April 2, 2013

Store charges a ‘just looking’ fee

I find this situation absolutely ridiculous and just demonstrates how the digital explosion in recent months (that is only just beginning) is not being understood or embraced by all brands.

Take this Australian bricks and mortar store, for example, called Celiac Supplies, “Brisbane’s only gluten and wheat free store.”

celiac storefront

They have started charging customers a $5 ‘Just looking fee’ that is deducted from your final bill if you buy something in the bricks and mortar store! This to prevent the estimated 60 people a week from getting advice from the owner about products in store and then buying elsewhere, often online.

Here is the note they posted in store, informing of the Just looking fee:

justlookingfee !!

This is a  fantastic example of how commerce is evolving in 2013 and beyond and how some businesses are simply not adjusting to the new reality of consumers having more control than ever these days.


With the internet, consumers have so much information and choice available to them when selecting products, that bricks and mortar stores are becoming a place to physically see and feel products after having Googled online. Often purchases are completed online in this scenario, not in store.

Brands have to find new ways to provide value with their bricks and mortar stores, as well as improve and facilitate the e-commerce experience.

Australian glasses company, Eyehub, for example, is doing just that by offering the following in their stores to create user value :

  • Playback mirrors – an interactive mirror, that allows you to record yourself wearing different glasses and compare them.
  • Simulator zones – they simulate real world situations via a wind tunnel room for cyclists, and a glare simulator for skiers
  • Children’s education zone – teaching kids about the importance of protecting eyes etc

So the key is to not be afraid of the new world of interactivity with regards to commerce, but rather adjust your existing business models to provide usefulness or entertainment to consumers in their purchase process, and test, test, test.

But charging a ‘Just looking fee’ is not the solution ! Perhaps the scenario could be flipped so that Australian consumers could start charging Celiac Supplies an ‘online time wasting fee’ when they discover they can’t buy any of their products online.


It would make about as much sense!


Posted by Rob Booth | Filed under: All, Media, Useful | No comments yet - be the first

March 26, 2013

Oreo vs. Kit Kat on Twitter

A current buzzword that we hear a lot about is “social media monitoring” that seems a very nebulous term and appears at first to be difficult to define, and somewhat tricky to determine its value to brands.

Here is a great example showing the importance of social media monitoring – KitKat noticed this tweet by someone on Twitter that contained their brand name:

kitkat tweet


By using tools to monitor what was being said about their brand online, they noticed the tweet, they identified an opportunity to engage both a consumer talking about their brand(who appears at a quick glance to be a brand advocate) whilst simultaneously engaging another brand, Oreo.

This is what they tweeted in reply:



And this is how Oreo countered the cheeky tweet by KitKat:


Notice how the tones of both of these tweets from both brands are almost lighthearted banter – the chosen tone is absolutely key to engaging consumers and brands, and both brands nailed it in my opinion.

But KitKat often uses current events as the basis of some simple but entertaining and RELEVENT communications online, like this one when the new pope was elected.

opoe kitkat


  • Listen daily to what people are saying about your brand online – not only can it be a customer service channel, it can be a product development channel, a brand evolution channel and certainly a consumer engagement channel. Don’t just put the youngest person in your marketing department in charge of social – it is potentially one of your most important channels to build (or destroy) your brand. Would you let an intern be your CEO?!!
  • Have systems/procedures in place that allow you to reply very quickly. ‘Agility’ is the key word and most brands in 2013 are continuing with outdated, historic procedures and processes that do not reflect the capability for real time communications, listening, reacting to topical news stories, tweets and Facebook posts. Kit Kat took 2 days to reply to the initial Tweet from the consumer, and Oreo replied within 7 hours to the KitKat tweet! That means Oreo noticed the KitKat tweet, planned a strategy to counter it, came up with an idea, got client approval, executed it, and tweeted it within 7 hours! 99.9% of brands are not capable of doing that and they should be in 2013.
  • Use current events for some of your brand content – it is relevent, entertaining and will be appreciated and noticed by consumers.

Those brands that are agile, creative, forward thinking and recognize the multi directional, real time communications that are taking place without them online, will reap HUGE benefits for their brands if they put some social skin in the game!



