Some just don’t buy organic food. They usually claim the reason to be the price. I respect that, most of us has a budget to stick to. But my personal experience from years of retail marketing tells me something else. Special price or discounts do not affect sales of ethically produced food at all. On the contrary, the sales often decrease during a sales activating campaign. I thought I had found something revolutionary but then I realized that was not the case. At all. This has been well-known to the Catholic Church since they started off.

Martin Luther, contrary to popular Swedish thinking, was a pretty bold gentleman who was fond of the good in life – wine, his woman and music. His main issue was more focused on the fact that the rich could buy themselves free from sin. What he pointed out was the Catholic Church’s trade in letter of indulgence. However, that behavior did not disappear with the birth of the Lutheran Church, it just moved to another market. Our willingness to buy us a clear conscience is what drives the growth in grocery stores.

In most human cultures the apocalypse is imminent (except in the middle of a flaming war). Our fear of dying govern our lives in everything we do (especially when we challenge that fear). In the 14th century almost everyone believed that the Black Death was the Lord’s punishment for the way we lived at the time, today the climate change is Mother Earth’s punishment for our current way of life. And just as then, we buy us free from sin. Those letters of indulgence has been replaced with carbon offsetting, organic food, and various forms of ethic labelling (even though none of these action actually help Mother Earth with the rising temperature).

The point is to afford to take action. Being the one saying to oneself and others – “I buy organic as much as I can get my hands on it.” Or “I always choose local produce” or “I always tick that box for carbon offsetting when buying air line tickets.” Without our pack to reflect us, stand out from or be similar to … we do not exist. And not to exist, is the worst thing that can happen to us. This also explains why some people consistently reject organically grown vegetables, wine or meat even though they can afford it. Everyone wants to be special but still be part of the crowd.

Thus, it is currently quite pointless to put a special price or discount on organic, locally grown, fair trade and other excellent initiatives. The bargain takes away the whole point – to buy me free from sin. The letters of indulgence, crusades and church-building did not come cheap for the donors and that is what made them feel good. It is the same thing with organic, local, fair trade, et cetera. If it doesn’t dig a little whole in your wallet, it doesn’t build you up inside.

A good conscience never come cheap. The pope has known this forever.

I have been quite critical over the path that Volvo took for their brand. The premium performance path was just not just open in my mind. I wasn’t alone. Without any doubt H√•kan Samuelsson has directed tho whole organization to an empty spot in the car buyers mind,¬†the smart premium car. The new XC90 has a quite classic Volvo design and was launched with only four cylinder engines. Even though I believe BMW has lower ecological footprint while building their cars and their engines are probably “cleaner” than Volvo’s, perception is almost averting as it comes to brand equity. Volvo probably has more cylinders up their sleeves – but still. A luxury SUV with an friendly attitude towards the environment and people. Yes, that will work..

A short business trip to Strasbourg made me take a flight to Frankfurt. At the train station at the airport I got to see this campaign for a hotel booking portal called HRS. The size of these ads where impossible to miss, just at the photo on the ad as well.

This ad would have been impossible to even think of in Sweden. Obviously it wasn’t that hard in Germany. Now I won’t go into a debate of moral or obvious difference in culture. Nor will I go down the good or bad lane. Ad serves a purpose – to increase sales for the client company. In short and long term. The long term thinking usually ends up under the headline “brand”.¬†I can see how the agency and client came to this conclusion of the campaign.

1. Probably most users of the website are men.

2. Men are (still) most frequent on airports since they do (still) do most of the business travelling.

3. Most men like blond women with big knockers, fake or natural usually doesn’t matter.

- “So. Let’s make an ad with a lightly dressed women with big knockers telling that she is using our site”

(Applause).

Actually…taken moral aside – it makes all sense. But how will pictures like this affect the brand?

…well even though the model grabs my attention I can’t help thinking that the hotels on this site is of an certain character. Can you? It helps awareness…but how about knowledge and preferences? And likability? I can”t help thinking the hotels in this site is of an certain character. But that’s me…and my moral. Even though the model obviously grabs my attention.

For something like 2000 years
ago Jesus from Nazarath was born. According to the same legend,
captured in something called a Holy Book, it is also said that it
happened on the 25 December. Now…the calendars of that time
wasn’t razor sharp. Let’s say it happened on the shortest day of
the year. That was a lucky coincidence…or maybe not. To celebrate
the longest night of the year cannot been a thing invented by priests. It must
have been going on forever. To convert ordinary people to
Christianity that celebration had to be kept. Otherwise the masses
just wouldn’t enter the Holy Church. Just as moving the fiesta into
the Holy Materialism using poor old St Claus. In this
transformation Swedes plays a role. Long before Pere Noêl (Father
Christmas, Santa) entered Sweden together with Jesus, we had mean
little bastards called “tomtar” here in Sweden. If we didn’t leave
some food for them during the longest night of the year they caused
hell.

Santa Claus got named
“tomtefar” in Sweden, which means that he’s supposed to be father
of the mean little bastards we call “tomtar”. By that Santa got
painted red by graphic artists in Sweden. 1931 the Swedish designer
Haddon Sundblom painted Santa Claus for a advertising campaign for
Coca-Cola. It is said that this is the first time the western world
gets to see Santa. The ambition was to increase sales for the Holy
Water of our time. It sure did. Shortly after that the Coca-Cola
label turned red. The success was a fact.

Two thousands years from now

we might have another religion. Hopefully one. But if it’s gonna
work, history has teached us that it has to include Christmas.
Please keep in mind that Christmas in its past or present shape is
not planned. Christmas happens because we want it to. I wish you
all – friends, family, partners, clients, followers and Nerved
fans- a merry one. The next year will be exciting, that is the only
thing I can tell you for the moment. Many confidential things are
on the move. And hopefully more posts on this blog. Now enjoy these
last days of the western year in a proper way. In peace and with
love. See you next year.

If not. You need to make it become that.

Yesterday Nokia and Intel released their new operative system for smartphones. They have realized, after three years of iPhone invasion, that’s where the future profit resides. But this is not my point, my point is the name of their new holy graal.

MeeGo.

Similar to something perhaps? iPhone, iMac, iTunes, iPad, iPhoto,i…osv

A crucial part in building your brand is integrity – to stand your ground. Instead Nokia and Intel did the opposite and are now saying

- It’s like Apple, but from Nokia. Look here people, we are in the same league now!

But that only point them out as #2 – the follower. Studies and surveys are good, but hey…sometimes you need to show some initiative and integrity. I know I preach that a brand is what they say it is. But they only react on your actions, so be careful with what you send out in the first place.

For example never copy your competitors.