S01E05 – Burn Social Media Down

Talking About Marketing Podcast by Steve Davis and David Olney

There are times you simply need to destroy what exists in order to replace it with something better

We go back to 2015 to start this episode of Talking About Marketing, in which we consider whether we should burn social media down and develop new strategies for marketing in the social channels.

The discussion centres around an insight from Forrester Research in 2015 that stated, "social ads aren’t social; they’re just ads."

The key message is a big like an Emporer's New Clothes moment; yes, brands do stick out like sore thumbs when trying to mingle amid humans wanting to catch up and joke around with each other.

For our first segment, however, Steve goes very "meta" by playing what he said on FIVEaa about what David Olney had told him about changing jobs and resolving the tension between finding fulfillment in Staus vs Value.

In the mailbag segment, Steve shares a question about what to do when you get an email prompting you to renew a premium WordPress plugin.

And for a dose of perspicacity (the sharpening of our minds), David and Steve revisit the Smiths Chips Gobbledok and chew over whether or not it would still have "crunch" through today?

We hope you find this helpful.

Talking About Marketing podcast episode notes with timecodes

02:15  Person  This segment focusses on you, the person, because we believe business is personal.

Status vs Value

In Steve's regular radio segment about small business on FIVEaa with Richard Pascoe, he recently reflected on the story of Talking About Marketing co-presenter, David Olney, and his realisation that the biggest fear he had when leaving Adelaide University as a lecturer to pursue life as a consultant, was the giving up of his status.

As Steve explained on the air, David noted that blind people have low status in our society, so to risk "lecturer" status was a big deal until he started tasting what it was like to bring value to clients. The resounding accolades he began receiving have since drowned out the echoes of his lecturer status.

In this segment, we discuss what that might mean for us, in our day-to-day work. Are we holding on to a role or business because of the perceived status it brings? And, if so, is that coming at the cost of getting intrinsic and extrinsic rewards awaiting us when we focus on truly bringing value to every interaction we have with clients and/or customers?

As David recently wrote on his blog:

At University I had a reasonable amount of status, tried to add value for my students, and was not valued by the institution. As a Strategic Communication professional, I probably don’t have much status (I assume I am now seen as David the marketing guy), am valued by my colleagues, and add value for our clients. Having now experienced these two different combinations of status and value, I can categorically state that I prefer being David the marketing guy. Being valued and adding value is more rewarding and important to me than status.

12:35  Principles  This segment focusses principles you can apply in your business today.

Burn Social Media Down

This discussion on how to approach social media in an effective way as marketers, arose from the seemingly evergreen 2015 article by Augie Ray, entitled, Burn It Down, Start From Scratch And Build a Social Media Strategy That Works.

The pertinent points are summarised by Augie, thus:

  • People take social media seriously, and so should business.
  • Consumers work hard to block and ignore brand messaging.
  • Consumers do not trust brand content.
  • Consumers count on brands to be present in social media, particularly on Facebook.
  • Consumers expect brands to engage on consumers' terms.
  • Consumers want fast, responsive customer care in social media.
  • Consumers want to collaborate with brands to develop better products.
  • Brands win when they get people talking to each other, not about the brand's content but about the actual Customer Experience.

As we discuss in the episode, "doing social media right" means being present but also learning to measure the right things. As Augie says:

Toss out your social media scorecard immediately. The first step to refocus social activities on what matters is to change what is measured. Stop rewarding employees or agencies for generating engagement that fails to deliver business benefit and start measuring what matters--changes in customer loyalty or consideration, positive and authentic Word of Mouth, inbound traffic that converts, quality lead acquisition and customer satisfaction.

And there's a recurring theme from this discussion that runs through our podcast, especially episode one about Telling Your Story, namely, that:

Brands that win in the social era will not be better at storytelling but in using social media to hear, help, educate, encourage, empower, connect and respond to their customers and prospects as individuals.

We hope this discussion gives you plenty of food for thought.

23:36  Problems  This segment answers questions we've received from clients or listeners.

