Thursday, 2 April 2009

Jaded Jubilees

Although Marketing budgets are being cut, it does appear that, at the moment here in Germany, most of what is left is being shoved into the "let's celebrate our birthday" pot. They are all at it, from Tchibo with their 60 years, to MediaMarkt with their 30 years, to our local Kaufhof Sport who pushed a plastic cup of something alcoholic and fizzy into my hand last Saturday.

Tchibo, in particular, are going great guns on the subject with a rather bizarre attempt to link their original advertising character, The Tchibo Expert (the old black and white gent above) with their current range. As I understood it, this old fellow used to travel the world in search of the best coffee, but in his most recent incarnation, he seems to be delving into not only wine glasses and men's fashion, but also satin sheets and silky pyjamas - places that I'm not sure if he has a right to be!

At least there is some attempt here to celebrate what Tchibo has brought to Germany ("Ein Idee bewegt Deutschland"). However, all too often, celebrating an anniversary is an excuse for lazy, self-congratulatory marketing and for dragging out a few "retro" pictures.

I guess that, in these times, people are looking to brands to be anchors that provide some sense of stability, trust and authenticity. Reminding people of a brand's heritage is not a bad strategy for these times. But you have to really communicate what the brand has contributed and continues to contribute to peoples' lives - what is in it for them, apart from a couple of hastily slung-together offers.

If you're not careful, it can all end up being as much hot air as in the celebratory jubilee balloon.

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