One of the things I enjoy about travel is the chance to dip into the world of big-company messaging and watch for trends. At home, I tend not to buy a lot of the mainstream brands so I don’t know what they’re up to.
My breakfast this morning included items from General Mills (Cheerios) and Lipton, both of which left me scratching my head in wonder that in this day and age, and with all the resources at their disposal, so many big companies still don’t have a clue.
General Mills greets me with a big banner on the front of the box telling me that I can win a free box of Cheerios if I turn over the box.
On the back, it directs me to go register on a website, and hints that there’s some connection to heart health (which Cheerios has used as a marketing point for many years).
I give General Mills points for figuring out how to reach the target audience. Presumably, pretty much everyone reading the back of a Cheerios box is a consumer and/or purchaser of the product. Also, General Mills scores points for attempting at least some weak level of consumer involvement.
But the offer is too weak. Let me get this straight: you want me to take time out of my day, type in a 21-character domain name, and then register on your site…for the possibility (not certainty) that I might be lucky enough to win a $3 box of cereal? For that, I’m going to take time away from productive work and expose myself to marketing messages from now until Doomsday?
The offer is not compelling enough for me, at least. The benefits are theoretical but the cost to me is real. You want my registration for a giveaway? Make it worth my while. A chance to win an iPad might coax my name and e-mail out of me. A sweepstakes for a box of cereal, not so much.
Oddly enough, the site itself makes a better offer: $4 in coupons for everyone registering, AND the chance to win a cereal box.
Part 2 of my breakfast: a cup of Lipton peppermint tea. On the teabag tag: this trademarked phrase: “Lipton tea can do that.”
Huh?? Now I’m the one who has no clue. What can it do? For whom? Who cares? This one was not even compelling enough to get me to click over to lipton.com in the interest of research (to write about what I found there in this blog). It is so lame I’m not even going to bother.
Adding to my resistance: on the tea bag envelope, it says “Feel everything becoming alright.”
First of all, proper English is important to me. “Alright” is not proper. When discussing making things better, it should be “all right.” But again, there’s nothing here to convince me to click. Where’s the call to action? Where’s anything that relates to me as a peppermint tea drinker, an herbal tea drinker, or even a tea drinker? Where’s the differentiation?
Not to pick on these two companies–I could name hundreds of examples of companies whose marketing departments utterly squander their chance to move the discourse forward. But to have two in the same breakfast struck me as worth writing about.
(Cheerios and the Lipton slogan are trademarks of their respective owners.)