Monday, July 7, 2008

God - who dat?

Admittedly this is The Curio from Easter time but we wanted to post them all up in one place and this seemed appropriate so apologies for the rear view mirror.

After the Easter season we all felt we were left with our bellies full of chocolate and left over hot cross buns in the freezer, but it got us all thinking about where religion fits into it all. Have brands started to fill some of that space we used to allocated to faith? And with brands jostling to be a bigger part of our day to day lives, which are gaining our trust and creating a following?

According to the ABS, there are 185,000 less practicing Christians and related denominations in Australia since the 1996 census. Currently, 3.7M Australians say they have no religion. That’s an increase of 750,000 people over the last 10 years taking their faith elsewhere.

Approximately $4.8M was spent in media by church organisations in 2007…the biggest spenders were the Anglicans followed by Hillsong. Their preferred channels…DM, TV and of course, billboards.

Credited with creating a ‘confessional’ form of media communication, Oprah has been spiritually educating huge audiences for years. A brand in her own right, Oprah has developed a following big enough to rival the total number of religious followers in Australia. Devotees tune in every day, buy her magazine and favourite books. Her most recent book club recommendation has been brought to life, with the help of spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle. Together they’re offering formal, spiritual instruction via a free weekly online download. 700,000 registered to receive the first lesson in ‘A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purposes’ this month. Kathryn Lofton, a professor of religious studies at Indiana University who is working on a book about Oprah as a religious icon says; "The only limit to your religious choices is your imagination, and your sense of loyalty to a particular brand.“ I guess this is how we’re seeing religions more and more…as brands!

So which brands do we trust and why do they occupy that special place in our hearts?

1. Cadbury 11. Streets
2. Panadol 12. Dairy Farmers
3. Band Aid 13. Bunnings
4. Colgate 14. Arnott’s
5. Sony 15. Peters
6. Nokia 16. Gillette
7. Canon 17. Elastoplast
8. Nestle 18. Johnson’s Baby
9. Kellogg’s 19. Kraft

10.Qantas 20. Sanitarium

The Aus Centre for Retail Studies Director, Steve Ogden-Barnes asks “Can you be loyal to a brand you don’t trust? I don’t think so.” The more trusted a brand is, the more likely you are to buy that product. For the top-ranked brand Cadbury, a massive 48% of respondents in the Reader’s Digest survey, said they would always buy that brand.

Look at which well known Aussies are the most trusted:

One of the reasons we want to trust brands is simply because it makes life easier. 80% of Australians say its safer to choose well known brands and 71% think brands are useful because it helps them to judge quality and value. According to Roy Morgan 47.5% of people trust well known brands, which is up 3% since 2001. Nice to think we’re helping people out!

When Radiohead released their latest album online, they gave consumers the power to choose how much they would pay for it, essentially putting their trust in the hands of fans to do the right thing. Prices varied from zero to 100 pounds (the latter probably from their PR manager). The band’s manager Bryce Edge said "We're prepared to take a risk and we might come out looking very foolish. But we believe if your music is great, then people will pay for it." Now that’s what we call faith!

A group of devout Christians in the Philippines are trying the quick way to god by live crucifixion. The “Kristos” are nailed to a cross, Jesus style, and hung up for 5 minutes. Post crucifixion, they can quench their holy thirst thanks to Coke and Pepsi, who have set up stalls at the site. Another case of these big brands going where the people are. So what about bringing people to your brand? Here’s a couple of cases to how it has worked and hasn’t!


VW wanted to reclaim their position as ‘The People’s Car’. They created a character that typified most Germans, Horst Schlammer, and send him on an 8 week quest to become a licensed driver. The online campaign began without mention of VW but the association became more apparent as Horst favoured the VW Golf. His popularity grew with videos spreading virally and visits to his blog exceeding all expectations. With more than 4.7M video downloads, Horst became a celebrity and provided 90,000 qualified leads for VW making it Germany’s most successful DM campaign ever. Consumers didn’t seem to mind that a car brand was behind Horst. The campaign had built enough value through its entertaining content for consumers to want to spend time with as well as share with others.

It could just be “teaser fatigue” , but it seems Coke went about starting a movement the wrong way. The teaser campaign for Coke Zero began with un-branded street posters asking consumers to visit a blog to discuss topics such as: Why can’t every weekend be long? and perhaps where things went wrong, Why can’t you have the real thing with Zero Sugar? Once the teaser was discovered to be the work of Coca-Cola an angry online community responded branding the idea an intrusion and dishonest.

Check out the Coke Zero damage on:

No comments: