Wednesday, April 05, 2006

When Marketing Goes Wrong

Progress in Store

I always chuckle when I see expensive Marketing gone wrong. Above is a photograph of the Wimbledon branch of the HSBC. You can just about make out the red strip running along the bottom of their windows. The slogan reads ‘Progress in Store’ and is followed by two triangles which I think are designed to look like a ‘Fast Forward’ symbol and imply the corporate logo.

However, the first time I saw this slogan, I immediately thought they were arrows pointing me towards the shop next door (Coffee Republic) where, presumably, progress had taken place.

Around the corner (out of shot) the advertising is pointing you towards the door of the branch and so, from that side, it works fine, but walking along the pavement in the photo (as I do regularly to get to the station) I am constantly reminded that there is progress in store at Coffee Republic.

As I said, the HSBC marketeers probably intend the double-triangle to imply ‘Fast Forward’ progress and so turning them around to point to the door from both sides would mean ‘Rewind’ or going backwards from this angle but I think probably better that (or no strip at all on this side of the branch!) than to point people away from your business.

Modern advertising is a subtle and fickle thing. Now that I’ve thought about it, I know what they wanted to evoke in my head, but by the time I’d thought about it, it was too late; my initial thought stuck and lodged somewhere, deep in my subconscious, is the impression that the coffee shop has improved somehow and HSBC is no better or worse than it ever was.

I wonder how much it cost HSBC to advertise Coffee Republic (and the host of other stores located to the right of HSBC branches) to me…?


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