I worked in marketing for a while. In marketing, there are two sides: the client side (the side with the product and the budget) and the agency side (the people who come up with the creative campaign). I always worked client side, and was permanently amused by our agency counterparts. Some of this was jealousy; they appeared to survive on a diet of sushi and in-house (freely-provided) alcohol, apparently necessary to keep the creative juices flowing. Some of it was sheer horror at the ridiculous concepts they came up with. One agency, memorably, wanted to promote the firm’s new (yes I am old) online banking service with a picture of a cow blocking the door to a customer’s house and the strapline, “Online banking – for when you can’t get out of the house”.
Nothing says futuristic, slick and forward-looking like livestock blocking your road. This was actually one of their better ideas – other things that could – according to them – stop you getting out of the house and necessitating online banking were: a marching band, an elephant sitting in your garden, and a broken leg. Their ideas were truly rubbish.
I digress. As I never got to work on the agency side, my creative mind was never truly stretched. Every so often I see a product or service for which I find the ideal slogan…
There are many areas of giant supermarkets I love. The baking aisle, of course, where you can find several dozen icing flavours and products like “arrowroot” and “gelatine leaves” that nobody is really sure what they do. But, for pure wonderment and entertainment, I like to peruse the World Food aisle. Our local supermarket isn’t huge, and the World Food aisle is basically split lentils and a can of Jamaican Ginger Beer. But the Asda in Milton Keynes… is a smorgasbord of delights.
All well and good, you might say, but what does this have to do with marketing?
Well, dear readers, yesterday I found the best product ever.
Behold: SHITO HOT.
Can you imagine being in the brainstorming session for that product?
Agency: And you’re definitely not up for changing the product’s name?
SHITO: No. Rebranding would really scupper our Ghanian market.
Agency: OK. Can you talk me through some of the characteristics of… um… SHITO HOT?
SHITO: Well, it’s a very hot sauce. It’s sort of brown in colour and slops around in the jar. Some users have reported that excess intake can lead to diarrhoea, and a very stingy anus. It’s delicious.
Agency: This is a tough one. And you definitely don’t want to change the product name?
Luckily, I have the perfect slogan all ready to go: