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

The Ever Increasing Divide Between Marketing Reality & Reality …
June 6, 2012, 6:18 am
Filed under: Comment

So a while back, I wrote a post about the Commonwealth Bank in Australia and how they were at their most polite when they were sacking Goodby’s.

Anyway, the first work from their new agency, M&C Saatchi, has just been launched and while it’s basically an updated version of TSB’s ‘The Bank That Likes To Say Yes’ campaign, the thing that really grabbed my attention was when the press release stated that after many decades, the bank has updated their yellow and black colour template to include blue because – according to self promoting CMO, Andy Lark:

“We discovered women don’t respond to black and yellow very well.”

This sort of comment makes Andy Lark look like a fool.

Don’t get me wrong, colour plays a subliminal – and in some cases, substantial role – in influencing choice, however it’s rarely the dominant determining factor in decision making, especially where choosing a bank in concerned.

I’d say the reality was ‘women’ probably didn’t respond to dealing with a bank that offered bad customer service, charged them for every single interaction they made and were constantly being made to pay more for their mortgage.

Andy’s justification for updating the ‘logo’ highlights how egotistical and deluded marketing can be.

It’s like when Tropicana, the orange juice, changed their logo and received a huge backlash from their customers.

When they changed it back, the marketing director claimed it proved how passionate their customers were about the original brand design, but Professor Byron Sharp from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science gave a much more realistic explanation:

“People couldn’t recognise the new packaging so didn’t see it on the supermarket shelves anymore”.

When approx 10% of all brand sales come from genuine brand loyalists – in other words, 90% come from casual or occasional purchasers – you start to realise the ‘truths’ the marketing and advertising community like to bandy about are not the same truths that exist in the real World.

A long time ago, people respected their bank.

A long time ago, people probably believed that a bank could ‘help you progress in life’ … however given the way financial institutions have been – and continue – to behave, it’s not exactly surprising why the public now view them as the enemy rather than the compatriot, which is why I think Commbank are going to have to do a damn sight more than change their logo and agency before people start to believe the words they’re spouting.

43 Comments so far
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I don’t know anything about Andy Lark but a quick search and my first impressions are he’s an egomaniac with delusions of grandeur. I’ve also just seen his launch ads. Terrible. Say nothing other banks don’t already say. People don’t respond to that sort of thing very well either Mr Lark.

Comment by Bazza

so youre saying he sounds like a “rockstar” planner. youre right, when i hear the bollocks either of them spout i want to smack them.

Comment by andy@cynic

Black and yellow worked quite well for Tango and the AA if I remember.

Comment by DH

the only black and yellow that tango did was lemon and that was pretty fucking shit. but it worked a fucking treat for the 4th emergency service including attracting women but that could be because it was at a time when advertising was fucking good.

Comment by andy@cynic

and morrisons
and the yellow pages

Comment by northern

I’m surprised by Lark’s comment about women because he comes across as someone who thinks they shouldn’t have the vote, forget money and bank accounts.

Comment by DH

You’re shitting me, they do?

Comment by Billy Whizz

dont worry billy, youll never get close enough to one to be bothered by it.

Comment by andy@cynic

This post made me angry. Not you Robert, the way this bank is acting. The black and yellow comment is just idiotic for the reasons you highlight but why is a bank saying they’re about “can” and yet they have offered no discernible difference in how they behave and operate to their customers?

Naturally the reason is because they “can’t” which shows the bank views marketing as being entirely separate from the rest of the organisation. If you ask me, this is why marketing directors like Lark make such ridiculous comments, because he knows no one in the banks senior management listens to him but his ego needs to feel important and influential.

I read an article where he said advertising has to prove its return on investment. When you then view the communication that has been made under his watch, you see he’s as pumped up with hot air as he is ego.

Horrible bank, ads and marketing “leader”.

