How NOT to advertise in 2016
Interested in marketing? Have a passing interest in mass advertising?
Let Gourmet Burger Kitchen demonstrate how NOT to run an advertising campaign in 2016:
- Firstly, spend several years building up a small but not insignificant niche following of vegetarians by developing an inclusive menu with clear labelling on all your meat free options.
- Then push yourself to be one of the only restaurant chains to include extensive vegan beer and wine listings on your menu, thus opening yourself up to one of the fastest growing consumer groups in the country.
- Finally, release a staggeringly ill-conceived series of billboard adverts ridiculing individuals who choose not to eat animal flesh. Make these potential customers feel stupid and out of touch. Let them know their compassionate choices mean nothing to you or your business.
- If you still have energy left, apologise and say it was all a silly joke that went wrong.
- End of lesson.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen is surely learning an expensive lesson that will stick with them a long, long time. Vegetarians and vegans possess undisputed buying power that can seriously affect the financial wellbeing of a food business.
Who do they think holds the balance of power when a group of friends, family members or work colleagues go out for a meal? Yep, the people who won’t just eat whatever is shoved in front of them. The people who have special requests make a lot of decisions when it comes to group dining.
Take my partner Josh for instance.
Josh was working in a central London office with approximately 30 people, including 3 vegans. Every time a staff social event was planned, an email was sent to the vegans with a few restaurants or catering suggestions in order for them to say yes or no.
It was that simple. If the vegans didn’t feel comfortable with the suggestion, the staff party wouldn’t be held there.
You don’t have to be a genius to see how this translates into lost income, but I wanna expand because I like the sound of my own keyboard.
Imagine if 30 people were readying for an office meal and Gourmet Burger Kitchen was suggested. Josh and his vegan comrades would send an email back to the social secretary saying, “No thanks.”
I’m not sure what the average spend per diner is at GBK but let’s say it is a conservative £15. Now multiply the 30 missing guests by the spend per head to reach lost income of £450, which I would say is on the very low end of what a party of that size would spend.
When we start to think of all the vegans and vegetarians around the country who were outraged by those billboards, we can start to see the huge financial blow this could have on the burger chain.
A group of friends want to catch up over snacks and a couple of beers? The vegan says no to GBK, instantly costing the company £80. When my friend asks me where he can take me for a bottle of wine to catch up when he is in the UK, I think of all the vegan options at GBK but then opt for another bar when I remember the billboards that made fun of my compassionate choices. We would have spent at least £50 on wine.
And so on.
These figures might not sound like much as stand alone loses, but you add up every single time a vegan or vegetarian gets to navigate their group away from GBK and you are potentially looking at millions of pounds in lost takings across a year.
If I tell my friends enough times that a restaurant was disrespectful to me as a customer, it starts to sink in and inform their choices even when I’m not eating with them. Imagine this on a scale of a hundred thousand customers repeatedly telling their friends that a food chain made fun of them and their choices.
This knock-on effect of lost trade and decline in brand identity is nothing short of a PR disaster for the burger chain. Not only do they stand to lose money, but also the goodwill of a huge swathe of consumers and that is a lot tougher to win back.
So, there you have it people. How NOT to run an advertising campaign in 2016.
Hope you enjoyed.
Let @gbkburgers know this advert is antagonistic & in poor taste; esp when they could be promoting their veg options pic.twitter.com/pwaXTZwLjg
— Jhenn (@TheVeganRonin) January 16, 2016
This would be funny if it wasn’t so depressing!