8 random marketing related stories

It’s Friday, time to compile another cracking collection of random strange, weird and wonderful marketing-related news, views and information.

8 cool marketing related stories

1. Marketing copy defies nature

The air pump that came with our new aquarium only registered as a whisper on my husband’s decibel-counting app. But it drowned out the telly, so I sourced the quietest possible alternative. And was delighted – if baffled – to discover the bumph on the box announced our new pump was ‘double silent’. Now that’s what I call quiet.

Along much the same nature-defying lines, it’s nice to have a way of telling when a product is absolute and total bollocks. If the packaging or product name includes the word ‘quantum’ or ‘DNA’, you can rest assured it’s almost certainly talking out of it’s marketing backside. Unless you’re talking about quantum mechanics or actual DNA, you can reliably reject the offender and save yourself some hard earned cash.

2. The remarkable FindMyStuff search engine

The scarily clever Florian Schaub and colleagues at Ulm university in Germany are working on a search engine with a seriously strange difference (how’s that for alliteration). They’re developing FindMyStuff to improve on existing wireless tagging technologies, a worthy cause when, according to an article in New Scientist, Brits alone lose nine items a week and waste fifteen minutes a day looking for the buggers.

The search engine runs on a database of objects accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. You mark easily-lost objects like your car keys with a little tag containing an RFID chip and ZigBee radio, then tag large items of furniture like your settee (where many a door key has languished, lost) with corresponding receivers.

The system triggers the sensors in your sofa when your car keys slide between the cushions and messages you to tell you where to look. Wow. Talk about connectivity.

3. Building your own private internet

In the US, government agencies collect nearly everything internet users do on the net. ISPs move traffic according to business principles, not what’s best for customers. Some people feel Google and Facebook are crossing the line between acceptable levels of data capture and Big Brother. NASA’s PRISM programme made privacy advocates fume. Nobody controls the web… yet. But the political wolves are at the door.

If you prefer to stay under the radar, you’ll appreciate the efforts of teams of super-geeks all over the world who are busy constructing user-owned wireless networks – meshnets – that’ll give users real security and privacy. Watch out for the meshnet revolution. Power to the people.

4. There’s nothing fishy about fish-fish-fish

My search for the perfect air pump led me to the fish-fish-fish site, from whom I bought the aquarium in the first place. I contacted them because they included an excellent thank you letter in the package, asking me to get in touch if I had any questions.
I emailed them asking for advice about silent pumps and a lovely bloke came back within a few hours with all sorts of good advice and three recommendations. He saved me all manner of faff. I bought the most expensive, ‘double silent’ option. And it arrived ridiculously quickly, perfectly packed. A top job, a great buyer experience, excellent post-sale marketing. Thanks Stuart. I’ll be back.

5. Dental fail

I live by email. In complete contrast to my enjoyable fish-fish-fish experience, I sent my dentist a message this time last week and still haven’t had a reply. They could have made a good few quid out of me but I feel so discouraged, I can’t be bothered to try again right now.  Huge marketing fail.

6. Local tree surgeon campaign cuts the mustard

Marketing is all about giving people what they want, when they want it. So I was chuffed to bits to get a leaflet through the door last night for M&M Tree Services and landscape gardeners.
I turned my back for five minutes and our laurel is too high to trim, even with a ladder. Rather than risk DIY chainsaw decapitation, I need someone who knows about trees. M&M’s leaflet arrived just in time, making all the difference between junk mail and great direct marketing. Chaps, I’ll be in touch.

7. Silly word play

My little brother is a very silly man. A jaunt to the Edinburgh festival saw him texting me this, which made me fall about laughing.
“I went to a Japanese football match last week. As the end of the match they broke out into a frenzy of martial arts. When I asked why, they explained it was ninjury time”.
Thanks, Jonty. Tommy Cooper would be proud of you. It’s good to see my family upholding the ancient and honourable British tradition of word play, which I use whenever it’s appropriate to endear audiences to the British products and services I write about.  In a vanilla world where writers are often too scared to write copy with personality, it helps brands stands out.

8. Slime mould art

Nothing whatsoever to do with copywriting or marketing, search engines or anything else relevant to me and my work, this is nevertheless a splendid piece of blog fodder.

Here’s a link to Ella Gale’s fabulous slime mould installation, in which the weirdly intelligent yet completely brainless mould’s electrical signals are harnessed to a human-like robot face, which reacts by portraying emotions. An utterly brilliant venture into the ‘uncanny valley‘.

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