Monthly Archives: October 2012

Dear Travelodge

Dear Travelodge,

Thank you for being the brand that never fails to disappoint…and in so-being, reminding me how important it is for service brands to over-deliver.

You I’m afraid do the opposite. You over-promise and under-deliver.

Not good.

When forced into my consideration set, my “journey” with you is as follows:

  • “Uh-oh, Travelodge…are there no other options?” (upon google’s revelation that Travelodge is a possibility)
  • “Well, I guess Travelodge is OK – all I need is a bed for the night, nothing fancy ” (upon discovering that there are other options, but that they are either fully booked, ludicrously expensive, or miles away)
  • “Actually, Travelodge is a good and sensible, cost-effective choice, I’m not precious after all – I’m being pragmatic” (upon booking the room online)
  • “Well, at least it’ll be clean, I’ll be asleep in 10 minutes” (upon driving into the car park, usually late a night)
  • “I’m getting a horrible sense of déjà vu right now” (upon struggling with self check-in despite having all the right codes and information / having to return to reception because the flaming card key doesn’t work)
  • “I cannot believe that, once again, I’ve managed erase the disappointment of previous Travelodge stays and kidded myself that it was going to be OK this time” (upon lying on the “bed”, desperately reaching around for something that comes close to resembling a duvet, inhaling the aroma of a thousand stale cigarettes and taking in the disastrous (lack of) decor and industrial en suite shower)
  • “OK, that’s it! Never. Again.” (upon looking at my phone and realising that it’s now 3am, that I have to be up in 3 and a half hours and that the hateful fire alarm LED is not ever going to stop winking at me.
  • Repeat as above approx. 3 months later.

The above pattern is strange.


As humans, we are completely and utterly irrational (see Exhibit A: High Heels, above).

But in the face of such damning evidence why is it that I keep coming back to you?

It’s not the bed.

It’s not the customer service.

It’s not room.

It’s not even the price (which, Ryanair style, is never as cheap as advertised…or is that just my perception?)

I can only conclude that Phil & Kirsty have got it right.

It’s location, location, location.

And for that, we’re willing, against our better judgement and past experience, to compromise.

Thanks again Travelodge, and here’s to under promising and over delivering.



Dear Nestle

Dear Nestle,

Thank you for your GPS enabled “We will find you” promotion – I’m very nearly speechless.

What a fantastic use of technology to reinvent Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket concept:


And with the NFC enabled live updates at bus stops, you really are taking sales promotion to the next level:


Although having said that, a learned client of mine –  Ian H – has quite rightly pointed out that there’s no such thing as a new idea.

Budweiser were doing a very similar thing back in 2002 with a Japan World Cup promotion using global positioning satellite technology and special transmitters hidden inside beer cans and bottles sold in multi-packs.

Opening a special can or bottle was picked up by communications satellites and winners were tracked down within 24hrs to receive  flight, accommodation and match ticket packages to see England and Ireland in the World Cup finals. There were 25 special cans in total.

Amazing then and amazing now.

But as with every marketing activity, an amazing sales promotion becomes pretty much moot (for you as opposed to the credentials of the sales promotion agency you used), unless it actually does the job of helping you flog more chocolate.

More to existing consumers – frequency.

More to new consumers – penetration.

I hope your  “We will find you” promotion does the job, as it deserves to.

Thanks again