OPINION: MILLS ON MARKETING

They say that corporate advertising is a lot like peeing down your trouser leg: it gives you a nice warm feeling but nobody else knows your doing it. This, no doubt, is one of the questions Shell is debating.

They say that corporate advertising is a lot like peeing down your

trouser leg: it gives you a nice warm feeling but nobody else knows your

doing it. This, no doubt, is one of the questions Shell is debating.



But what about Cam-elot? In the past, it has reacted to criticism by

taking out double-page spreads in opinion-forming titles such as the FT

and the Spectator - whose readers probably don’t play the lottery. The

question is whether it needs to do something broader to address

potential concerns among its target market.



The initial view, to judge by latest ticket sales, is that the public

aren’t that bothered. As long as the lottery continues to run smoothly

and the money flows in and out as before, what do they care about a

silly spat between two millionaires? That is the pragmatic view.



The other is that, even though they may continue to play, the public’s

confidence in the probity and integrity of Camelot has been severely

damaged, as perhaps has that of its employees and suppliers. It

therefore has to advertise to restore its reputation.



But if it does do the latter, what should it say? It can either say ’we

knew nothing’ or ’we’re incredibly efficient and give millions to good

causes’. Either claim would suggest an underlying cynicism. The least

cynical route may be to keep its head down and say nothing.



Reasons to be cheerful: car sales surge 12 per cent in December; high

street sales back on track; house prices hit their highest levels since

the late 80s. Yippee! The good times are back. If all this sounds

familiar, cast your minds back to 1988-89, the so-called Lawson boom.

Then, as now, it seemed like the miracle of rising consumption could go

on forever, fuelled by financial deregulation, mortgage mania and oodles

of cheap credit. And then, of course, the party was over.



Which brings us to the parallels with now. One measure, albeit highly

personal, is the amount of easy money sloshing around the system looking

for a home - specifically mine. Since Christmas, I have been bombarded

with direct mail offers of credit from Barclays, Lombard Tricity Finance

(who they?), MBNA, Visa - you name it. At the last count the total on

offer to Mills Inc. was pounds 18,000. I’d like to think this was

because I’m a wonderful credit risk - but it isn’t.



On one level, the marketing techniques are crude and insulting, using as

they do a patently insincere personal approach. The wording is also

remarkably similar (perhaps they’ve all been reading Drayton Bird’s

books).



’We have a guaranteed pounds 2,500 loan reserved exclusively for

you ...’, says one. ’We have set aside pounds 7,000 for your immediate

access without an application or any questions whatsoever ...’, goes

another.



Moreover, does the easy availability of all this money - and its

targeting at consumers - suggest we are at or near the top of the boom

and about to plunge into recession? Last time, marketing departments

were caught short and didn’t adjust their habits until it was too late.

This time, if it happens, they need to have a strategy in place.



Become a member of Campaign from just £45 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).