The Foreign Nature of Foreign Marketing
Case in point… The first advertisement that stood out to me in Italy was a HUGE ad for shopping mall outlet stores (keeping in mind that the entire ad was in English – which is a completely different topic altogether) it was on a drop cloth, suspended in the beautiful San Marco Square in Venice. It was brought to my attention due to my mother's complaints that the gigantic poster was taking away from the beauty of the square. She asked why anyone, in their right mind, would drape an enormous ad over the front of such a beautiful and historic building… I then noticed, as we looked closer, it appeared they were doing some restoration work on the building, so the facade was already covered. But this brings be to my point… the advertisers took this opportunity to use the already covered space and pay, what I can only assume would have been an exorbitant amount of money, to place their “English targeted” ad in the most touristy spot in Venice. Good show indeed – but interesting tactics – no room for your regular billboards there. With all that being said, I actually found myself almost ignoring the ad due to its size alone. And due to the fact that the square is so beautiful, my eyes were hardly drawn to the gaudy draping down at the end.
One effort that did catch my eye, however, was a picture hanging in one of the restaurants. It was a splendid example of a company using the surroundings to impart their message, in an entertaining and intriguing way – instead of an 'in your face' large draping that covers up half a building side. The black and white photograph showed San Marco Square (known for its many pigeons) with the large words Coca Cola, somehow shaped on the ground in the middle of the square. It was only when I looked closer, that the words were in fact spelled out by, none other than, the pigeons themselves! Coca Cola, cleverly, must have spread out bird feed so precisely, to entice these birds to do their flash mob style bidding. Now, that is resourceful advertising. No wonder Coke is the only American made soft drink I saw when in Italy…
Stay tuned for more observations from abroad…
Advertising and Wall Street
I do not presume to know much about the stock market; however, due to the recent allegations hinting that certain investment bank underwriters supporting the IPO told clients earlier this month that they were reducing their earnings forecasts for Facebook, the social networking site has had quite the tumultuous ride during its opening week on Wall Street. And knowing what we know about the events leading up to this point, it's not very difficult to see the connection.
It is said these investment banks made the decision to sway their investors after supposed conversations with Zuckerberg. According to these reports, Zuckerberg hinted that he was worried his site's value was decreasing because so many advertisers had been pulling out recently, and that Facebook's mobile version was looking to have an even meeker forecast.
So what does this say about the power/affect of advertisers and their monies spent? It looks to me that; firstly, you need to create a sound platform that will ensure a ROI on ad dollars spent. As we have said before, ROI for ad dollars is not something you should expect immediately (consider it more like any other cost to run a business) BUT if over time, as General Motors noticed, you continue to see no return on dollars spent, you could blame it on the outlet, but it could also be as simple as – the campaign just wasn't good enough.. But I digress.
So where does this leave us? I've established two takeaways from this Facebook debacle. One: Where companies choose to spend their ad dollar has a direct correlation with how successful said company/outlet can be. Two: Some advertising platforms are indeed more successful than others, and just because something is “popular” doesn't mean it's always good for advertising. However; the bottom line is, and a point you will notice me making time and time again , you must think of the consumer before anything else, and no matter what outlet you use to get your message across – if you're not talking to them… they're not going to listen!