The Secret Marketer

Our ‘man on the inside’ provides a view from the top of the marketing tree

I travelled on easyJet this week. No sooner had we taken off than the cabin services director was proudly announcing that Starbucks coffee was now being brewed on board. Not only could I now enjoy a Starbucks coffee, but I could choose between the extra bold Italian roast or the medium Columbian option.

Within minutes, I had ordered my cup of freshly brewed Italian roast and I was drinking an “instant” in an instant. Sadly, the romantic promise of “freshly brewed” was in fact a member of the cabin crew pouring boiling water over some instant granules. The signature paper cup and the price point of £2.20 were familiar, but a grande latte this was not.

Putting aside your views on the rights and wrongs of Starbucks doing instant coffee, from a brand awareness and trial perspective, the partnership between easyJet and the new Starbucks Ready Brew was well executed. It’s a great example of sales and marketing teams working together to deliver a tailormade trade partnership.

I also flicked through the in-flight shopping magazine, which was littered with ads from some of the brands being sold on board. I suspect that in most cases the marketing team of these brands could not be bothered to deal with the grubby world of trade advertising.

In my experience, sales teams are usually left to their own devices when it comes to such activity. Such ads are described as “tactical” and paid for out of the trade marketing budget. It never ceases to amaze me how marketers allow this to happen to their brand.

We spend tens of thousands engaging the finest advertising agencies to deal with a press ad in a glossy consumer magazine, but allow a DIY clip-art execution to run in another mag read by potential customers just because it is classified as a trade title.

For the record, the brand managers of Starbucks and J2O can be perfectly happy with their executions in easyJet’s magazine, though whoever is in charge of Cadbury marketing should note that the very same customers who were wowed by your award-winning Gorilla TV spot may also just have seen your Cadbury Fingers execution in easyJet magazine. Definitely not an instant success in my view.

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