Happy New Year everyone!

I have to confess, I’m not usually into making resolutions but I do like the idea of a good old fashioned ‘revolution’. So here’s mine for the year; I hereby promise not to give up on the ridiculous, insane, inane marketing practices of retailers and as an adjunct I swear not to retreat to my study and suck my thumb every time I witness the misuse of marketing funds in advertising. There, I’ve said it publicly and I’m now condemned to living the revolution. So without further ado let me begin the new year with a demonstration of my revolutionary promise.

My wife is responsible for me reading the local rag – she believes I need to keep up with all things local and so as an example to my colleagues I read both our local newspapers. “So you do as your wife tells you?” I hear you say. Off course I do – it saves time, but I digress; one paper is an out and out rag, local gossip, heavy on council politics and as balanced as a Fox News report. The other is a good read and offers a broader approach, well balanced and fair. Ironically I find the advertisements which appear in these newspapers follow the same editorial parallels.

So I should not have been surprised when I read the full page advertisement which appeared in this year’s final edition of the local howler. I say I shouldn’t, but I was. A full page advert that quite literally said absolutely ‘nothing’. There on a Christmas green background were fourteen logos, the brands of stores which make up some of the twenty six stores of an exciting and very attractive corridor shopping precinct. In a positioning statement that stank of insincerity it claims to ‘give a fig’ about its consumers and along with its address it makes a lone headline statement, ‘Happy New Year’ with a sub header, ‘Normal Trading Hours Apply’. Yes, I know it’s a nice sentiment, but what a waste and what a contradiction. If you really do “give a fig” what’s with the “normal business hours”? This is the classic claim with the active counter claim thrown in for good measure. Don’t you understand? Businesses that give a fig don’t do “normal”.

If anyone from this beaut little centre really cares, please visit me for a one hour, pro bono consultation and I’ll be delighted to explain how nothing + nothing = nothing. Strategically this advert was doomed before the paper proudly put it together and that means someone thought it was a good idea. Whoever you are – you were mistaken because what you have paid for is clearly lacking in every marketing fundamental.

Sure we should just keep ‘mum’ and let these guys waste their money. We shouldn’t interfere, we should wisely keep our council and I for one would be happy to, but for one sad and much broader consequence. I know that the next time these good folk get together at the local Chamber meeting, I’ll hear the small business kama sutra being chanted. “Advertising? It doesn’t work!!!!!”