Weetbix rugby cards

Finally, the NZRU have come to their senses and started associating their brand with something worthwhile: Weetbix.

One of my boys has great difficulty being enthusiastic over breakfast. This morning we discovered the box in the Weetbix packet that will hold, and protect, the soon-to-be-released rugby Stat Attack II cards.

The game was on: I want weetbix for breakfast dad!

Hallelujah! Better weetbix than Bluebird chips any day. Thankyou Sanitarium.

Newspaper marketing

The Dominion Post has been running an aggressive campaign in our neighbourhood…free newspaper five days a week for three weeks…the promotion has just ended.

Nearly every driveway in the local environs had the promotional paper – you could tell promotion from actual by the distinctive packaging.

Last night I got a call from the Fairfax call-centre: Did I enjoy my free paper? I did. Would I like to subscribe? Tell me more? We can offer you the Dominion Post for 14 or 26 weeks at half the price of the newsagent or dairy. That’s a good offer [pause]…[longer pause]…but, no thanks.

Well, I might be regretting it today, but whether I have let go of a good offer or not I couldn’t help wonder what this promotion was telling me about the current state of Dominion Post subscriptions.

I’m left with the impression that things are not great in newspaper-land. That was an offer almost too good to be true – it almost smacked of desperation. While retail spending is down and shops are offering a routine 50-70% off the RRP the same heavy discounting seems to be happening in the world of newspapers.

If it had been the NZ Herald I might have said yes.

iYomu dies a lonely death

It’s a pity but we could see it coming. Why could the people who invested in iYomu not see this was a dumb idea?iYomu

As the Herald says, “even offering a US$1 million prize to encourage membership to its site didn’t give the company the legs to last a year.”

A few obvious reasons why it didn’t have the legs:

  • Facebook, Bebo, MySpace, LinkedIn…they had the critical mass, and frankly taking on established players is just plain stupidity. It’d be like me starting going up against TradeMe with an alternative online auction site
  • It was developed entirely in Flash…dependent on users having the plug-in, a disaster for those that are computer illiterate (like a lot of adults?)
  • Offering a US$1 million prize felt a little desperate…almost like a bribe?
  • ummm…it was naff.

More to the point the investors who were misguided in their loyalty to the idea are probably now very shy of investing in any online business. That’s $1 million dollars that now can’t be used on another project that has better more sustainable legs, as Bruce Simpson points out on his blog:

Traffic to the iYomu site never did reach the levels that the organisers had expected when a prize of one million dollars was involved.

What’s more, the bulk of that traffic was clearly (as I predicted) incredibly fickle and of no value as far as the site or advertisers might be concerned.

These people weren’t interested in spending money, they just wanted the prize or to support a friend vying for the prizemoney.

Apart from an annoying interface the experience of trying to stop communications from iYomu was infuriating. I joined in the first week, then unsubscribed the week after, but I continued to receive notifications from them even after repeated attempts to dissociate myself their communications. A colleague had the same experience, even threatening the Anti-spam legislation on them.

Richard McManus from Read Write Web sums it up well:

In the final analysis…iYomu didn’t get off the ground not because it targeted old people – but because it executed poorly. It had crucial design flaws, little to entice people to return regularly, a PR campaign that in the end backfired, and the site just didn’t scale to enough people quickly enough.

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