I know that I shouldn’t do another post on Cadbury Schweppes because cheap publicity is what they after (and it doesn’t come cheaper than me), but yet again the marketing folks there have done something that I just can’t ignore. Even though I really want to.
In USA Today yesterday, which I read as I repurposed it into packing material for my move, had a short snippet about Cadbury “going wacky” with their marketing.
According to a press release last week that referred to the UFO-like lights over Phoenix in late April, the lights were hostile aliens “here to eat us” and that “the best thing to do to appease these creatures” is give them 7UP. Worst case: “They’ll have something naturally delicious to wash us down with.”
First of all, this whole idea is not funny. It is the anti-funny. It kills funny with a blunt instrument and then cuts up its body and distributes it in wax paper to members of funny’s family.
Second, this marketing plan includes only a PR blast and a shipment of 7UP to “possible alien landing sites” in Phoenix and Orlando…making it completely irrelevant to, um, anyone in terms of being interesting or offering an incentive immediate purchase.
According to USA Today, Sean Gleason, head of the team that dreams up the tongue-in-cheek reactions, says it’s been a cost-effective way to get his brands noticed. “We don’t have the budgets that the big guys do. We have to make every single marketing dollar work even harder.”
I am not sure how a crazy stunt supported only by PR will maximize return on your investment, especially with your average 7UP consumer who is clearly not reading USA Today or the PR Newswire.
I do know, however, that it will get a blurb in USA Today. That is great insofar as it lets people like Sean Gleason show off to his affluent white male business friends who would never in a million years put down their Vitamin Water or Scotch for something as plebian as a 7UP but do respect the fact that yet again Mr Gleason was covered in the newspaper…it’s just not going to sell any more 7UP.
Neither is the Guns N’ Roses stunt. Or, for that matter, any other crazy stunt that results in some limited PR coverage and a blurb for Mr Gleason in USA Today.
These things don’t sell soda.
They also don’t build the brand. Nor do they get your brands noticed because your target isn’t reading USA Today or PR Newswire or the Business section of the local paper that has two sentences about advertising once a week. And ridiculous one-off stunts certainly don’t change preference or create an impulse for consumers to buy now. They have no effect on consumer behavior.
But, again, they do get Sean Gleason a mention in USA Today.