Oct 26, 2011

Exotica relationship maintenance session: D.I.S.A.S.T.E.R.

With the "re-release" of the "when was the last time you gave her flowers" campaign, originally done (insert exaggeration here :P) years ago, Exotica and their advertising agency decided to back up the outdoor presence by a radio sponsorship on RadioOne.
Hence, the "Exotica relationship maintenance session" was introduced, a live competition on the airwaves of RadioOne.
The rules are simple: girls call live on air, and tell the hosts how their boyfriends have been neglecting them. Hosts then call the guys and make them feel guilty, to then offer them a $50 gift voucher from Exotica, that would help mend the broken heart (right!).

And boy!! It's a disaster. I've been listening for the past 2 weeks now, and there has been barely 5 callers. The competition starts, and both hosts almost beg girls to call. Rarely does someone call and when that happens, here's the typical scenario:

  1. Girl calls (can barely speak English), does not get the concept of the competition till after a 5 minute thorough explanation.
  2. Girl realizes her case is not relevant: "he's very nice and kind to me" (I'm quoting what 90% of girls said so far).
  3. RadioOne hosts try depicting any negative detail in the relationship, to go on with the competition.
  4. Girl agrees (WTH!).
  5. Boyfriend is called: No answer! or he's in class/at work! or answers, does not get a thing of what they're talking about, then furiously hangs up!

Trust me, I am NOT exaggerating!

I think all this comes down to the absence of (or inaccuracy in) the local market study and understanding. Think about it: our habits, ethics, behaviors, norms, etc (whether we like it or not) are not aligned with the concept of the competition. This would have worked perfectly on the airwaves of NRJ in Europe or North America, but not in Lebanon. Here, girls are too embarrassed to talk about a problem, and guys would never jeopardize their ego live on air!

I like Exotica's campaigns, I really do. But when it flops, it's hitting ground zero! One of the most important ingredients of an ongoing successful communication and client satisfaction is consistency! Something Exotica did not accomplish yet.

Agree? Not? I'd love to know :)