Comment by Pete

who the fuck are you?

who is this bitter bastard with the acid comments?

whoever it is, i like you a fuckload more than the other pete, the nice, considerate bastard that is always supportive and fucking helpful.

Comment by andy@cynic

I never thought I’d ever say this but what Pete said.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I can’t comment on Andy Lark’s professional capabilities because I don know anything about him. The first impressions are not favourable but that doesn’t mean much. That said, Pete’s comment about a bank saying they are different and then doing absolutely nothing different is a great point. With the industry in such a fix, the opportunity is there to do something innovative and valuable. BoA did it with change and that feels more like a bank who can that anything I’ve seen from the current launch wave of advertisements from Commonwealth.
Good post Rob, nice to see you getting back on track after your scandalous attempt to undermine my employer yesterday.

Comment by George

fuck me this post has got the glitterati of planning wank out in force hasnt it. youre so fucking nice george. you have the right to kick the lark in the fucking windpipe but you dont. wimp. even pete has had a fucking swing. instead you prefer to rip the shit out of larks work. good, but no cigar though you save yourself at the end with the passive aggressive smack down on campbell so theres still a few drops of hope left in you.

Comment by andy@cynic

It appears I will have to raise my game to compete. Or lower it.

Comment by George

dear lark. design can do a lot of work. ads can do a lot of work. but even the best of the best cant turn shit to gold especially when one of the fucking barriers is the corporate terminology spouting, pretend jack the fucking lad, wannabe schoolyard bully twat fronting the fucking thing. women dont react well to that either and i should know, ive got 2 exes that got the shits if i so much asked them to pass me the remote so i could turn the volume up to drown their whining about how fucking crap the bank was.

Comment by andy@cynic

I don’t think it necessary to know too much more about Andy Lark’s professional capabilities than one can glean from this post to reach the conclusion that Andy Lark is a Grade A dick.

Comment by Ciaran McCabe

thats the fucking ciaran i know.

Comment by andy@cynic

Marketing directors seem to have forgotten that their primary responsibility is to the customer and not the industry press/ and marketing awards organisations. The only thing they should be justifying is the products and sevices they offer to those customers.

Comment by John

And if you have to point out how clever you’ve been …

Comment by John

It would be wrong of me to question the decisions of another professional, but feel fortunate to not own shares in Mr Lark’s employers organisation.

Comment by Lee Hill

And it does feel awfully similar to the TSB campaign of the 80’s. Of course back then it worked because banks used marketing to drive their business not just shout about it.

Comment by Lee Hill

when some google boys, an apple/facebook rich fuck, a senior virgin, an oap with a rich fucking history and an occasionally smart pedantic fuck all say youre a cock, then you know that lark bastard is fucking doomed.

Comment by andy@cynic

And it occurs to me that people aren’t put off from going to pawn shops or loan sharks because they lack a high quality logo.

Comment by John

Or Google. And I’m not taking the piss out of George, I used to say it when I was there. Which might also be the reason why I’m no longer there.

Comment by Rob

There’s not really much to add as it’s all been pretty much said in the comments. I do think Pete’s point about ‘saying’ rather than ‘doing’ is the crux of the matter, though John’s point about ‘talking to the industry, not the audience’ sums up what is wrong with so much in marketing today.

Nice to see a comments thread that has stayed pretty much on track. It must be a record – though saying that has no doubt tempted fate.

Comment by Rob

Correct. The black/yellow quote is indicative of an obsession with surface details that prevails in this country (Oz) when assesing advertising. This pre-occupation with ‘image’ over ‘innovation’ or even ‘substance’ if you prefer, is something that continues to drive me crazy. If anyone’s interested this was my take on can/can’tthe other week.

Comment by Eaon Pritchard (@eaonp)

The one thing I’d like Sharp to answer is, how.. yes he made great points in his book and academic papers and shit, but I don’t see him starting his own agency as much as I don’t see ad agencies going 50-50 without charging hourly rates for one of their ‘bullet proof’ strats and creative executions.

