We all know, and for the most part accept, that marketing and advertising play a very large part of the world we live in. They are omnipresent, and as such it becomes easy to tune out, to not see them. And so marketing companies adopt ever more aggressive, offensive, or bizarre methods of getting your attention and getting their message across.
However lately I feel that a line has been crossed. I find myself consciously rebelling against and rejecting companies I feel have impinged just a little bit too much upon my convenience.
TRUenergy is one prime example. For those readers who are not familiar with the company, it is a gas and electricity retailer, and that is all. Nothing fancy or unusual. In recent months they have been campaigning in my area for new customers, and as part of that I’ve had multiple door-to-door sales people visit me. That, in itself, is not a problem. I’ve been a door-to-door sales person myself, it’s just one of the many jobs you take to get you by. However, when those people begin to either outright lie or subtly mislead their clientèle, a line has most definitely been crossed.
“I’m from your gas company,” says the young man standing at my door. “I’m here to tell you about some great new deals we’ve got.”
It takes several attempts and repetitions of “Exactly which company are you from?” to elicit from him that he is from TRUenergy, which is not a good start. I then assert, correctly, that TRUenergy is not my current gas retailer. “No no,” he insists, “We cover all of this area.” So now, at best I am being mislead, and at worst I am being insulted and called stupid, as if I do not know who I pay my bills to. On one occasion, I was even told that TRUenergy actually own the company I am with, which is blatantly untrue.
The idea behind it all, naturally, is to convince you that even though his company name is different from the one currently billing you, “Nothing will change, you will just get this new deal.” Insofar as I will still have gas connected to my home, that is true. But, lacking any actual problems with my current gas retailer, I have no incentive to change, particularly not to a company who have just tried to trick me into doing so. It would involve the provision of all of my details, setting up new billers in my netbanking environment, and very probably entering into a twelve or twenty-four month contract. All that, for very little noticeable benefit, to be the customer of a company with questionable morals. I’m quite happy with the company who leave me alone, thank you.
In short, TRUenergy’s tactics have actively put me off ever choosing to go with that company, regardless of rates or deals.
My next target is Emirates, who are currently trying to convince me (via theage.com.au) to fly to New Zealand. That’s all well and good, and their sidebar advertisement is fine. However, should I let my mouse cursor hover over said ad, it expands and pops out over the article I am attempting to read. There is a close button, however mis-timing the click can result in being taken to the Emirates website instead of closing the pop-out. And, once closed, it does not stay closed; it will pop out again next time my mouse inadvertently strays to that side of the page. How annoying. I wasn’t looking at flying any time soon, but should I consider it, Emirates will be low on the list of options.
Next! ANZ! A bank, what an easy target in these times of economic hardship! ANZ recently had a campaign going which is now finished and I still have no idea what they were on about. In the TV ad, a supposed ANZ representative presented an award of some sort to the wrong person, which just makes me think they’re incompetent. Their internet-based advertising was another of the “pop up and take up the entire screen, blocking out what you’re trying to see” variety, which I find frustrating at the best of times. It is only made worse by the lack of coherent message or any useful information.
My very last gripe for the day is one which I have blogged about before. That specific blog deals with an ad for a Ford Fiesta Zetec, and the complete lack of meaning in their catchphrase “Life’s better connnected.” However similar senseless, meaningless advertisements crop up all the time, everywhere, and it irritates me. Tell me something about your product, something useful, something I may actually want to know if considering a purchase – such as price, accessibility, appropriateness for my circumstances. Telling me that life is better connected (than what?) is a sure-fire way to make me wrinkle my forehead in confusion and immediately forget your product.
Thank you, that is all.