Friday, November 14, 2008

Schwag Fatigue

Marketing Analysis (1 of 6): Energia Torch Key-fob

Target market
Commuters within the Dublin rail network.


These were given away outside the city centre train stations this morning. Looking deceptively like USB keys they were being snapped up more readily than usual. A side note here: there is a noticeable trend for commuters to be a lot more picky in the free schwag they will accept these days. ‘Schwag Fatigue’ has definitely set in. That particular marketing channel had boomed in the last two years. The various companies involved now seem more coordinated than they have been. Last year it was not unusual to have to run a gauntlet of people in brightly coloured anoraks handing you everything from the ubiquitous free-sheets to macrobiotic yogurt drinks, blueberry muffins, biscuit bars and mini boxes of cereal. While this category of marketing activity must deliver some results (or they would not still be doing it) it is undoubtedly a high-noise channel.

Effectiveness of this item

This is a very opaque piece of marketing. Yes, it is a useful little widget, keep it on your key ring and you have a handy mini-torch. But what does it make me think and feel about Energia? The only clues they have given us to go on are that it is a light and the photo on the front face behind their brand mark is the Christmas lights on Grafton Street. So they probably make light bulbs, or they wish us to associate them with light. (I am assuming they do not want us to make their core brand association be with Christmas.)

All of which is wrong, as I happen to know they are in the electricity-supply business. Also they target businesses, and not consumers. With some degree of Marketing Myopia it looks like they assumed that everyone was familiar with their name, or that the “energ” phoneme in their name immediately clarified their offer. Both are poor assumptions on their part. If they had simply put on the key-fob instead, it would have provided potential customers with the opportunity to discover more. As it is, the only possible outcome they can expect for their spend is to establish some basic level of name recall with Dublin rail commuters.

A wasted opportunity.

* I have entitled this post as ‘one of seven’, as Denis set our MA class the task of thinking about some marketing examples and to make things more challenging I have set myself the task of finding one a day for the next week and then presenting the best one to the class. I have a pretty intensive work week coming up in work with three major presentations and a day off-site in Galway on Monday so lets see how I get on.