Do premium plugins need updating?

Steve shared an email from Donald, who had forwarded on an email about a renewal invoice for a premium WordPress plugin.

His question was, do we need to renew this?

The short answer is, yes. While premium WordPress plugins will continue to operate after a license has expired, not renewing means you don't get access to updates.

As we know, plugin updates don't only include improvements but also improve crucial safety and security tweaks that could mean the difference between your site working or your site breaking. Or, worse still, your site staying safe or your site being hacked.

Our advice is always to renew these plugins but to double-check you are still using them first (it has happened that someone has decided to stop using a plugin in favour of a better one while forgetting to cancel the premium subscription).

26:40  Perspicacity  This segment is designed to sharpen our thinking by reflecting on a case stude from the past.

The Smiths Chips Gobbledok

Chippy, chippy, chippy.

If you're old enough to remember ads in the 1990s, you'll remember the "creepy", furry Gobbledok used by Smiths Chips to connect people to the allure of the rustling of a chip bag and the crunch of their chips.

Steve and David discuss the ad series, look at consumer feedback under the ad on YouTube (which is split between lovers and haters), and ponder whether such ads would work today.

You might be surprised by the conversation that arises.

TRANSCRIPT  This is a transcript of the episode. Please note, although checked briefly, this was crafted by an AI tool and will contain errors. For quoting purposes, always check against the original audio.

Caitlin Davis: [00:00:00] Talking about marketing is a podcast for business owners and leaders, produced by my dad, Steve Davis, and his colleague at Talked About Marketing, David Olney, in which they explore marketing through the lens of their own four P's, person, principles, problems, and perspicacity. Yes, you heard that correctly.

Apart from their love of words, they really love helping people. So they hope this podcast will become a trusted companion on your journey in business.

Steve Davis: Burn it down, David Olney. Burn. It. Down.

David Olney: Gasoline or matches, your choice.

Steve Davis: This topic does conjure up memories. When I was a little young teenager with my cousin, we used to create elaborate models of the world in his backyard and then set fire to [00:01:00] them.

David Olney: You had clearly very, very, very caring and trusting adults around you.

I think that's all I can say fairly.

Steve Davis: Well, they never really knew to our knowledge. I suppose in hindsight, you can tell when your kids come out and they reek of smoke. But the topic of our burning today will be social media. So I look forward to seeing where we go with that. However, just one quick thing before we start proper, the process of burning things down, there's a cathartic aspect to that.

Do you think off the cuff, there is a time in life at certain points where you need to just raise everything back to the ground and start again or not?

David Olney: Maybe not absolutely everything, but I think very definitely things that have worn out their welcome or stopped being useful.

Steve Davis: Well, we'll start being useful in just a moment.

Caitlin Davis: Our four P's. Number one, [00:02:00] Person. The aim of life is self development. To realise one's nature perfectly. That is what each of us is here for. Oscar Wilde.

Steve Davis: David Olney, we are five episodes in and we're about to go meta. I don't mean meta as in the company that now owns and runs Facebook. I mean meta when you are in the zone reflecting on the zone. Does that make sense?

David Olney: It sounds like we have a navel inside of a navel.

Steve Davis: Yeah, that's it. Because, for this segment where we look at things to help you and I, business owners, business leaders, with our own journey, I am going to play a snippet.

Of me talking to Richard Pascoe on 5AA about you, David, so that I can then bring that up [00:03:00] for everybody's benefit. Let's have a listen.

He had to adapt his plans and keep adapting as things go on. And he said the biggest thing that was holding him back was as a lecturer he had status. You know, he, he, oh, you're a lecturer, oh, and he said, people who are blind in our society actually have little status. They are, you know, towards the bottom of the rung, sadly, in the mix of things.

And so, for him to step away from that was really a tough decision. But what he found was, he's now working for this guy in America who has a global marketing firm that helps law firms, plus I've snapped him up here, he works with me and talked about marketing as well. He's got two... people he's working with now because he stepped away from what he was doing and what he's found is when he can be in a meeting and deliver some value and people go, wow, that's helped, [00:04:00] it's worth a million times what he had as the status.


