Apparently, many of you thought I was joking when I wrote in this
column last month that Websites aren’t for marketing. ’What on earth is
a magazine like Campaign doing writing about the medium if it doesn’t
consider it to be useful to marketers?’ you chorused.
Ah, but I didn’t say that. The Web is a useful marketing medium. My
contention is that a Website is not a marketing tool per se. If the aim
of a Website is purely to market the product or brand in question, then
it is doomed.
Sorry, Charlie (Campaign Letters, 18 April).
Carling’s footie site is a brilliant marketing exercise. It is also a
good source of information about football. In fact, you can delete the
’also’ - from a user’s point of view, it is purely a useful information
source, just as the FA Carling Premiership is no more than the most
important domestic football competition.
The Website is a perfect brand extension, dovetailing with the
sponsorship, the Carling Premier lager brand, the point-of-sale material
etc. What it doesn’t do is talk to you about Carling lager - hence it is
not a marketing site per se.
Traditional advertising does this too. In Coca-Cola’s current TV ads
through Wieden and Kennedy Amsterdam, no-one mentions Coke; we just
witness true stories told by football fans - who happen to take the odd
swig from a Coke can now and then.
Ask anyone to name the beer brand most closely associated with football,
and I bet 95 per cent would say Carling. Coke doesn’t own football in
the same way, but it is getting there. This is particularly galling for
an unreconstructed Northerner like myself, who believes that Coke should
bloody well stick to baseball and keep its sticky fingers off our
beloved national sport. Nevertheless, it demonstrates the power that
lateral marketing can have.
And lateral marketing is precisely where the Internet comes into its
own. As it grows and merges into what we now call TV, it will extend its
reach, its speed and its marketing potential. Those who know how to use
it - by owning content - will prosper. Those who think it’s just an
opportunity for some free media placement for their ads will not.