Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Loyalty > Humour

Today Telecom launched a tongue in cheek campaign advocating national abstinence to support the All Blacks in the World Cup.

Personally, I think its funny in a classic kiwi piss-take way.

It's also clear that I am in the minority, based on the comment thread in Kiwiblog, the NZHerald, the YouTube comments - I could go on.

So is this about the campaign or is it about the campaign backer - Telecom?

Some of the commentary is that the ad isn't funny and it's trying too hard. I don't think that it's trying to be "edgy". It's trying to be like an Australian beer ad - self deprecating. How could you not at least smirk at Sean Fitzpatrick driving a giant fist?

There's no doubt that Kiwis like humour in their ads. The 2 degrees ads with Rhys Darby a clear case. I would say that if a beer company (other than DB), or 2 degrees, ran this campaign it would be well received.

Why does it not with Telecom? Simple. If you break the bonds of trust with kiwis, and fudge it, we simply will not trust you again.

Kiwis give trust very easily (perhaps too easily) and react very negatively when it's broken. Others might say "that's business" - we say "you took me for a ride and you will pay - for a long time".

Three examples in recent times

1. WellyWood sign - another tongue in cheek proposal, (genuinely intended that way) but the public thought they had been duped when the first proposal was taken off the table, only for it to reappear. It's now with an independent panel.

2. Steve Williams and Tiger Woods - Tiger gets caught cheating on his wife, Steve hangs in there during an 18 month lean patch urging him on, Tiger dumps Steve and spins the story, Steve wins next game and makes sure everyone knows the inside story.

3. Adidas - Releases new jersey for RWC2011. Charges more than on-line stores and then tries to shut the stores down. Kiwis burn adidas logos in the street. Bernard Hickey has an excellent post on this.

Of course the thing is, that a genuine apology (with no provisos) and you can actually earn back your position and have a genuine relationship with a kiwi again.

Which leads us to the Telecom campaign. Telecom hasn't made it out of the dog box yet. You'll get plenty of generalities about Telecom's failures but no specifics because it was so long ago. It's a brand that customers don't feel loyal to. It almost needs this kind of moment to create a circuit breaker.

Without that, kiwis won't laugh with Telecom. They'll just laugh at them.

UPDATE: Telecom apologises and pulls the campaign. Within one day - impressively done. Journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Back into it

Every lapsed blogger has a comeback. No promises whether it will last or not. Some things are more important than 140 characters can capture....