suggestions?

Comment by niko

id guess they couldnt give a fuck because advice from a bunch of ad lackeys would be like getting weight loss tips from fucking oprah.

Comment by andy@cynic

or building tips from your workmen

Comment by northern

the only advice id take from those fuckers is how to make top $ for zero fucking effort. even a CEO of a bda does more to earn their cash than these fucks but does the wife care? does she fuck, shes got mills & fucking boon images washing around her head. having a rational discussion with a 5 year old would be more fucking likely.

Comment by andy@cynic

Hey at least it’s only canadian money you’re paying them Andy…:)

Comment by rafik

even canadian money has value. not fucking much though. good point rafik.

Comment by andy@cynic

For years, I have now been working in a direct marketing place and I keep hearing from clients “DM is tactical only not strategic.” In normal person’s words: you can’t use DM to build a brand.
But you pay extra money to make it directly into the consumer’s hands. More than any website or TVC and all you can imagine is ” !”?
Truth is, DM is clearly allocated money for which you know how much you make as an agency and how little you do for the client. And that is why DM sucks.
And why every little attempt to go beyond that (like this one) limited mindset will stand out.
That said, just the attempt to sound like a human being and not like an advertiser, is what makes it a good thing. Sure, the execution can be improved, but as with languages, native people appreciate even the worst attempts of foreign language learners. Because trying alone already shows you care.

Comment by Jonathan

“That said, just the attempt to sound like a human being and not like an advertiser, is what makes it a good thing. Sure, the execution can be improved, but as with languages, native people appreciate even the worst attempts of foreign language learners. Because trying alone already shows you care.”

i love that you said it like that!

Comment by lauren

Leave a Reply