Sparkling (un)joined up marketing

How can a night of insomnia lead to a hunt across London for a product that was advertised on the Tube. A random tale of false promises.

You are reading: Sparkling (un)joined up marketing

Performance Drink There is a lot of talk these days about ‘joined up marketing’.

Quite rightly, it is madness to think that any organisation wouldn’t make sure that the DM bods are talking to the madmen, who work closely with the PR lovies, who should be talking to the digital geeks, etc. etc.

The reality is that this still fails to take place and there are numerous examples where it is plainly obvious that different disciplines within marketing teams simply don’t speak to each other.

Yesterday, I (Joe) experienced an interesting journey which serves as a good example of advertising going slightly wrong. The journey started on a tube train…

Actually, the real origin of the story was a catastrophic night’s sleep on Sunday night. Due, I suspect, to an overload of caffeine during Sunday, I didn’t actually sleep at all and endured a restless white night. I was therefore feeling pretty run down and hardly fizzing with energy whilst on the tube, en route to a meeting.

As my head gently rolled back and I fought the urge to doze off, salvation came in the form of an advert for Vitabiotic’s Wellman drink. Whilst I love a lot of what Red Bull do (mainly their sponsorship of some excellent sporting events), I definitely do not love the drink and was excited by Wellman’s promise of a pick me up that does not rely on an overdose of caffeine.

I was sold. All I needed to do was find a Boots, Waitrose, ASDA or Holland & Barrett as they were all listed as retail outlets. Time was on my side, so I looked forward to getting off the tube clinging to the hope that a miracle cure for my fatigue had been found.

Tube advertising works!

Out of the tube and out comes Matt’s iphone and the ‘Around Me‘ app, which brings the welcome news that salvation (via Boots) was a mere 596 yards away.

They say that good things come in threes, but I was happy to settle with two as both Boots and Waitrose emerged into view after being guided in by around me. Surely one of these would have some in stock?

Unfortunately not. Despite being told on the tube ad that the product is available at both stores, neither had any signs of it. I was devastated and faced the spectre of a day of meetings in a coma-like state!

Further investigation suggests that the tube ad is at fault, despite being so successful at arousing my interest in the first place.

Looking at Vitabiotic’s product page, Waitrose, Holland & Barrett and ASDA are all mentioned (but no Boots) and the Boots Wellman product range does not appear to detail the drink that I was trying to find.

Why does the tube ad point you towards Boots? Somebody, somewhere must have got something wrong and I suspect that lack of communication is the most likely cause.

This reminds me of my days at a certain telecommunications company, where I was approached by the TV ad team and had the following converstion:

TV ad team: Is the website ready?
Me: Which website?
TV ad team:  ‘<the url – not shared to hide some blushes>, which is going to be on the new TV campaign launching tomorrow’
Me: No
TV ad team: Why not?
Me: That is the first time anyone in the digital team has heard mention of that url

A late night and manic work managed to avoid a potential disaster on that occasion and my failed quest for a cure for my fatigue is hardly the end of the world, but it reminded me that organisations are complex and what you would assume would happen (i.e. people talk to each other) doesn’t always happen.

Joined up marketing is most definitely a good thing, but it needs careful co-ordination and demands that teams speak. If you are advertising a product and using tube ads for that, it is worth double checking where you can actually get hold of it. It may even be worth checking your own website…

We would love to hear any examples of ‘joined up marketing failures’, so please do share any experiences below!


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