Vodka, Oreos and living in a digital marketing bubble


To use a soccer analogy, marketing's a game of two halves. 

I was recently exposed to a twitter conversation where a twitterati was berating anyone who used the SuperBowl/Oreo social media example in presentations. Basically, "yawn, yawn, move on - its been eight months now. Let's find another example to talk about". You get the idea.

Now whilst I see his point, lets not forget the real world...

A good friend of mine is an extremely experienced branding & marketing consultant and currently working for a number of emerging drinks brands. Recently she's been helping launch a Vodka brand into Europe - a market already crowded with value & premium brands all crying out for the attention of mainly 18-35 year olds. I was interested in hearing how she went about creating & marketing a new consumer brand. This involved good market research, some focus groups and a positioning that built an "emotional connection". Her view was that consumers wanted to identify themselves with a brand and be a "Product X person". To do this involved highly emotional print & TV advertising (to set the tone, image and demand) as well as aggressive trade sales (to position the brand in the right part of a bar, and thereby satisfy supply).

All good so far. And delighted to hear such rigour, I then asked about the demand for her brand's category as expressed in organic search. Which were the most popular brands on Google? What were the most popular search terms related to vodka?, who comes top when you search for best/cheapest/coolest/most expensive vodka?, cocktail recipes and so on. After all most consumers start/augment/complete purchase decisions via search and get recommendations through social sharing. Right?

Her answer?

"Well Google's all a bit flaky. It's just a load of random nonsense. You can't get any real consumer insights or build an emotional connection"

Now as a marketer immersed in digital marketing this was like heresy, and a somewhat tense discussion followed. Thankfully I didn't get on to social media!! But, regardless, it further reinforced that those of us in the digital/social marketing arena are living in a bubble. Don't forget that smart, intelligent, successful marketers are out there and are still not fully understanding digital/social as a way not only to communicate, but also listen and build affinity.

"They" are not always wrong. And "we" are not always right. 

It is beholden on us to not run out of patience, get bored quickly nor move on to the next new thing.  Let's not avoid our job of helping the vast majority of the marketing community come along with us on this digital marketing journey. Its a long and winding road, so strap in for the ride.

So please, please, please don't throw out the Oreos quite yet. They may be stale to you, but to many they're lovely & oven fresh.

(PS And *of course* you can combine Oreo & Vodka! Image courtesy of Recipe at )