Right. So David. Let's just pull this back to some basics and get some access on this. If I can paraphrase myself, wow.

David Olney: You can paraphrase yourself, paraphrasing me, paraphrasing you, paraphrasing me.

Steve Davis: That sounds, that's almost like an 80s song lyric in that. But here's the thing. stepped out of the security and safety of having prestige and status and discovered there was something beyond the walls that pleased you, that gave you succor.

Can you take us through... that just in a microscopic way now, so that we can then reflect on this for us at our own safe walls.

David Olney: Certainly. And I think this is the big thing, even when I first sort of realized that, hang on, I had status and [00:05:00] that's potentially going to go when I give up being a lecturer. Oh, how do I feel about this?

And of course, because humans suffer from negativity bias, so. Profoundly. The idea of loss always pops into our head before the idea of what we can meaningfully gain. So the idea of, I'm going to give up being a lecturer, I'm going to go back to being a student, I'm going to end up in the world of strategic communication and marketing.

Wow, I'm not going to be a lecturer anymore. I was there for months before the realisation started to kick in, as I started to work with Rich in Texas and then started my internship with you here in Adelaide and then started working with you. Hang on, when you help people do things and their business runs better, and they're really happy because their world is better, and you're adding value to people's worlds on a daily basis.

There's this thing of value that is so rewarding. So the old line that multiple philosophers and religious scholars and poets [00:06:00] have written about, that you will always get more out of doing something for someone else than yourself, I just found to be so true.

Steve Davis: So that means, that staying Within where we are, might actually be fine, but at the same time, it might be diminishing to a degree the, the full extent of impact that we could have in the world, and therefore, the full extent of satisfaction, internal, intrinsic satisfaction that we could have in potential, waiting to be exploited.

David Olney: Absolutely. So I think the big thing is here is lots of us, and lots of people in business, have a degree of status. For having their own business or the level they're at in a business. And hopefully, along with the status, they also got the sense they're adding so much value to the company and to people's lives.

Unfortunately, by 2020, what I had... You know, at the university, was status [00:07:00] and year by year, less and less value. There were less and less students where I was able to have a profound impact on their ability to make sense of the world and do well, because they were coming to uni at a progressively lower starting point, where all I was actually doing by the end was playing catch up, because they knew so little when they started.

So the status was still there, the value was dropping. But if you're in a position where you've got status and value, Just reflect on the fact you've got both. That's a beautiful place to be. But if you have the realization that what you've got is the status of, it's a role that you're doing, or that you're the owner, but you can't see the value you're adding to other people's lives or your own anymore, Then, if possible, rethink how you can put the value back in where you still have status.

If you're lucky, you won't have to do anything as extreme as I did, and literally walk away from a career and start again, because the amount of value connected to the status was so low, and I could no longer see [00:08:00] any way to increase value where I was. I had to go somewhere else, and the irony is, I'm not sure what kind of status you can have as a marketing person, and as a strategic communication person, that's what I'm going to find out over the next few years.

But even if I don't get anything like the level of status back I had as a lecturer, I really don't mind, because the value of helping people thrive, succeed, enjoy what they do more, because they've got more support to do it well. Has trumped the status of being a lecturer all round.

Steve Davis: Perhaps we need to develop some ornate costumes that we wear that the world attaches status to.

David Olney: That could be fun. I'm not sure I really want a cape, but I'll give it a go.

Steve Davis: So, what would be a heuristic, a little rule of thumb, for measuring, for thinking, to, to trying to get to the, the crux of this? Because I, I know there are people who... Agonize over which [00:09:00] B& W model they should buy or move up to, to signal status to the world.

