Several years ago, Gerald Ratner – a famous UK entrepreneur – virtually destroyed his successful high street jewellery chain by boasting on national television that his products were basically cheap and nasty but that if you market it the right way people will buy almost anything. Needless to say the customers proved him wrong.
A few years later, the CEO of Volkswagen came close to ‘doing a Ratner’ (the expression has ended up in the language as a euphemism for a very public marketing gaffe) when he boasted that Audi A6s, Passats and the latest Skodas all shared many common parts and technologies, and were even made on the same production line. It was something car buyers knew, deep down, but they didn’t want it made quite so public.
Now Lurpak, the Danish butter manufacturer, is running a new advertising campaign and you have to wonder what their marketing director was thinking.
The tagline for the ad is ‘Leftovers. We call them ingredients’
Now I’m sure it’s supposed to be a very clever campaign, hinting that you can make anything taste better with their butter.
But honestly, did no-one at the agency wonder what the impact might be of suggesting that a food product is made from scraps and leftovers? It’s not exactly premium positioning.
I shall be watching the hoardings closely to see how long the posters stay up!