Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

Where are all the low calorie restaurants?

In Marketing, TV on March 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I saw an item on BBC Breakfast News recently about some activist calling for restaurants to display the number of calories and other nutritional information, in line with some trials in North America, on their menus.

Now, the fact that this doesn’t currently happen suggests one of two things:
1. There’s no demand for it
2. There is demand, but restauranteurs think it will do more damage than good.

Whether you think this is a good idea or not probably comes down to whether you think dining out is a treat and you shouldn’t worry too much about your waistline, or whether you think you should be able to keep your diet even when you do go out, and be able to enjoy your meal to boot.

Either way, the only reason a restauranteur would object to giving approximate nutritional information is because they know their food is full of crap. If not, why not give the choice?

They might answer that knowing the nutritional value (or lack of it) would put people off, but there are a couple of problems with this view:
a) It assumes when people eat out they aren’t already aware that they are eating unhealthily (surely most people are)
b) For those who don’t realise the unhealthiness of certain foods, wouldn’t it help for them to learn?
c) It assumes that there aren’t already a host of people who either don’t go out as much as they would want to because of their diet, or when they do they just have a main and some water (eg/ spend less).

Media focus on, and public awareness of, obesity and health issues have never been higher, and all supermarkets have ‘healthy choices’ options across the range.  The only area this health awareness doesn’t seem to penetrate is the restaurant business (to be fair, many fast food places actually publicise nutritional info more than formal restaurants).

My point, though, is not moral, but economic.  I think there’s a big gap in the marketplace for restaurants, especially the chains like Zizis, Pizza Express etc… to have ‘healthy eating sections of their menus, or to offer nutritional information across the board.

Having worked in offices my whole life, there’s often a difficulty when going out in groups as many of the group are often on diets (of various kinds).  What better way to attract these groups, and people that just want to eat healthily in general, than to offer the information they need to watch their calorie intake.

I’m sure some restaurants must have done this already at some point – a brand tie-in with Weight Watchers seems far too obvious not to have been tried – but it hasn’t impacted with me, so clearly hasn’t been are core part of their marketing communications (or I am blind).

Perhaps they are just too hung up on the fact that offering healthy options suggests the rest of their menu is full of crap – as if we don’t know that a 16oz steak in creamy mushroom sauce and chips is, relatively, unhealthy.  We know. We know and we don’t care. But some people do, and these people deserve the right of choice.

Did the Premier League die today?

In Advertising, sport, TV on February 4, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I’ve been chuntering to myself since the massive transfer inactivity of the last few summers, and the perilous financial state Liverpool and Manchester United found themselves in, that the Premier League era is over (RIP Premier League, 1993-2010).

The reason I had been pushing this is that whilst clubs outside of the Premiership have been drifting to, back from, and over the brink into administration all the way through the Premiership era, the Premiership had been pretty much unharmed.  But then not only did West Ham and Portsmouth tank with the credit crunch, shockingly, some of the football old guard got involved as well.

At the same time, the mega-money hoard that had been limited to Chelsea then began to spill out to Man City, for God’s sake, Blackburn.

The point is, the Premier League sustained 20 teams based on a cartel that benefited all 20, based on packaging a full season of high octane football and selling it exclusively to Sky in the UK, and to host broadcasters throughout Europe and beyond.

Whilst the mega-million brigade may have distorted the league a little, by allowing Man City to dominate transfers and bring in a new era of transfer fee hyper-inflation, the commercial package essentially stays the same. The idea that this outside money alone could break up the Premier League (into the much toutes European Super League) by created a massive and obvious gap between the haves and have nots would seem to be nonsense.  If a traditionally small and unfashionable club in the industrial North West, like Blackburn, can become gazillionaires, so can anyone.

However, today’s ruling over showing Premiership in pubs ( could threaten the whole house of cards.  Nearly all the Premiership clubs are afloat not because of gate receipts (Fulham anyone?) but because of the cash from the cartel. The spell which was binding the Wigans, Boltons and Evertons to the Premiership model has been broken.  The Premier League can no longer split it’s product into several smaller chunks and sell it throughout the world, or at least the EU.

There will be such a limited number of broadcasters that could pull this off (it will be Fox) that there will be no competition, and the broadcaster will be able to drive down what they pay for the package.   The same also goes for the other leagues, like La Liga and Serie A.  The big clubs without mega-finance (Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, the Milans, Barca etc..) could see a huge dip in income, but with the mega-finance teams looming and waiting to buy all the players they can no longer afford, what can they do?

How about reestablishing that good old cartel? All the top clubs, one geographical area, one broadcaster – the European Super League.

Is this pie in the sky? Not sure, but I for one can’t wait.  The sooner that lot take their ‘sports entertainment’ and take it elsewhere, the sooner the rest of us can restore the Football League, and get back to watching football the way we have for generations – in lovely, stinky decrepit stands full of pies, cynics, pain and failure.  THAT is what football is all about!

Co-op advert fail?

In Advertising, Marketing, Movies, TV on January 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Take a look at the adverts below that have been on TV recently in separate forms, and edited together for cinema advertising. You might recognise them, but try not to think of who the advert is for, instead try to listen to that voice inside you which is trying to tell you what the solution to their problems is:

What was your little voice saying?  Was it “shop often and little, shop often and little, shop often and little” or was it “Tesco home deilvery, Tesco home deilvery, Tesco home deilvery”.

I like Coop’s advertising and their attempts to position themselves differently to the big supermarkets, but I fear all these advert do is sell the concept of online shopping and home delivery, rather than nipping round the Coop.

