Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Commercial: How a brand wins you back

First weekend of August 011
Originally uploaded by SgtRock333.
We spent a brief hour at last weekend's Fruitstock, organised by Innocent drinks, in Regent's Park in London. In the main, we wanted to check out the farmers' market (the bands and the dance tent are not really our thing).

After a long walk around to the north east corner of the park, we got there... to be greated by a common enough site if you are a regular (free) festival goer: many bodies, parched grass, interminable queues.

Which if this was any other brand or body would be acceptable. However, this is Innocent. A brand that has pioneered how an organisation can talk to its customers in a small, down to earth and intimate way.

And that was what we were hoping would be the vibe of Fruitstock: a way of saying thanks, but something that would not be too crowded, a bit of fun, gentle.

Clearly, both we and Innocent were taken aback by the sheer popularity of the event (less, I think, people attracted by a freebie, and more a re-assertion of more primeval impulses, as Londoners express their deep-seated desire to gather en masse in inappropriate locations). But in the context of a teeming scrum of people by the beer tent, a cheery banner saying 'Hello everyone' felt, unexpectedly, a little like taking the mickey.

So this post could have been a rant about a brand gap, about Innocent promising something small and perfectly formed and instead having us experience something large, rowdy and noisy. But that idea was instantly disapated after checking the Fruitstock website:

We'd also like to make a couple of quick apologies. First up, the toilets. The queues were too long and we're sorry that you had to wait in line. We're also sorry about starting late on Sunday. The amount of people that turned up the day before meant that sorting the rubbish took longer than expected. We also had to make sure that any broken glass was cleared up so that the site was safe. Anyway, hope this didn't spoil things for you.

Simple. Victory from the jaws of defeat. No fuss. No blame. Which means that there is now someone who will continue to buy the smoothies.

Why can't more brands be this straightforward and humble?


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