A lesson about dull ads and not delivering the promise

Before starting of with the actual marketing part of this post, I need to give you some cultural insights, as the product I am going to speak about is a very regional phenomena from Austria and South of German: the ‘liver-cheese’. Put in between a roll the liver-cheese is a typical snack, comparable to a hamburger or hotdog, eating by us here. On the left you can see a typical “normal” version of it. It gets more sophisticated as we also put cheese, chilli and other stuff into the liver-cheese. If you come to Austria, try this at least once.

Back to the topic of marketing: I stumbled upon a very uninspired promotion in the light of the European football championship, that is happening also right now, that promotes a liver-cheese roll for a very competitive price of 1,70€. Normal prize would range from 2€ to 3€ per piece normally, also depending on the location where to get it. The company behind the promotion is Spar, one of Austrian biggest retail chains, that are spread with their shops all over the country.

The dull promotion…

Let’s look at the visual for the promotion, which is just a simple prize promotion by heart. I only found those examples online, but they are heavily distributed on OOH channels. As we have the football Euro happening right now, the company thought to use a stock stadium image and a boldly modified football chant as the main headline. Enhanced with some delicious product shoots of the different variants of liver-cheese. Positive to point out: they also offer a vegan version.

The visual appearance is, let’s put it that way, improbable. But what really shocks me is the not existing connection made between football matches and eating a liver-cheese roll? This is completely made up and not rooted in any thinkable insight. It is just using a popular sports events, like so many other brands at the moment, and made a absolute not relatable prize promotion on top. But it gets worse for the brand…

The reactions on not keeping up with the promise…

For fun a looked up some social media reaction on the promotion and they are full of criticism. Namely, that the super discounted snack is not meeting the expectations of a “standard” liver-cheese. The user post pictures as a reference and it is easy to spot that this looks more then a small piece of sausage. Some even weighted the product for reference. When you compare the real product images to those from the ad it is clear: the promise quantity was not delivered. In some comments the company was even exposed, that the staff at the shops was told not to give bigger portions. The reactions of the social media team, was also not more than apologies for the not keeping promise. All in one, not great communication at all.

The lessons to be learned here

  • hijacking a major cultural, sportive or any other event not related to your brand, is not the best idea. It can even have legal consequence, as especially sport rights are very sensitive of usage.
  • Simple prize promotions don’t need to be dull. It can be more that just showing the product and the n old/new prize combination
  • Deliver your promise to the customer. It is a very simply and for me also a little bit amusing example but it is a mandatory for the sustainable business success with marketing. Keep your promise (and don’t promise what you aren’t able to deliver).

[Update 28.06.2024]

Believe it or not, I myself couldn’t believe what I was just seeing, I found a bold copy of the above mentioned promotion from another retailer in Austria. The visuals look almost identical, are dull as described and are really a sad manifestation of how uninspired, stupid and outrageous big brands act in communication. To be honest, I don’t know who copied form whom, that is anyway not the point I want to make. At least the ad from Billa (#1 retailer in the country) offers a 1 cen (!!!!!) cheaper prize.

What I then discovered next was completely blowing me away: Also here were massive negative comments complaining about the same as the first example: the not delivered quantity of liver-cheese and so the promise from the ad.

The 2nd chapter of this story really leaves me speechless behind. 1:1 copy of the promotion (whoever copied whom), present it in the complete dull way and not keep the product promise – and that from the top tier retailer in this country. Marketing here really needs to level up a bit.


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