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Abused by brands

23 Aug 2019  |  David Pidgeon 
Abused by brands

If you went into your local Sainsbury's and were required to pay double for your shopping because you were a regular customer, you would, quite rightly, be gobsmacked.

Yet this strange abuse of loyalty is rife in other sectors - particularly those where contracts and tariffs are involved - and marketers, despite being customers themselves, are often complicit in the promotion of unfair, opaque and illogical pricing strategies for their clients.

To be penalised for loyalty may be logical for profits but it isn't for customers. But it happens because it's possible to get away with it and markets are often not self-correcting through competition.

This week, one of the UK's most experienced brand marketers and regular Mediatel News columnist Jan Gooding is honest about this issue - because, like so many other marketers, she has colluded in it too.

But she also tried to help change it - because in the long-term it's better for everyone. Here are her views on why daylight robbery doesn't breed brand advocacy.


How is that Global Alliance for Responsible Media working out?

During Cannes, 16 of the world's leading advertisers announced "an unprecedented, global collaboration with agencies, media companies and platforms, and industry associations to rapidly improve digital safety."

Facebook, Google and Twitter were some of the big media owner names mentioned.

Now, just a few months on, and we have Phil Neville, the England women's manager, saying footballers should "boycott" social media to send a "powerful message" that abuse – still absolutely rife on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook-owned Instagram - is not acceptable.

Neville's comments come after Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham and Reading's Yakou Meite all said they received racist messages online after missing penalties in their team's most recent matches.

"We have to take drastic measures now as a football community. I've had it with my players on social media, the Premier League and the Championship have had it," said Neville.

"I just wonder whether as a football community we come off social media, because Twitter won't do anything about it, Instagram won't do anything about it - they send you an email reply saying they'll investigate but nothing happens."

Despite concerns and condemnations from the online businesses, Neville said he had "lost total faith" in their ability to fix the problem and now urged the football community to come off social media for 6 months to see what impact it might have.

Yet, predictably, in pours the ad money.

The really curious thing, however, is that at the same time many brands are demonstrating extreme sensitivity to news publisher content because they're worried about ads appearing next to 'negative' stories.

This strange and misplaced sensitivity is, in turn, denying decent journalism the funds it needs to keep this increasingly bizarre world in check.

Funny too that no serious broadcaster, OOH business or publisher is a part of the global alliance, despite all firmly operating within the digital ecosystem. Are they irresponsible? Of course not, they just launched businesses with responsibility and brand safety built in – almost as if it wasn't an afterthought.

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