Monthly Archives: September 2011

Dear Kronenbourg 1664

Dear Kronenbourg,

Thank you for the second instalment of your “Slow the Pace” positioning:

I thanked you here for your first foray into this positioning territory and a year or so on, it still feels like a good place for you to be…

Is it me or are things getting slightly more surreal? Suggs seems a little distracted to me…perhaps it’s the levitating saxophonist…

I’d be curious to see to what extent perceptions of the brand have shifted (the long-view), but more importantly what the impact on sales has been (the short-view).

At the very least you can congratulate yourself on muscling San Miguel – who I thanked here – off this plot of positioning real estate…and without having to call in the bailiffs.

To be fair, San Miguel did seem slightly less committed to defending their patch than some of the activists and residents of Dale Farm near Basildon, but I guess it’s an achievement nonetheless.





Dear waterpik

Dear waterpik,

Thank you for your WP-450 Ultra Cordless Dental Water Jet.

Goodbye flossing, hello plaque-free and guilt-free self-righteousness!

Goodbye to guilty confessions in the dentist’s chair that whilst the new flossing regime had started well enough, it had dwindled by the end of the first week and was non-existant less than a fortnight later.

Let’s face it, unless you’ve got the patience of a saint, the dexterity of an origami champion or you’re actually a dentist (and properly understand that if you don’t do it there’s trouble ahead), flossing is a nightmare:

  • There’s the mouth contortions – just how are you supposed to get to the back?
  • There’s the spatters on the mirror – unavoidable and pretty gross for anyone else that shares the bathroom.
  • There’s the time it takes – it’s the end of the day. I’m tired. I want to be in bed. Now.
  • There’s the loss of blood to your fingers as you wrap the blasted stuff round and round
  • There’s the trying to drop it in the bin so that it actually goes in and doesn’t drape over the edge like a cobweb
  • There’s the lack of any real, tangible, visible evidence that what you’re doing is worth it (at least with brushing your teeth you get fresh breath)
  • There’s the fraying – now I’ve got floss stuck between my teeth along with my dinner: awesome job.
  • There’s the pain – I know I’ve probably never done it right, but it does hurt, even when I’m “gentle”.

As I said, flossing is a nightmare. Tape, Satin, Waxed, Non-Waxed, Unflavoured, Extra Minty, With Aloe Vera – try as Oral-B et al might, it just doesn’t do the trick.

Consequently people (or perhaps just me) don’t want to floss.

But people don’t need to floss.

What they need is to clean the gaps between their teeth (and consequently prevent the build up of plaque and prevent gun disease).

Reminds me of Prof Theodore Levitt:

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.”

Thanks for reminding me of the Prof – always a pleasurable but beneficial diversion.

Thanks Waterpik WP-450 Ultra Cordless Dental Water Jet…

…you do everything that flossing does that’s good (needs met, benefits delivered)…

…and address all of the barriers (see above)…

…just in a Different, Better, and I suspect Cheaper (in the long-run) way.

Cracking piece of differentiation that.

Now if you could just be less the size of a hairdryer and more the size of something that would fit in my wash bag, that would be marvellous…


Dear Sainsbury’s

Dear Sainsbury’s,

Thank you for building a new “in-town” store immediately opposite our offices in Marlow, where Waitrose used to be…I am already eagerly anticipating:

  • Scanning your shelves for the latest and greatest in the world of FMCG – this will be strategic shopping in its most convenient form ever!
  • Being able to respond to the “can you pick up milk / bread / grog / dinner for 12 on the way home” 5.30pm text message without those unwanted feelings of vexed inconvenience tinged with resentment
  • Buying your Swiss Fondue which, although deeply under-trading in the authenticity of the Emmi version I can get from Ocado, I prefer

Thank you Sainsbury’s, for your polite letters keeping us up to date with how your building works are getting on. It’s good to know that you’re on-track and that you’ll be opening at the end of November.

Brand touchpoint, positively touched. Good one.

I do suspect that your courtesy hails from multiple previous bad experiences with out-raged local residents from which you’ve learned the art of damage limitation, but it’s appreciated nonetheless.

And thank you for giving us peep-hole windows – at both adult height and child height – in the colourfully boarded up front façade, so that we can peer in and see your progress for ourselves. An unnecessary, but very nice touch.

And I suppose I should also thank Waitrose on your behalf.

If they hadn’t forgotten to renew their lease (what a cock-up):

  • You wouldn’t have been able to snap up this prime site
  • They wouldn’t have had to move down the road to a lesser but nonetheless acceptable site.
  • You wouldn’t have been able to knock down everything but the listed façade to build something much bigger and better
  • And the residents and employees of Marlow wouldn’t now be looking forward to being able to choose between the two of you.

Everyone’s a winner!

Except Waitrose, or more specifically the bod who forgot to renew the lease.

Thanks Sainsbury’s


Dear McDonald’s BCO

Dear McDonald’s BCO,

Thank you for reminding me of the old advertising adage that “nothing kills a bad product quicker than good advertising.”

I really, really love your ad:

Well I say I love your ad.

The truth is, I do love it.

Right up until the point when you come into it.

When I feel a wave of disappointment. (Sorry but it’s true.)

Now I know I’m being unfair:

  • I haven’t tried you – my disappointment stems purely from a legacy of brand prejudice
  • You could well be a fantastic product – although based on past experience of the mismatch between the Big Mac in the ad and what you get in the box, I think I’ll retain my right to reserve judgement
  • (Having said that, you do seem slightly more appealing than a McChicken Sandwich – conceptually at least)
  • You may proceed to become a big hit, proving the adage (?) that great advertising of a great product is the best way to maximise commercial success
So, thanks for the roller-coaster of emotion that you gave me on the sofa last night:
  • Intrigue, Excitement & Anticipation (the decorators doing that cool stuff)
  • Disappointment & Disenchantment (oh it’s McDonald’s, what a shame)
  • Chastisement (don’t be so judgemental, they may have pulled this one out of the bag, they should be considered innocent until proven guilty etc)

OK, so the roller-coaster of emotion didn’t even come close to “9/11: The Day that changed the world” on ITV1, and was completely blown out of the water by the utterly compelling “Our War: Caught in the Crossfire” on repeat on BBC3, but at least you gave the ad break a frisson that I wasn’t expecting.

Thanks again.