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How to hate Nivea

15. 04. 2009.

Nivea is probably one of the more “friendly” brands out there. Various products in various shades of blue, projecting an image of healthy, friendly, non-aggressive cosmetics. And then apparently they decided that friendly wasn’t working, and they needed to “up the ante”, as Americans would say.

I was sitting at home one night watching ol’ Cronkite on the seven o’ clock news… Just kidding 🙂

ol' Cronkite on vinyl

ol' Cronkite on vinyl

I remember Cronkite from my teenage years in NYC but that’s a whole different story. Anyway I was sitting at home 2 days ago watching “Mission Impossible 3” with my wife and Junior. Not that I care much for Hollywood bullshit but I’m not above it either. Anyway every now and then a deodorant can would pop up on the screen. There was ol’ Tom “Scientology” Cruise on the top of a skyscraper in Shanghai getting ready for yet another impossible jump / stunt… A dramatic moment that everyone making the movie worked very, very hard to put together – the actor, director, producer, screenwriter and probably 200 or 300 other hard working Hollywood professionals. Never mind whether I or other cinema freaks think that this is better or worse than Renoir or Fassbinder. Many talented people gave it their best and many millions of people appreciate it. And so, as I said, in the middle of the scene, a can of deodorant pops up in a corner or the TV.

The reaction of our family was quite unified. “Fuck you!” “Get out of there!” “Arrrggghhhhh!”… If we had had some of those sponge bricks we would have hurled them at the screen. Anyway, Nivea – from tiny Beiersdorf in Germany – their marketing agency and the TV station managed to generate rage, hatred and disgust from at least three viewers – and I’m quite sure we weren’t the only ones. Mind you – everyone involved invested a ton of money into this bizarre old-school advertising stunt, ruining in the process the efforts of many many other people who had worked hard to create this Hollywood blockbuster. Wow…

My friend Damir Sabol wondered aloud on Twitter just a few minutes before I wrote this post about irritating pop-up banners on web sites that destroyed the user experience by making us wait for the real content so long that we would rather move on to another site. “Why are they doing this?” he asked… “in the early days we used to cache and optimize so people would get the stuff as soon as possible.”

I feel his pain – who doesn’t? Who hasn’t been angry at all those intruding and offensive pop ups that get between us and what we really want to read or view?

All these “creative” marketing types – and their customers in the various “marketing departments” of large corporations – should be put in minimum security prison for two weeks. In the first week, they should be provided with copies of Seth Godin’s “All Marketers are Liars” and “The Purple Cow” as mandatory reading. When not reading these books, they should be forced to watch TV ads produced by themselves and their colleagues, just to be reminded of the kind of junk they are forcing mere mortals to watch. And then in the second week they should take a workshop by Godin, Danny Meadows-Klue or any of the other intelligent authors / professors / practitioners out there explaining to them that we are all fed up with this junk, we don’t want to take it any more (Hello? Have any of them noticed advertising revenue falling?) and thank you very much – we would more than welcome creative, intelligent, permission based marketing and advertising.

In the meantime – goodbye TV and thanks for all the fish.


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  1. YVONNE permalink

    Couldn’t be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing! My blog

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