Monday, November 24, 2008


Last week South Africa Rugby announced that they would cut the use of the Springbok logo from the National Rugby team – full story here.

The issue is divided along racial lines as most blacks saw the use of the Springbok on the uniform as a symbol of a time when they were not allowed to wear the jersey.

The Nov 8-9 issue of the Sydney Morning Herald carried quiet a lengthy piece on the matter and even submitted question to South African Rugby. The response, from Andy Marinos, acting head of SA Rugby, was that the union supported the use of the Springbok emblem and in fact stood to lose a significant amount of marketing money it they were forced to remove it.

Marinos also said “Commercially, it would have a significant impact, and given the fact that the springbok has been placed as one of the super brands in SA’s basket and has a worldwide appeal …”

Now that day has come and the Springboks will now use the Protea logo - something that all other national teams have done since the first democratic election in 1994.

The use of the Springbok has not been completely removed but it must not compromise the use of the Protea. The design and positioning is still to be finalised.

But the bigger question is - what will they be called?

No doubt there will be a lingering resistance for some time from those that opposed the change. I personally do not support the change because I think that it serves as an important reminder of how far South Africa, and Rugby, has come since those dark times. Erasing those things that remind us of it takes us down the path of not remembering them – forgetting them doesn’t mean it never happened.

At the end of the day a brand is what people perceive it to be in their mind. Those that fought so hard to make the change should have instead spent their time changing people’s perception of the Springbok brand. They should have spent their time changing the Springbok brand into a positive thing that all South Africans can aspire to.

Additionally, I also think it unfair that SA Rugby is now going to lose significant brand equity despite them using a logo that was never illegal!

Regardless, it has now been changed. Maybe South African Rugby can employ some of the tools and techniques brands in other industries have used to successfully change brand names.

South Africa are a proud and passionate country of Rugby supporters with a long history.

Other brands boast the same types of proud and passionate followers … which brand or brands do you think would elicit the most resistance if the government legislated against the use of their current brand name? What about the brand you work for?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rihanna, Pasta & Popcorn

I love the Gruen Transfer (but can anyone explain why they, and others such as Hollowmen, have a subscription on iTune but no episodes - or at best only one episode?)

A few months ago they were dissecting the blend of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” music video and its cross promotion with the Maybeleine brand. A (very) quick Google search brought up nothing, and my memory is a little faded but, they were discussing how the singer and Maybeleine had joined forces to help promote each other.

Rihanna did a re-make of her music video clip to be an ad for Maybeleine and Maybeleine offered Rihanna CDs through their retail counters.

Essentially, they are blending their marketing mixes (4Ps) to undertake co-operative “Promotion” as well as increasing their “Places” from where customers can access their offerings.

While I agree that the match between Rihanna and Maybeleine is an excellent one (because there would be demographics of their target markets that are the same or similar) the discussion reminded me of another cross promotion I had seen recently.

On my way home, I had to swing past a local supermarket to pick up some cake mixture (I lost a bet in the office and the loser had to bake a cake for everyone … but that’s a story for another day and I lost the bet … I’d much prefer to share a story where I won a bet:).

While waiting in line at the checkout, there was a promotional basket full of Continental instant pasta meals. What caught my eye was the little sticker that carried the Video Ezy logo. It said “Free Video Hire” (when you buy the packet of pasta).

It immediately struck me as a very strange relationship. In fact, I think it is a down right terrible match. Pasta and Videos? Come on! So I thought to myself “righto hot shot, if you were coming up with the ideas at Continental, what would you dream up?”.

Pasta and wine (maybe not a whole free bottle but maybe a good discount?). At least with the bottleshop next to the exit I might be inclined to take advantage of that offer as I leave. And because the bottleshop is owned by the supermarket then they are more likely to promote the pasta in prominent spots!

Happy that I had fixed Continental’s woes, and with the 30 seconds I had left in the queue, I thought I had better not leave Video Ezy high and dry so I thought of a good product match for free videos. Pretty simple really … Popcorn!

As I got called to the register I wondered whether I shouldn’t call my wife, cancel the burritos and tell her I was coming home with some pasta, a bottle of red, a movie and some popcorn!

The question for you is - what complimentary products or brands could your company work with? A little co-operation could open up scales of economy and help you utilise distribution channels that previously been hard to obtain.

