Category Archives: PEST


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Flavour of the month

This year, the hey-be-cool food and beverages trend in Germany has to have been elderberry. It actually got underway in 2012, if not earlier, but in 2013 I think the product life cycle really gathered momentum. Holunder – German for elderberry/elderflower – first caught a wider audience’s imagination in trendy bars with a drink called Hugo, a sparkling wine or … Continue reading


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Customer language

The Postbank, linked to Deutsche Post, has obviously worked out that it has non-native speakers of German using its ATMs (cashpoints). Especially at this time of year, there could be quite a lot of visitors to Germany thinking of withdrawing cash. So to help people who don’t speak German navigate their way through the machines, they now have a message … Continue reading


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o2 can’t do?

When the laws in Germany changed and for the first time it was permitted to carry out comparative advertising, the carmakers in particular were quick to jump on the bandwagon. I captured a whole series of ads at the time as BMW battled it out with Mercedes. Earlier this year, I witnessed some aggressive ads in the telecommunications sector, but … Continue reading


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Drinks are drinks, no bull

Many markets are made terribly complicated by government legislation and restrictions that, to marketing people, do nothing but make life difficult. But the P for political/legal in the PEST model won’t go away, so you have to decide whether to go with the flow or do something about it. Two stories that have recently caught my attention are typical of … Continue reading


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Whatever next

I’ve recently had two bizarre products pointed out to me. Both leave me shaking my head in disbelief. The first is the e-cigarette. Yes, you heard it here, the cigarette that isn’t actually a ciggie, it’s an electronic device pretending to be a ciggie. As they say on some of their sales materials, totally in keeping with experiential marketing, this … Continue reading


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Who do they think I am?

Modern marketing is keen to embrace customisation, especially online. With an increasing number of tools to track the surfing habits of users, work out where they are, and work out what interests them, marketeers are exploring whole new avenues of “match the message to the audience”. This is all part of one-to-one marketing: tailoring the message to the identified audience, … Continue reading


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Are Web 2.0 customers always right?

Two recent examples of how listening to the much revered customer does not always go right – especially if they take over your marketing for you! And using Web 2.0 and inviting online junkies to define tactics …? We’ll start in Australia. The Land of Plenty. This includes Vegemite, a yeast extract similar to (but definitely not the same as!) … Continue reading


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Unbent bananas and curvy cucumbers

What do the following have in common: onions, apricots, Brussels sprouts, watermelons and cauliflowers? Since 1 July 2009 they’re on the list of 26 items that can be marketed in Europe with knobs, bumps and curves. The money-wasting regulations that classed cucumbers with a bend of 10mm per 10cm of length differently from cucumbers with twice as much bend have … Continue reading


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Books navigate new waters

Pons, which English dictionary users will know more as Collins, has finally taken the plunge and not only gone online, they’re openly advertising the fact. This will have been a tough decision for a company that sees itself as a seller of books. In strategic terms it represents a small but potentially far-reaching step into product development (bottom left box … Continue reading


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Always read the small print

There are strange laws and legal obligations in every country. In England banks promoting mortgages have to warn you that your house may be at risk if you fail to keep up payments. In many countries medical companies have to warn you about the possible side effects, in Germany with “Ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible risks and side … Continue reading


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Selling the sales to Germans

Changes in the law often present marketing departments with unexpected headaches. Now that the bizarre German law relating to “Kaufzwang” (purchase obligation) has disappeared, German retailers can have sales whenever they want (as long as the goods on offer are genuinely reduced). This is nothing new in many other countries, but in a country that was only allowed to rush … Continue reading