Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Batteries not included

Can you feel the excitement building, that buzz, that thrill, that magic tingle? Not long to go now. Almost there. That’s right – it’ll soon be Christmas. And if you haven't bought all your presents yet and are still struggling for ideas, then this one's for you.

As any smooth-talking advertising executive will persuasively tell you, the best form of product promotion is word of mouth. In these increasingly media-savvy times, it's too easy for canny punters to see paid-for ads for what they are; paid-for ads. Potential customers are more likely to trust a recommendation from someone who doesn’t have a vested financial interest in the product. Advertisers know the value of a thumbs-up from a genuinely happy consumer. It’s real. It’s hard to successfully imitate or fake. It’s got integrity. It’s good for business.

Here's a textbook example of the sort of product endorsement a satisfied user can provide. It appears on a lamppost on Pilrig Street in Edinburgh. It’s street-level word-of-mouth advertising at its finest.

Disappointingly for the manufacturer, in their eagerness to tell the world and share their message, the graffitist has forgotten to include a brand name for interested passers-by to take note of and track down. Or maybe that was the intention all along – perhaps the writer is praising the basic concept of the product and wants individual shoppers to make their own decision as to which make/model to buy. That’s consumer power for you.

If you’ve spent hour and after hour traipsing up and down the high street and round and round shopping centres, trying in vain to find a suitable gift for your hard-to-please partner, sister, mum or nan, this could be the perfect present you've been seeking. It might be just what they’ve always wanted. And, like a lovely little puppy, it's not just for Christmas. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

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