Jeremy Well’s fronting of Meridian’s latest advertising flight is another example of a celebrity taking a risky punt with their personal brand. When Hanover Finance melted last year I commented on Richard Long’s associated brand credibility falling too. As their front man, he couldn’t escape the connection.
For Meridian, Well’s is obviously bringing his recognised charm and wit to make light of a serious change to the Makara and Maniototo landscapes with the impending “windfarms”.
My issue is what’s it going to do for Wells?
I’m not convinced he’s got it right. The educated followers of his humour are also likely to be the well read folk who’re fully aware of the issues with power generation in NZ.
North and South have recently profiled the Mahinerangi windfarm protest following constructive pressure from the Save Central Otago lobby group. This group are also helped by respected celebrities Grahame Sydney, Brian Turner and former All Black Anton Oliver all propping up their scrum.
Having celebrity endorsement in these sort of debates is critical. It’s their involvement that creates instant human interest.
I’m currently doing a series of speaking engagements with Trade me’s “Revolution Tour” and one of my fellow speakers is TaxRefund.co.nz’s CEO, Geoff Matthews. Geoff’s company has arrived on the scene in a matter of months and its growth has been nothing short of phenomenal.
One point Geoff notes in his presentation is the influence celebrity endorsement added to his brand. Having active endorsement from Matt McCarten (General Secretary Unite Union) and Alasdair Thompson (CEO of Employers and Manufacturing Union) in his TVCs has been a huge call for support from two enormously influential people.
The key is, like the Save Central Otago group’s work, the Union leaders’ support is unpaid endorsement. Jeremy Wells, on the other hand, is being paid to bolster Meridian. That lacks credibility.
IAB NZ recently posted an interesting research paper by Nielsen Online on UK online advertising trends. Reading through IAB’s summary of things to consider for the future, I’ve added some thoughts from a New Zealand perpective.
Be aware – standard ad formats and inventory just won’t cut it, experimentation and thinking ‘outside the box’ are key
This isn’t blossoming in NZ yet. That’s not to say it won’t come but integrating mobile, social media, display, SEM, gaming, experiential etc is just too hard, risky, or costly for many agencies. And in many cases, rightly so – NZ’s box isn’t that big.
I still think there’s mileage in using some standard formats like Trade me’s tab and tower or showcase and skyscraper ads to connect with the users. The key for the immediate future is developing the right media buy that integrates context or a very low cost CPM.
It took NZ’s marketing community an age to come around to CPM media buying and many clients just can’t comprehend taking risks with untried media.
Publishers and advertisers have to work more closely together
Absolutely. For agencies this means keeping contacts, managing relationships and facilitating connections. This sort of close integration will raise questions about how the traditional media commission system operates. I see a limited life for the current commission set up in the online space. It doesn’t benefit either side when the ‘time/media spend’ ratio doesn’t equate.
Advertising must be a conversation rather than a push
I like this idea. It’s also a great sales approach. Tom Reidy details the conversation of selling in a recent post which could also hit home with online ads. Talk – don’t sell, listen, use the right language for your audience, keep your look consistent, never be too pushy. These are all useful tips when creating good online ads in the future.
Advertising tone must be more authentic, candid and humble
This is oh so true for a New Zealand audience and it has a lot to do with the user experience that follows the click of the ad. The authenticity of your company/product/message will be surveyed and summed up by the user in a matter of seconds, so that landing point needs to be simple, straight to the point and instantly rewarding to the user. Which brings things to the last point…
Advertising should add value to the customer.
And that value has to be absolutely obvious to the customer.