Posted by Rob Booth | Filed under: Ads through the ages, All, Media, Useful | 2 comments - read them or leave a reply

January 26, 2013

S.M.U.T #2

Following the first in my new regular series of S.M.U.T where I shall do a weekly post containing 2 or 3 Social Media Updates of Facebook, Google, Twitter or similar social channels, here is #2 in the series.

These posts will be of more interest to those working  in Media/Marketing.

My 3 social media updates are the following this week:

  1. Study showing that Facebook in a media plan can increase sales by 24%
  2. Facebook rolls out Ad conversion measurement tool
  3. Twitter releases a Video sharing App

    1. Study showing that Facebook in a media plan can increase sales by 24% 

  • Media intelligence company, Aggregate Knowledge released study results from 4th quarter 2012 of 25 brands, exploding the myth that social media doesn’t generate sales.
  • They identified that campaigns containing Facebook premium ads with supporting marketplace ads on right hand side, increased new sales by up to 24%.
  • Exposure to Facebook ads influences purchase consideration, even if users do not interact or click on them
  • Shows importance of view through attribution tracking of Facebook to tell a truer picture of the user’s path to conversion eg there is value in ad exposures, not just clicks
  • Click to link to Aggregate Knowledge study



2. Facebook rolls out Ad conversion measurement tool

  • Mostly suitable for small to medium businesses.
  • It shows such advertisers, the true value of Facebook ads on brand’s site conversions
  • Conversion measurement is important for marketers who treasure actions done on their websites particularly in direct-response industries, such as e-commerce, financial services, retail, and travel to measure ROI.
  • Facebook wrote in a blog that conversion measurement used with Optimized CPM in its beta tests cut the cost per conversion by 40 percent compared to CPC ads on similar budgets.
  • Here is link to Facebook studio for full explanation: http://bit.ly/XV4Ig6


 3. Twitter releases a video sharing app – Vine

What does that mean?

  • Well, in the same way that Tweets are 140 character text messages, a vine post displays only 6 seconds of video, similar to a GIF image.
  • The best way to explain it is to show the ‘Vine’ post that Twitter CEO did this week that got heads turning !
  • Click to see what could be the next huge phenomenon: STEAK TARTARE IN 6 SECONDS
  • It appears Facebook is currently trying to prevent the app finding your Facebook friends! To be continued!
  • Click here to go to App store to download the Vine App. 

Please feel free to provide feedback on any of my SMUT .



Posted by Rob Booth | Filed under: All, Useful | 2 comments - read them or leave a reply

January 23, 2013

‘Must know’ Quebec Internet Info

For those of us who work in advertising/marketing, please consider your EXACT target group when deciding whether to allocate dollars to reaching them on the internet.

Although the stats are based on Quebec market, the key takeaway of my post will be similar in most developed countries.

And here’s why.

We often hear that internet penetration rate is approx 75% in Quebec (CEFRIO confirmed that is currently 74,5%) but here is the key,


If we break down the target groups, let’s see what the penetration rate is and whether we should simply allocate a few dollars to web as an afterthought behind TV.

How many Quebec adults have used internet in week preceding the survey  – Demographic Breakdown (Jan 2013, CEFRIO)

  • Adults 18-24: 100% (yup!)
  • Adults 25-34: 94,4% (Not far from 100% is it and these are not teenagers)
  • Adults 35-44: 90,1% (Yes, 9 out of 10 adults in this key target group)
  • Adults 55+ 53,2% (Much lower than the others but is this your key target usually – it can be, but not generally) 
  • Households with family income exceeding $60k: 89%
  • Students: 100%
  • Professionals: 88%
  • Service and sales sector: 87,8%
  • Some college or university education: 86,3%


For the majority of key demographic groups , the web penetration rate is approx 90 – 100%. It is merely the heavily weighted older demographic of 55+ that brings the overall rate down to approx 75%.

It is very important for brand managers, marketing directors and ad agencies who allocate $ to engage these groups via marketing initiatives to know this key fact.

So please let’s not hear the wrong perception that ‘internet does not provide us with reach.’

It is quite simply not true.