Not saying he is as bad as agencies, not saying he should, because that is not his role, but after having looked up a few of his vids, he seems as full of himself as any lark or lovemark or piers…without putting his money where his mouth is

Yes you are petty, evil and sometimes to sappy for our collective good, but at least you and the former crew took a percentage for action instead of an hourly rate for advice, which not many fuckers in adland or beyond can say.

all shit fuckers who say they know better…show better..

Comment by niko

In essence you’re paraphrasing that “If you can’t do, teach” maxim or – as David Lee Roth put it – “Music critics are people who couldn’t get laid in a band”.

I don’t know if any of that is true – though I get the point – but that could be because I want to be a teacher and so I’m worried what the hell that will mean in relation to how good or bad I am in my career.

That aside – and something I have said many times – starting your own company is single handedly the best way to both understand clients as well as convince them to take the harder, but more valuable path.

Comment by Rob

As long as we have the facebook logo on the end card of the spot, everything will be fine.

Comment by kevin

Facebook likes. The guarantee of success.

Comment by Rob

Adding Blue just increases the production costs. At least the ladies love it.

Comment by Marcus

I don’t Byron Sharp, I like him quite a lot actually. Because he might be a little full of himself and not actually DO, but compare him with the fucking self styled gurus
Ries and Trout
Seth Fucking Godin
All wrong, all making cases with flimsy evidence and even worse analysis
At least he’s applied some proper science, which was sorely needed.
At least there are some decent guidelines to do the job properly rather the snake oil smoke and mirrors bullshit most agencies peddle.
At least it skewers the shit rules most marketing departments live by.
At least it pisses all over Millward Browns brand health pyramid

And look at the so called doers.
Dr Manboobs, the Lovemarks guru, Kevin Roberts
The Media Arts brigade
Social media gurus who peddle loyalty and brand love

Three rules to live by:

Drive penetration and stop deluding yourself with loyalty or the idea that people can arsed to to spend any time with you

Earn fame, get lots of people talking about the brand, not just the advertising, but be coherent and stop changing everything every three months (Mother and ever brand manager in the world)

Remove reasons to buy – or find the biggest issue getting in the way of sales and don’t assume the solution is communication, sometimes it’s how people feel about you, lots of the time it isn’t

It’s that simple, yet that hard.

Comment by northern

Great points Northern – though now you have explained the 3 key goals and roles for an agency, how on earth are they going to justify their powerpoint, pen-pushing strategy department now???

Comment by Rob

As if anybody would take any notice of me

Comment by Northern

the fucking vice squad have.

Comment by andy@cynic

lame, you must be tired. Bonnie not sleeping?

Comment by northern

have you seen the fucking usual standard of comment on here you cheeky fuck. as for boniness sleeping habits, i dont know, thats her mothers job to manage.

but lets keep that between you and me. or fucking else.

Comment by andy@cynic

Oh, hello there Boucher.

Comment by Marcus

i was just thinking of you. ive just bought a fucking shed.

Comment by andy@cynic

I find it remarkable that people who interact with so many brands in their own lives seem to disregard how they operate when it comes to the brands they work for!

Comment by Rob Mortimer (Not a fake Andy)

Forget adding blue to the logo, if they’re the commonwealth bank, why don’t they don’t have the union jack in it?

Comment by DH

Speaking of ‘the bank that likes to say yes’, Radisson have redesigned their entire chain and called them Radisson Blu – “hotels designed to say yes”.

Deja vu.

Comment by Andrea

are they saying hot, lonely, female sales reps nursing a whiskey in the hotel bar are a banker for a shag? best fucking hotel concept ive ever fucking heard but why the fuck cant they spell blue properly. blu makes them sound pretentious wannabe french twats who will only attract middle management paper merchants who want to momentarily ignore the fact their life is complete and utter shit.

Comment by andy@cynic

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