Source: Google Images
Source: Google Images

After all of these articles, you may be wondering what’s the point of all of this – yes, we can analyse transactions and companies using theories but does it really matter? This is the question that I often ask myself too. The answer came this week when I saw an advertisement by a bus company in Cardiff.

Souce: Google Images
New Adventure Travel Group advertisement. Source: Google Images

The New Adventure Travel Group started its new ad campaign with a bang. Whilst slightly inappropriate in its innuendo, I thought it was ingenious. I mean this was the U.K, with its witty, outspoken public. It should have gone over incredibly well, right?  Wrong.

From the first tweet of this ad, the company saw its reputation under fire, and was forced to withdraw the ad as soon as they had got it up and running. To make matters worse, the buses were already covered in the ad, making their faux pas more excruciatingly painful than it already was (Eleftheriou-Smith, 2015).

So why did this ad fail to attract the one society that should in essence appreciate the cheeky audacity of it all?

Source: Google Images
Advertisement by Protein World. Source: Google Images

The answer lies in the wake of another recent advertisement campaign by Protein Word (left). This ad seems traditional in its approach but again, the British public was disturbed. These two ads were based on very sensitive topic areas -sexism, human rights and feminism -and these companies failed to grasp that.

These failed advertisements illustrated the need for companies to understand their target audience when advertising. That is, the group of people which the advertisement is aimed at. This goes straight back to theory. According to Jobber (2010), a company must consider four aspects: product, price, promotion and place (of distribution) when marketing a product. In this case, the “promotion” area is where these companies struggled. Their message was clearly unsuitable for their intended audiences.

This failure to apply theory cost the companies significantly, not just monetarily but it negatively impacted their brand images too.

On the other hand, considering theoretical principles can very well mean going from loss to profit. Last year January, Boohoo, global online clothing retailer, was struggling. It was going nowhere fast. However, the company realised that the market was changing. It was no longer about a model in an outfit (as with the beach body ad) but real people with real bodies.

Nadia Aboulhosn. Source: Google Images
Fashionista Nadia Aboulhosn. Source: Google Images

To address this need, they sought the help of homemade fashionista, Nadia Aboulhosn with her own personal style, candid personality, and mass of followers. As a direct result of this, Boohoo was able to become profitable (Williams-Grut, 2015). This was no small feat. Boohoo understood their target audience and was able to promote the brand in the right way – with the right message and through the right channels, through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

So you can clearly see that theories aren’t so theoretical. The concept of understanding your audience has practical implications with regard to the success of a company. Therefore, it really does matter.

So let me know – Do you see a company struggling? Are there theories which they should have applied?

Feel free to share and comment.

That’s it for now. See you next time!

Note: You can also check out Nadia’s fashion at: http://www.nadiaaboulhosn.com/ or follow her on instagram at https://instagram.com/nadiaaboulhosn/

References:

Jobber, D. 2010. Principles and Practice of Marketing.6th ed. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education

Williams-Grut, O. 2015. Nadia Aboulhosn is the plus-sized fashion blogger who rescued Boohoo and helped grow its revenues 27%. Business Insider, [online] Available at: < http://uk.businessinsider.com/nadia-aboulhosn-plus-sized-fashion-blogger-who-fixed-boohoo-2015-5?utm_source=mobilesrepublic&utm_medium=referral&utm_term=mobilesrepublic?r=US>

Eleftheriou-Smith, L.2015. Cardiff company NAT Group shamed for sexist ad on back of bus showing topless woman holding ‘Ride me all day for £3’sign.The Independent, [online] Available at: < http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cardiff-company-nat-group-shamed-for-sexist-ad-on-back-of-bus-showing-topless-woman-holding-ride-me-all-day-for-3-sign-10241121.html>

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