Crumbs, free publicity

A golden opportunity

A golden opportunity

Bahlsen – once only a German brand but in the meantime tapping into international markets after making it to No1 here – got a lot of free publicity earlier this year when its famous golden biscuit, which had hung over the street near its offices, was kidnapped and held to ransom by mysterious cookie monsters.

Only recently it emerged why the company failed to capitalise on what has to be a golden opportunity to milk the publicity on this puerile prank. According to The Local e-zine, the Chairman hated what happened and when his marketing johnnies did what he pays them to do – come up with good ways to create publicity – he told them to stop it. Doh.

I can only shake my head with disbelief. Mr Bahlsen obviously worships his family asset so much he doesn’t know an ideal opportunity when he sees one stuffed down his biscuit tin. If I’d been at Bahlsen and faced that sort of reaction I’d have walked out and asked him what he needs marketing people for in the first place.

Organising guerrilla marketing (or “stunts” in old marketing speak) is difficult. Getting a strong media reaction is also difficult (see Santa example). Getting people to like your stunt even more difficult (see Tamaris in Germany example). So when something causes as much amusement as this and such positive vibes, you should ride the wave while you can.

But he’s the chairman. Sadly, it reminds me of many stories I’ve heard here over the years of the way family-run businesses operate! I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

Alex Woodruff

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