How Road Runner “neep neep” is relevant to current advertising and customer experience!!

In my latest one for the weekend pieces let’s think about Acme and how Roadrunner is relevant to todays advertising and customer experience worlds…..In the modern world of advertising where so much is about how something looks and not about whether it is actually truly representative of the real customer experience of the product or service I go back to the days of Warners Bros and Road Runner  – those of you old enough to recall will remember that there was always a way out of a sticky situation you just pulled out the right Acme product and hey presto you were in business!!  The key to the success was that whatever it said on the packet was what you got so …if it said dehydrated boulder just add water that is what you did and boom you had a boulder.

Todays customers are increasingly cynical about the way that advertising’s gone and rightly so – too many are so esoteric they are more art than substance, take a look at some the ads you see over the next few days and ask yourself if they are really advertising reality or an ‘(m)adman’ parallel universe, then ask if the adverts are intended to drive trial or reinforce positive reasons why you already use the product or service where is the return on investment??? The old adage that the problem with advertising is that 50% of it works and 50% doesn’t work we just don’t know which 50% so we just keep doing ‘it’ …could be solved we know that advertising an experience that you can’t deliver is the wrong 50% 😉


Experience is about expectation and all the senses…here is a spectacular fail…

I was sat in a bar on the corner of the Southbank in London – a very expensive area for real estate and any bar or restaurant along the bank is typically higher end.  The result is that you already have an elevated expectation about the experience and of course the service component.

So we arrived as a group of six and headed to the front area outside, to be met by a “Maitre D” who asked if we were eating mains we said no but would be having drinks and may eat later.  He then said “you can’t sit here” – even thought there was lots of space “you can sit down the side of the restaurant in the outside area go and pull some tables together”.  So we couldn’t sit where we wanted and we then had to do the table organisation ourselves…so much for customer effort!!

Having done our own bar work and arranged the tables I was amazed to see that the tables were all adorned with fake plastic plants – they looked and felt v unappealing and were so not in keeping with the expectation – this was definitely a case of nothing would have been better the last time plastic flowers were in fashion was 3o years ago and I don’t see them making a comeback any time soon. Finally the tables they were using ‘down the side’ were metal fold out, cheap ones where each time someone leant on there side it tipped all the drinks their way!!

So great location terrible service and some ridiculous furniture and props.

The sad part about it was that as the early evening rush started the place filled up and of course if it is taking money there is never any incentive to resolve these problems…just like in any large Corporate 😉


Something for the weekend….the world going ever stranger…

I was waiting for a train yesterday and came across this stuck onto the window of the platform cafe.  Now I am sure that the person who originated this was very proud of their work – and I am also convinced (NOT) that all of us would early love to steal this piece of art but even given that I don’t think the note in the bottom left corner needs to exist….seriously who thought this was a required addition to sticker.  The world is full of processes and people who come up with and monitor these complete wastes of time….made me laugh out loud though os maybe there is a point after all  😉

p.s. if you can’t read it  – it says “This sticker remains the property of the Local Authority”



Feedback is a gift – here is a new look to the “happy sheet” or maybe “unhappy” from Hilton!

I was in a hotel near Heathrow airport for a meeting over coffee and a sandwich and when I asked for the bill the waitress brought the bill and a feedback form.  This was the first time I have seen a major hotel chain put together a customer feedback form in this way…it is certainly different with this very casual use of language…”I washed my food down with..” or “I really enjoyed your…”.

This is all about tone of voice and the emotional connection that you can make thought the use of language and phraseology  That said this is really about collecting data from customers and clearly the team behind this felt that the language would attract more respondents.  So my approach to collecting data is don’t collect it unless you are going to use it – I am not sure how me telling the hotel “what I washed my food down with” is going to improve the future experience or actually ever be put to any meaningful use by the hotel???  And of course all they had to do was look at my bill using the EPOS system if they really wanted to know this why did they need to ask me???

Bearing in mind that this was handed to me by the waitress and I was expected to hand it back to her – being cynical a quick glance at the answers and some feedback might find its way into the bin.

The bigger surprise was that this was in a Hilton hotel and I was struggling to reconcile the language with the brand – but I have to say that this does align with my constant challenge to brands to “think differently” if this was part of a shift for the brand to a more approachable, fun experience then it would be a good step in terms of language at least but I have seen no evidence of this approach filtering into any of my other Hilton experiences.  The result is that it still jars I was presented with quite a long form full of seemingly random and irrelevant questions – the result was I didn’t fill it in not least because I was just about to leave and this would have taken a few minutes to complete.

Sometimes you need to think differently and then ask the questions do we need this, what will we do as a result or does this work for our brand positioning and if not then forget it!!