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Tegel Chicken claims are ridiculous

All advertisers are liars (with apologies to Seth Godin)

All advertisers are liars (with apologies to Seth Godin)

No one is compelled to tell the truth. Doesn’t matter who you are or what your position is in life, it’s up to you to decide the level of truth you’re prepared to deliver. Some professions seem to attract a certain type of person who just finds it easy to fabricate facts. Lawyers and politicians seem to rank highest on the lie scale. In fact, these two professions are banned from participating in the World’s Biggest Liar competition, an annual get-together of fork-tongued fibbers held in the United Kingdom. Apparently they have an unfair advantage over the rest of the field.

So what's the alternative to lies in advertising?

They should add advertisers to that list. And that’s not easy for me to say, considering what I do, and have always done, to make a living. I don’t consider myself a gifted liar, nor am I a saint; but I know that many involved in my profession (especially clients) tend to be somewhat addicted to their own masquerade. Worst of all is that consumers let advertisers get away with it and that’s a big problem because advertisers are consumers too so we fall for the same crap. How many BMWs, Porches and Mercs will you find lurking in the parking lots of Auckland's leading advertising agencies? And why are they there? The folk who bought them bought into the same lies of status and branding that advertising sold to the rest of us. There’s no other reason. Why do these same people wear Gucci, Prada or Chanel? For the same reason as anyone else: because advertising told them to.

I love Apple. Nothing else compares and naysayers should be thrown to the lions. Why am I such a fervent supporter of the brand when I’ve had some terrible experiences with Apple? My iPhone 5 was an out-of-box failure. When I returned it to Vodafone I felt unsettled, like someone came into my house when I was away and had licked all my clean knives and forks and then put them back in the drawer. But I was cool with the failure and as of today I’ve been waiting 28 days for Vodafone to deliver my iPhone 6. Truth be told, I’ll wait as long as it takes because I’m comfortable accepting and forgiving Apple’s lies. They’re such brilliant deceptions that I’m prepared to ignore the videos posted online of the iPhone 6 bending in half and the ugly looking, glitch prone iOS. Why? Because I want to.

I’m not prepared to be forgiving of Tegel and their claim of being “New Zealand’s Favourite Chicken”, nor of Quilton’s claim to be “New Zealand’s Favourite Toilet Paper”. It’s rubbish and we should all see through these weak claims for the drivel they are. Is that any way to build a brand? Apparently so.

If you saw an ad for a restaurant and it said, “We promise not to spit in your food”, would you be relieved or worried? Let’s say for instance that Air New Zealand ran a TV ad and they said “We promise our pilots will not fly drunk and will not to crash into the ocean”, would you choose them over another airline?

As consumers, we are entitled to take a few things for granted. Assurances of saliva free food and crash free journeys shouldn’t have to be made by restaurants and airlines. What the restaurant should be promising is that they make the finest Ossobuco in the world, which is based on a 300-year-old family recipe that is closely guarded by the Mafia. The airline should be promising that they will always be on time, that your luggage wont be lost and that they wont be retrenching thousands of local staff so they can outsource to Mumbai and save a few dollars.

George would have had a bright future in advertising.

Any fool can make a promise. The good thing is that thanks to the absolute explosion of the Internet and Social Media, consumers are becoming much savvier. We want something remarkable from all the promises that advertisers make, simply because the best ones are the hardest to keep. Keep that in mind in 2015.


How much truth can consumers find in advertising?

How much truth can consumers find in advertising?

Just last night I was stuck in front of the TV watching the news with my wife. During one of the advertising breaks the Mad Butcher (Sir Peter Leitch to you non-Kiwis) popped up to talk about his latest chicken offer. He said he was having a special on Tegel Chicken, which he declared is “New Zealand’s Favourite Chicken”. That got me wondering as to how Tegel and Sir Peter came up with that claim.

I went onto both the Tegel and the Mad Butcher’s website and couldn’t find much to substantiate their claim. Perhaps they got to this conclusion based on how much chicken they produce and sell but having a monopoly on chicken production doesn’t make you the country’s favourite. That’s like claiming that the Northern Motorway from Albany into Auckland is New Zealand’s most popular road just because of the huge volume of traffic on it everyday. Highly illogical. 

Add into this that Tegel is not a New Zealand owned company (they are owned by an Asian-Pacific company called Affinity Equity Partners) and it seems highly dubious that they are indeed “New Zealand’s Favourite”, given how much fuss us Kiwis kick up when it comes to foreign ownership of our land and businesses.

Tegel’s advertising “claims” are nothing new. There are hordes of similar ones out there, from the biggest companies to the smallest. British Airways claims to be “The World’s Favourite Airline”.  Carlsberg Beer jokingly claims to be “probably the best beer in the world” (at least I think they’re joking). Quilton Toilet Paper claim to be "New Zealand's favourite toilet paper" which asks so many questions, especially " how does Quilton know?" Who honestly submits their bum to market research? Who would sit on a loo and test various grades of toilet paper for $15 an hour? Quilton's claim is the most empty of the all the brand promises you're likely to find from now until the end of the world.

The problem is that companies and their advertisers are not obligated to be 100% honest with consumers and there are some that really go out of their way to be dishonest. Sure there are certain controls put in place by the advertising industry but in reality, it is you, the consumer, that has to be 100% certain you believe them. If you’re unhappy with advertising then you shouldn’t support that brand and you should definitely complain, it’s the only way your voice will be heard. However, make sure you complain at the highest level possible. The poor sod working behind the counter for $12 an hour most likely wont give a damn (after all, this isn't his real job) so you need to climb the ladder. Find the Muppet with the Land Rover and let him know what you think. The truth is he/she (if they care) should be happy for the feedback you give them, after all, you can learn so much more from the customers who complain than from those who don't.