|Over a period
of five months, The Dijoinnaise Talk Shop (www.dijoinnaise.com), an online bulletin board focused on the discussion of the
mustard-mayonnaise condiment Dijoinnaise has collected a total of 23 outside messages.
That number averages to a little over one message per week. Why so little discussion about
BECAUSE NOBODY WANTS TO TALK
ABOUT MAYONNAISE EITHER!
Seems easy enough? You didnt need me to tell you that now did
you? Well, believe it or not, there are many companies with far too much disposable income
that simply refuse to accept the basic fact that a persons interest in a consumer
product like Dijoinnaise that has zero learning curve ends with consumption.
Sandwich good, no more data needed. Time to move on. Good luck
trying to convince the brand managers at Mustard, Inc. Theyre not stupid.
Theyve read an Internet article in Newsweek without moving their lips. They
know that a web presence is necessary for them to survive in our new information economy.
Could all this "Next Generation" media hype cloud a brand managers ability
to conduct basic market research on his or her own product? If nobody wanted information
about it before the proliferation of the web, what makes them think they want it now?
Open your desk, fridge, medicine or liquor cabinet and take note.
Chances are youve heard of all the products mentioned in this article. Probably used
most of them. But Im making an educated guess that youve never visited their
web sites. You know who visits the Pilot Pen web site? Pilot Pen employees and their
families. Whats the point? Theyre already getting free samples.
Recognition Factor is Not Reason Enough
When it comes to achieving an Internet presence ego rules an
advertisers judgment. Watch as Net mania causes a successful businessperson to
completely dismiss basic marketing rationale.
No Internet Skills Needed
If to be able to intelligently advertise on TV you must know and watch it, how come
Internet use and knowledge is not a prerequisite for Internet advertising?
The Irresponsibility Scale
Advertisers spending is based on finding the most cost efficient
way to reach an audience. If the Dijoinnaise site reaches five people a month in its
discussion group and averages a cost of sixty thousand dollars a year, then thats
only costing them a mere thousand dollars per person. Makes the Super Bowl look like a
bargain. But in the advertisers defense, their research shows that those five people
are really heavy mustard users.
Who Cares What the Customers Want
According to a recent Gartner Group report, 90 percent of organizations
surveyed created their company Web sites without ever consulting their customers as to
what theyd like to see on those sites.
Animation is Not a Draw
Although every successful website is based on usefulness and not
trendiness, every consumer product web site still showcases flashy and pointless
Shockwave and Java applets. In 1997, even online, Pong isnt going to hold
Not Everybody Needs to Be on the
Message to corporate execs of consumer products: try to keep your
work and the product youre selling in perspective. To you, soap is responsible for
supplying you with a house, car, and food on the table. To the rest of us, it keeps us
Cant handle the call volume on the Crest 1-800 question and
comment line? Dont expect a Crest web site to alleviate the pressure. You can safely
assume that anyone who needs to be talked through the process of where to squeeze a tube
of toothpaste is not going to be a core Internet user.
Cmon Dad, Everybody Else is Doing It
The corporate peer pressure has hit its breaking point. Although
theres no rationale beyond "everybody else is doing it," corporations are
forcing themselves to create a "web presence" even though they foresee no return
on their investment. Dont they realize that there are 12-year-old kids developing
web sites that cost nothing yet attract more traffic than their corporate web site?
Internet mania has transformed grown adults into immature children. Its as if
theyve fallen into some body switching Freaky Friday movie.
How to write your own Internet article:
- Pull any news story about the hysteria of last years Christmas
gift buying season.
- Load it into your computer.
- Issue the find and replace command and change any mention of
"Tickle Me Elmo" to "web site."
Prior to being your illustrious "Tek Freak," I used to
work at an advertising agency and happen to be privy to the early development of two of
the sites mentioned in this column. Whats amazing about being around a group of
advertising execs is that since theyre all so obsessed with stroking each other
egos, nobodys willing to stand up and say, "Hey, youre all so
unbelievably wrong!" Im ashamed to say I was one of those people. Luckily for
my fellow Axcess readers, I changed.
A Zima FAQ that disturbingly misses the most commonly asked Zima
question: "How come drinking is supposed to be cool, yet Zima isnt?"
Click the Zima banner and theres a warning that states that
you cant drink Zima unless youre 21. Im not sure if thats a legal
disclaimer or just simply good advice. Still, Im dying to meet the person who first
learns about the legal drinking age from the Zima web site.
Open the fridge to download sounds, icons and two whole images.
Im not a Zima drinker, but if I were I think my relationship with that mildly
alcoholic ginger ale would end with my trip to the mens room.
The Cuervo Gold online bulletin board has an authorization process
that can be bypassed simply by hitting Cancel. Might want to think twice before
hiring their web developers to design your secure (?) e-commerce web site.
The Republic of Cuervo Gold
Just a little trick the web developers like to play on their alcoholic
consumers by making them think there is such a country.
Played the J.C. Roadhog low brain usage video game and my score made
the top 10 list. Hurry, theres room for just nine more.
Learn how to do body shots off your partners stomach - lick,
salt, lick, shoot, and then bite the lime. And for those of you about to shampoo your hair
- lather, rinse, repeat.
Find the Vidal Sassoon Salon closest to you. Designed for those
people who never learned the alphabet and cant afford a free copy of the Yellow
Check out Styles and Trends to see four photos of new
hairstyles. That variation can also be accomplished by looking around your office or
poking your head out the window.
Get hair tips from Paul in "This Weeks Secret."
Someone might want to explain to Paul that a week lasts only seven days, not indefinitely.
Im assuming theres plenty more to come due to the
proliferation of "Under Construction" signs. Cross your fingers.
Answers all your deodorant related questions except, "How come
the people in my office refuse to use it?"
The Old Spice Challenge
Wipe that stick under your arm and get ready for adventure. Unaware
that there are already over 20,000 electronic newsgroups on subjects far more interesting
than deodorant, Old Spice wants you to share your armpit stories of adventure with the
rest of the world. If you find yourself relating "personal deodorant challenges"
with fellow Old Spice users maybe its time to seek some professional help.
Do you consider a story of some guy biking down a mountain a
"challenge or a sure thing?" This question is Old Spices answer to an
Schick knows its market. Why go to nba.com when Schicks web
sites got unaccredited NBA rookie coverage?
Learn all about Schicks products, or just go to the drug store
and buy it.
Ralph Lauren Fragrances (www.ralphlaurenfragrance.com)
an episodic web soap. Mr. Lauren is obviously not aware that "The
Spot" filed chapter 11.
Odorless live chat
If you can send video and sound electronically, how come you cant
Couldnt find the answer to the most commonly asked question,
"Whos the prick that came up with the name?"
The Smuckers Jelly Quiz
The only test youll ever take that you dont care if you
Understanding that the average pen consumers life is void of
advertisements, Pilot execs thought their users would be eager to spend six minutes
downloading a 1 megabyte 30 second Pilot Pen commercial. How thoughtful.
Home of the only online slot machine in America where its
impossible to lose.
The FAPQ (Frequently Asked Pen Questions) answers the question,
"How do I operate my Vanishing Point Pen?" Which begs the next question,
"If youre able to get connected online, how come you cant figure out how
to operate a pen?" Still searching for answers to "Who keeps chewing all my
pens?" and "How come I keep losing all my pens?"
Whats the point? In cyberspace nobody can smell your breath.
© 1997, David Spark