I love the Coop near me, but they’re always giving me vouchers for £2 of every time I spend £20. This suggests they aren’t actually happy with you just nipping in for ‘often and little’ and would prefer you to have a more substantial shop.  By the way, I have literally never redeemed one of those vouchers.  That tells the whole story, really.

Misleading Movie Trailer update – Black Swan

In Advertising, Marketing, Movies, TV on January 27, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Quick post about Black Swan as I noticed today there is a new UK TV trailer out, clearly following the recent BAFTA and Oscar nominations, which is very different to the trailer that was out a few weeks back.

Can’t find them on YouTube, but the original UK TV trailer painted it like a psychological thriller/horror about split personalities, which I understand is pretty much the gist of the film.

This new trailer features much more brightly lit scenes, and features the dance much more heavily, clearly looking to position it nearer to Fame or Strictly Ballroom than Carrie or Blair Witch etc…

Has the film suddenly changed overnight? Doubt it – this is a film by the guy that made Requiem for a Dream, widely recognised as the most depressing film ever made. If a Glee fan goes by accident their head might explode.

“Duncan, you’re attitude’s terrible. I’m out!”

In Marketing, TV on January 25, 2011 at 8:36 am

Leisure industry giant, former ice cream van magnate and curmudgeonly dragon Duncan Bannatyne is spearheading a campaign against popular travel review site Trip Adviser for being ‘despicable and cowardly’ for refusing to remove a negative review of one of his hotels from their website.

Other hoteliers are involved in the campaign, but this complaint unfortunately shows that whilst he may be a popular and famous Twitterer, he doesn’t really understand social media.

No1. rule of social media – you don’t control your brand anymore.

In ye olde days companies could still exert a huge dominance over the perception of their brand through dominating expensive traditional media like TV and newspapers. Also, most complaints would have to go direct to the company, and would be kept in house.  Those days are gone.  Now anyone can have a fairly prominent opinion through the right online forum.

This might seem to change the game, but really doesn’t.  All it means for businesses like hotels is that they have to work doubly hard in ensuring all members of staff and customer touch points are spot on, which they should have been doing all the time anyway, especially in the hotel trade where word of mouth has always been vital for new business.

No2. rule of social media – the google mantra – don’t be evil

I would wager that Duncan Bannatyne was perfectly happy when reviews of his hotels were largely positive – he’s only come wading in now when, presumably, some irate customers has really tore a strip off.  Now, I’ve no doubt that this review may be false and written out of bitterness – this can happen – but the worst thing to do is to come wading in and shouting blue murder about it.

Trip Adviser offers right to reply to any post, so he should have tackled the case there, responding directly to any criticism with their side of the case.  alternately, a charm attack of their own – offering this person some freebeies to make up for their bad experience – could have turned this negative into a positive (although you do have to be careful with this, otherwise everyone will be at it.

At hotels where I have stayed and had a lovely time, I’ve often felt more motivated to write a positive review if someone else has written a negative one, because I feel hard done by.  Make the majority of customers happy, and make them love your brand, and like a swarm of wasps, they will circle around the brand when it comes under attack.

Trip Adviser users are not unthinking sheep

Regular users of Trip Adviser know that some people are just never happy.  The nature of these reviews are polarised, as you are most motivated to review if you have a fantastic, or terrible time.  However, most Trip Adviser users know this and take it into account.  The number of times I’ve seen negative reviews because the reviewer didn’t like the mattress because it was too hard/soft is ridiculous – a mattress is a highly personal thing, so it’s silly to expect a hotel to keep a range of mattresses in case you don’t like it.

In the main, it’s the nature and number of negative reviews that counts.  A few complaints about slow service at 9pm on a saturday night, or a loack of smiles on reception, is unlikely to impact on me, but things like disgusting bathrooms or paper thin walls or overlooking a nightclub and I’ll definately think twice.

Also, Trip Adviser reviewers don’t expect the earth – look at the top reviewed hotels in any given region, and it’s not just all the 5 star hotels – there’s often B&B’s and budget hotels too, because people take price and expectation into account.

Trip Adviser does take action against defamatory reviews

Yesterday on 5Live they were talking to the owner of Rudding Park Hotel in Harrogate, which has won a Trip Adviser award as a European favourite, so clearly does well with their customers, but even they had to deal with online attack.  In their instance someone posted a negative review in English, and then reposted it in a different language each week. In this instance this is clearly a systematic attack, rather than a genuine complaint, and Trip Adviser eventually took down these posts.  In a different instance, though, someone posted a review compaining about their drinks prices, saying they were more expensive than their local.  The owner complained, but Trip Adviser backed the poster, as it was their genuine opinion.

Bannatyne thinks he’s doing the right thing by taking up this issue, but he isn’t.  I neveer had an opinion of Bannatyne hotels before, but now I do, not because of the poor review, but because of Duncan Banatyne’s poor response.

Portas’ Pointless Premise

In Marketing, TV on January 21, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Just watching first episode of Mary Portas’ new series, and she’s tearing apart Primark for customer service. It’s Primark, not fricking Harrods!

Just as RyanAir have an air of almost deliberate disdain for customers to try and hammer home the message that all their effort is going into saving you money, so too Primark.

She complains about there being no assistant and long queues, but in my experience Primark put all their staff on the tills, so at least the queues move quickly.

Also, the piles of clothes heaped high could even be deliberate – encouraging the frenzied rummage mentality that gives Primark a hysteria at times, which then encourages people to shop and shop and shop.

I like Portas, but she’s being deliberately obtuse here.

Only 10 mins in though, so maybe I shouldn’t judge!