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Around the Table | DineOut Articles


No such thing as bad advertising?

by CJD, Tue 29th Jun 2010 11:35am

It has long been said that there is no bad advertising, just bad marketing. This is true in many respects, and wildly untrue in others. I'm no marketing genius, but I am a consumer of goods and services, just like you. As a consumer, my opinion of you, your business, the quality you deliver and the standards you uphold are all on face value until I am your customer.

If I am a fiercely loyal customer, then I will take any criticism of you and your business as a personal insult, and will defend you to the death! If, however, I am not a customer of yours yet, then your actions, or inactions, will make up my entire impression of your offering. Sites like DineOut allow me to gauge popular opinion and determine if your establishment would suit me, or my needs. There are other sites out there rating plumbers, builders, electricians and all manner of professions. The reason for these sites is we value the opinions of others when we're at a loss ourselves. Some opinions may be wild and unreasonable, or maybe a bit too fake and infomercial, but a general impression of the business will be established, and can be used to determine if you will use their services.

Many business forget that even outside the office, they are influencing decisions. My mind is made up about a business by the attitude and actions of their staff and their owners/managers and the way they drive their company cars. Seems unreasonable? Well, let me tell you a true story...

A couple of weeks ago I was driving through the city on a cold, gray, wet morning. Traffic was moving nicely, but it was the kind of day that induces a kind of depression. It might also have been a Monday which wouldn't have helped either. As I am driving along, a red 2009 Holden HSV with a personalised plate zoomed up my left and swung into the gap in front of me then jumped on his brakes so he didn't crash into the car in front. I had to brake, as did many behind me. There was some cursing and I resisted the urge to smash his near new (he purchased it in Nov 2009) vehicle off the road. We re-adjusted stopping distances and I caught site of his red personalised plate, complete with his business name emblazoned on it. It belonged to a not-very-local bar & restaurant and the name stuck in my head. Strongly. Strongly enough that weeks later I still remember the event vividly, the car and plate, and the name and location of the restaurant the driver obviously was 'promoting' by his 'wikked' driving skills.

From this one incident, I have gone from knowing almost nothing about this nearby business, to knowing the name and location of the restaurant, and vowing to never step foot over his doorstep, or recommend to any of my friends and colleagues that they do either. Which is a shame really, as it would be my pick of the bunch in his area.

Now, this may seem a bit stalker-like, but the thing is that I see print companies, plumbers, trucking firms, couriers and all manner of businesses driving in branded vehicles out there, and driving like assholes. It's not all just staff either, as my HSV driving friend sure couldn't afford a brand new $90,000 vehicle on a waiters salary. Many of my decisions about companies I will deal with are based on my non-business interactions with them. There is a courier company I refuse to use, a major retailer I'll never buy from again, and a couple of small business who I'll never deal with. I don't have them all written down in a little book either, they just did such stupid things (sometimes more than once) that they lost me as a customer as I will always associate their name with the incident.

So, is there no such thing as bad advertising? If I named the bar & restaurant that started this rant in the first place they would certainly get more eyeballs, more discussion about them and maybe even a Holden club meeting. However, they would also get a lot of bad attention, and that's why they are not named. While this guy annoyed me enough to set my mind against him, I can't comment on his business as I haven't utilised it. My trust in him, and therefore the way he runs his business has been soured by his few seconds of idiotic driving. My decision is based on emotion, not logic.

So, if you have a personalised plate, drive a branded vehicle, or wear a company uniform, be aware that your actions are forming opinions about you, your business and your ethics. Using the disabled parking space 'just for a few minutes' will lose you customers. Loudly belittling your staff in front of people will lose you customers. Being roaring drunk and annoying in a bar/restaurant will lose you customers. And it doesn't matter what you do, who you work for or what your position is in that company, your bad decisions cost your business customers. If you feel the need to be anti-social, annoying, arrogant or aggressive in public, make sure you do it 'unbranded!'


Your Comments


Wed 30th Jun 2010 04:00pm

Anything you and your staff do impacts on your brand, I do a lot of reference checks on potential employee’s I recently did a reference check to an electrical company, the person I spoke to was very rude, very arrogant, they liked the sound of their own voice, and made it very clear to me how important their time was, I will be doing major renovations to my house with in the next 12 months will I consider using this company, definitely not.


Gary Hogg

Thu 22nd Jul 2010 05:35pm

One might also venture that in regard to some of the advertisments dished up on TV nowdays; that the creative juices have run out for our advertising agencies. Take the raft of commercials promoting womens creams and moisturisers for example... everyone from L'Oreal to Nivea. Can you tell them apart ? Slow mo shots of inanely grinning females in some post orgasmic state rubbing creams over the bare shoulder or leg or rising phoenix like from a pool or spa to go through the whole awful rigmarole. What a load of old rope.... can't any of them come up with something a bit more original...?


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