oh no ocado September 13, 2007Posted by nicholas gill in account planning, advertising, brand, content, digital advertising, social networks, strategy, thoughts, TV, web etiquette, word of mouth.
Just when we thought that social media was on the rise and using detachable and user generated content was getting traction (witness this week’s NMA with HP & Burger King sloshing vast revenues into digital because it works better for them), I get this email from Ocado (upmarket grocery home delivery service in partnership with Waitrose – upmarket supermarket) telling me to watch their new TV ad tonight at 9.30 on ITV. Why? Here’s the intro copy from the email:
We feel it’s our duty to tell as many time-starved supermarket shoppers about our service as possible. So from today we’re launching our first ever TV ad!
Here’s some thoughts & these come from my own perspective as I have been an Ocado customer:
1. Time-starved. That’s not the only reason people buy from Ocado (hate supermarkets, Waitrose are not as omni-present as Tesco/Sainsbury so it’s also convenience as well as time let alone the can’t be arsed to push a heavy trolley around then stick it in the boot and then out again & I want the nicer food from Waitrose). But it’s a biggie as the audience is typically professionals who we can broad-brush advertising stylee into cash-rich, time-poor. I am the latter, not the former.
2. But if they’re time starved, clearly they will not be able to make appointment to view advertising schedules either? Let alone spend the time to go to the supermarket? Making appointment to view TV viewing is rare these days. Sky + has transformed the TV viewing in our house (and millions of others) to the extent where I have lost track of the actual day, time and channel programmes are on and rely on the TV planner. The only appointment to view TV is probably football, Lost and 24. Everything else is recorded and played back on our time.
3. On our time. Which sucks because we work hard, get home late and want to enjoy. Which means the fast forward button on x30 when the ads come on as I want to watch the programming content, not the ads. We have even taken to starting watching shows like 24 10 mins in so we can forward the ads and the programme still finishes within the hour once you catch up with the final section.
4. Which means I won’t a) read the email on the day as I’m busy at work, b) watch ITV at c. 9.30 and c) won’t stop the fast forward because there’s an Ocado truck. So I miss it all and don’t get to see the gospel according to Ocado spread.
5. Ocado has grown mainly by word of mouth, in store POS and some funky radio ads in local areas where they serve. The quirky vans also act as a mobile advertising medium which draws the attention. And surely you could get a better return from a whacking media spend on TV by targeting your time starved audience in the environment they actively use to help them with their time-starved lives: the internet? (The ad on the Ocado site is embedded using Google Video so there may be hope yet.)
6. So why turn to TV when the audience they want isn’t there – or at least isn’t paying attention in the breaks? And why would I tune in for an ad by a grocery delivery service? No matter how good they are? It just feels very wrong. And they’re not the only ones, I saw an ad in the Times the other day (or was it today?) that the new M&S TV ad was airing tonight too! At least they may have some models in lingerie which might cause me to reduce the forward speed from x30 to x2 for a bit but didn’t this phenomenon go out with the Nescafe couples ads? Or is it a reflection of the degenerate programming content?
I still don’t know what was on ITV at 9.30 and don’t have the compunction to find out. Besides, I was watching England beat Russia 3-0 on the BBC while catching up on some work and personal email stuff. OK, I wasn’t really. But I could have been.