There’s a line Michael Barnett once said that really resonated with me:
“If you advertise a McDonald’s burger it doesn’t just increase sales of McDonald’s burgers, but burgers in general.”

Although this is to be expected, it really irritates me that my hours and strategy for my clients benefits their competitors too – it’s just a sort of brain spasm for me to accept.

None-the-less, it makes me question traditional advertising’s effectiveness, when we take into consideration the newer tactical methods, because that gives competitors so much scope to hijack your customer’s digital purchase journey.

Nearly 70% of user searches are looking for relevance over particular brands, suggesting brand loyalty is compromised, and this is especially true for certain categories — like the travel and (more recently due to another obstacle) the food industry.

So how do you win in a marketplace where loyalty is dead?
Well first off, start listening to your digitally-lead marketers a bit more to understand the customer journey map (who are hopefully listening to your customers), but otherwise, there are ways we can connect with customers when they first express intent through online inspiration or research to offer a personalised or preferred offer. Your consumers are cynical of yesteryear’s brand promises, and locally-relevant and experiences are more important than ever (to a somewhat realistic extent… I’m not anticipating H&Ms sales figures to take too much of a hit any time soon despite the sexy headlines slamming their business practices). But, this is a real challenge for global brands.

I know the purists are gawking at these statements, and while I understand their sentiment and the requirement of reach/awareness, every brand in every category is different, and some cases suggest digital has to play the bigger role in actually delivering the profits at the end of the quarter. What I’m really endorsing here is a little parity across the marketing mix for the components to genuinely benefit each other.

In a category dominated by “what’s the cheapest?”, it may be difficult to be that option. And something brands need not sacrifice to win their share of the market.


But I know when I fly to visit my folks, Kenya Airways is the cheapest option, but I don’t fly Kenya Airways because everything about flying Kenya Airways is shit. So don’t be shit… don’t skimp on the in-flight & booking experience (*cough BA cough*) over the £1mil production ad you want to make, and that may be all the difference?

There’s all too often a mindset of “additive digital”, or “repurposed assets” from the TVC to filter, half-arsed across the digital landscape. When really it’s just neglecting your sales funnel.

Google flights

Let’s look back at Ronald McDonald’s boardroom table for a second… despite losing 500 million customers since 2012 for an assortment of reasons, the food giants have become business partners with those they never wished to be, but are out of necessity.

Customers would watch the expensive McDonald’s ad about fair trade and 100% home-bred beef blah blah blah, trigger the salivary glands of consumers, who then jump on their favourite food delivering app (like UberEats and Deliveroo etc) and order a burger from a new-found competitor. Wtf?

And while these food aggregators are “earning” revenue for The Colonel, Ronald & friends, it is also taking existing customers that were already theirs AND taking a fee at the same time.

ronald mcdonald

There’s no answer for this other than recognising the innovative business model by the likes of Deliveroo, but also digital negligence from the fast food kings for not paying attention to their consumers and marketers who are under-valuing digital product solutions/experiences in favour of traditional meathead solutions.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Author Valentine Mick

Ad man and basic fuckwit

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