What other matches for products can you think of for products that compliment each other? Funny ones welcome - beer and panadol?

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Oyster Project R.I.P.

This is an extract from Marketing Magazine’s September 2008 issue, where they feature the Jack Daniel’s story:

“In his book Zag, Marty Neumeier challenges brands to write their own obituary, an exercise designed to draw out the key aspects of the brand and its relationships to its consumers.”

Note: If you want to know what Gus Griffin, Jack Daniel’s global managing director, said about his brand then grab a copy of the mag.

I want you to take part in this exercise as I think you will find it valuable. It will only take a minute.

Ok, now, imagine your blog (or podcast) just died at everyone is at the funeral … what would you hope one your followers would stand up and say at the eulogy?

Open Word and write it down.

Seriously, do it. Come back to me when you are ready ….

Don’t read on because you might be tempted to write something along the lines of what I did and I really want to hear your thoughts.

Here’s is what I came up with.

It’s only been days but I deeply miss The Oyster Project already. He always provided me with thought provoking posts on Marketing and I always felt compelled to join in the conversation. There was always loads of others that joined in the conversation as well. That’s what he did - he got people talking about marketing.

He didn’t try and make himself sound important or just recycle stories that other bloggers had already written about. Instead, he has a genuine passion for marketing and wanted to share it with others.

The Oyster Project was different from other blogs and that’s why I loved him. He always tried to look for something a little bit off centre and I looked forward to his blogs. I never hesitated telling other people to visit him because I knew they would fall in love with him as well.

I didn’t always get his jokes but I think that he was handsome, funny, really smart and great at sports.

Ok, maybe not that last bit.

Now what you need to do is print of your blog’s eulogy and stick it up next to your computer. It should serve as an aspirational goal for whenever you are writing. You can take this exercise and do it for anything – a brand, product, business.

Please don't be shy. Share your eulogy in the comments section. I would really love to see where you would like your blog, podcast, brand or business to go.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Deeeer, It's Red Bull You Idiot!

I am a regular listener of Peter Wagstaff’s Marketing Today Podcast (if you don’t listen to it then get on board at It’s a great podcast and will really get you thinking about current marketing topics – plus if you listen to it in the car then you can avoid the commercial radio station drive time dribble!

Over the last few months I started writing some feedback to the podcast and really enjoyed having it discussed on air … from there I started this blog (thanks to all the encouragement from the blogosphere following my first post last week)
One week on the podcast, Wags and Col were discussing the Olympics and I wrote some feedback which went like this …

“Here is a very cool piece of ambush marketing that I am sure you guys will like. The International Olympic Committee does not allow sponsorship on athletes uniforms (like most sports teams have). In fact, even the manufacturers logos have to be smaller than 3.1 squares inches. I searched and searched but couldn’t find a picture or a reference.I think it was the 2004 Olympics, and a track cyclist lined up with his normal slick suit on. There were some very unusual markings on his uniform in red and yellow and I remember thinking to myself “That’s not even his country's colours”.Then he sat up on his bike and the colours were organised as two red triangles meeting with a backdrop of a yellow circle. Instantly recognisable as the Red Bull Logo! I thought it was pure genius to capitalise on the equity of the logo and be able to reduce it to its basic shapes and colours yet still have it instantly recognisable to an audience.”

I suggested to Wags and Col that it would be a very cool exercise to get some famous logos and “dumb them down” and see if consumers could still pick the brand just from just the shape and colours. We’ll Wags and Col agreed - so I set about doing it.
I have tested it on a few people and all enjoyed it and it was funny listening to them and/or watching them when they had an answer on the tip of their tongue but couldn’t get it out.

Click the link below to download the dumbed down logos and see how many you can recognise. A big thanks to Jules @ Soul Mann for hosting the spreadsheet (as Blog Spot doesn’t allow uploading of word or excel files?!?!)

Download the spreadsheet here >>

Please make sure you register how many you correctly answered using the pole on the right hand side of this page.

If you have any logos that you reckon would be good for a Version 2 then let me know and I will “dumb it down” (Hint: it has to be a logo without much reliance on words/letters/fonts. For example, the Goodyear logo wouldn’t work).

Finally, one more thing, Current Issues in Marketing has an interesting post on the Red Bull Air Race.