Not only does Internet provide us reach as marketers, but it provides us with an:

  • engaging,
  • fun,
  • lean forward,
  • participative, 
  • sharable reach…when it’s done well ! And this is not just banners, page takeovers and big ‘in your face’ visuals. 

Look what our colleagues at 360i did in US  – The Great Bacon Barter


For the full CEFRIO report (that I learned about from a Sam Parent tweet), click here: CEFRIO INTERNET USE IN QUEBEC 2013

Posted by Rob Booth | Filed under: All, Media, Useful | No comments yet - be the first

January 12, 2013

Upcoming Facebook changes

There are two recent Facebook changes I want to discuss.

1. Change to Facebook Timeline

It would appear that the Facebook changes to Timeline that were being tested in November and December of last year are now being seen in certain limited markets like New Zealand. This is what one New Zealand Facebook User saw this week :

So what are the key changes to Timeline ?

  • 2 column newsfeed to one column
  • Right hand column now limited to : Recent activity, friends and other non messaging updates
  • Highlighted posts including life events can no longer be stretched across the page
  • Boxes that linked to friends, photos, maps and likes no longer appear by default – they appear via a menu
  • A ‘more’ tab offers access to about, friends, photos, maps, movies, TV shows, and music
  • Relationship status has gone from the header 
  • Friends are now called followers (sound familiar!)
  • Your job, where you live and your schooling now appears next to your profile pic, not below it

2. Paid Facebook Messaging

Following its IPO last year, Facebook continues to find new monetization methods.

It is currently testing a paid messages program that will :

  • enable users to reach out to those outside their network of friends for a fee of $1 per message, paid by credit card.

Although the service is early in the testing phase, it holds potential to alter the messaging function for both brands and consumers alike.

It is currently only be tested on individual’s Facebook pages but if successful, is likely to be rolled out onto brand pages.

For example, if you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their Inbox

However, an AYTM survey of  Facebook users about this capability, found the vast majority in opposition—90% of users said they would definitely not pay $1 !!

But would you like to message Mark Zuckerberg?

Currently, the social network giant is testing different price ranges with a select number of Facebook users and has, seemingly, put a hefty price on being able to message Facebook’s CEO.

Certain individuals are being given the chance to do this for $100 per message. It doesn’t mean he’ll read it apparently but it won’t go into his ‘other’ folder ! This is how they can do it:

 Hopefully, Zuckerberg is still using Facebook and hasn’t moved to Tumblr like most people of his age! Average age of Facebook user is now 38 ! True dat !



Posted by Rob Booth | Filed under: All, Media, Useful | No comments yet - be the first

November 27, 2012

Ariel’s dirty shirt shoot

Very clever initiative for Ariel washing detergent in Stockholm, Sweden.

How better to demonstrate the cleaning ability of washing detergent to the Facebook community than to set up an interactive booth in a busy train station where downloaders of a Facebook app could control an interactive gun and fire various messy liquids at pieces of clothing that they could win.

Check out the video by clicking on the photo below:

My net takeaway

The Pros – A really out of the box, fun, innovative approach to try to engage users with their brand in a very unsexy brand category where brand engagement is usually very minimal. (People generally don’t care about washing detergents.)

Seriously high tech for a brand initiative – connecting online to offline to giver users control of their gaming experience

The Cons – Judging by the relatively small number of YouTube video views (approximately 75 000) for such a unique piece of video content that they created, it seems that they may have put most of their $ efforts into the technology behind producing an interactive gun and the development of a Facebook app that connected to the impressive live onsite event, and perhaps assumed that the content would be strong enough to spread virally without paid ad placements.

As is often the case, even the strongest video content needs support from paid media placements to ensure that the content is exposed to more people initially, who will then hopefully share or comment on it.

Final thoughts

Creating a unique onsite event/experience for a brand such as this one for Ariel,  should not simply be judged on how many people will potentially see it on site (eg the foot traffic at the Train station at any given time), but rather as the creation of quality, share-worthy video content that if exploited correctly with a strategic plan and media dollars behind it, is capable of reaching millions of online users globally in an engaging and fun way.





Posted by Rob Booth | Filed under: All, General, Media, Useful | No comments yet - be the first


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