Now to me, that's an extrinsic hack to try and get a faux version of status. That's not coming from the inside. Have you got a thought, having been through this and reflected on it publicly, what... Should we ask ourselves, what, what, where are the symptoms? Where's the evidence that's pointing to a lack or an


David Olney: I think we'll stay with the BMW just because it's something probably a lot of people can connect with. If you want it because it will up your status. That's one thing. But if you want it, because it'll be the perfect vehicle to go somewhere you really want to go with your family and friends. It'll be the perfect vehicle for being able to travel around Australia on your next holidays.

It will fulfill all these things that you [00:10:00] want to do that make, you know, balance and joy in your broader life. Then that car's got status and value. But if it's simply you're buying that model BMW and you hope people will go, wow, it's that model BMW, if that's where you're stuck, have a rethink about, you know, what does work look like?

What does work life balance look like? Have a think about how you could only appreciate that beautiful car in such a shallow way.

Steve Davis: What's gone wrong? And so the other side of that is, on the value end of the equation, Is it a case, we can never get away from the risk, do we, of looking at what you do from the perspective of the other?

So, you do a quick email back to someone, or they've asked a question. Is this a case for pausing and saying, how will this person... Appreciate what I'm about to say. How can I make this valuable in a [00:11:00] way that they're really thankful that I took the time to answer an answer in depth or answer eloquently?

Is that the other side of the equation of moving beyond transactional motivations in how we deal with our clients and others to really trying to be inspirational.

David Olney: Well, I think we're back to Josh Bernoff's rule. Never forget that if you're writing to someone or about to talk to them on the phone, their time is more valuable than yours.

Because if you don't think from that perspective, what are you really adding to their day? And what are you signalling about yourself? And what kind of person are you going to be? If you always work from the perspective that their time is more valuable than yours, you're going to be clear, precise, you're going to try and be engaging, you're going to try and get the information across in the smoothest and most engaging way possible.

And if, at the end of the day, you reflect on that's who you are and that's how you behave. That's a lot more [00:12:00] rewarding than remembering that you just smashed out three sentences of drivel in an email and hit send because you just wanted the issue to go away. Well, there you go.

Steve Davis: I hope this has gotten off to a good start for you, given you something to think about and it's valuable, dare I say it.

Caitlin Davis: Our four Ps. Number two, principles. You can never be overdressed or over educated. Oscar Wilde.

Steve Davis: We're going to get into an incendiary topic today, that relating to social media. In fact, social media does seem to be a torch that can ignite fires as much as it can illuminate relationships and opportunities. And it's all based around the book, Burn It Down, Start From Scratch and Build a Social Media Strategy That Works.

David Olney why did this book come [00:13:00] across your reading menu in the first place?

David Olney: It's a very, very big blog post that became very, very famous in 2015 because Augie Ray, as a traditional, very successful sales guy, looked at social media in 2015 and went, why is everyone wasting all the money? If you look at the conversion rate on social media, to get people to be customers who spend money on your products or services, at best, it is half as effective as any other strategy that has been used for decades.

So his criticism was immediately from the perspective of, from a sales perspective, it's a waste of time, so put it under control of the sales department. I was reading it because of course inbound marketing, which I'm writing my master's thesis on, is fixated on the idea that the digital world is everything and talking to everyone all the time is everything.

And I was interested to [00:14:00] see, you know, that this article from 2015 had been so powerful and still remains so powerful. Salespeople still doubt social media. And a whole pile of social scientists still doubt social media because it's proving to be so psychologically and socially destructive for so many people.

So we have at least two good reasons to burn social media to the ground. It doesn't work from a sales perspective, and unfortunately, more often than not, it is socially corrosive or destructive, rather than enhancing human psychology and connectedness. So that's sort of the long winded... way into why not only was it probably going to get burnt down from one point, it's going to get burnt down from all sides.

Steve Davis: So, respond to this. There's a person listening who's saying, Hey, I've actually got customers through social media and I've actually made some sales.

David Olney: This is, I think, the thing that Augie Ray misses, because [00:15:00] Augie Ray's coming at this from a traditional sales point of view. And even though he's right, social media, as it's understood by a lot of people in marketing and business, should be burnt down.

It is not. An effective conversion tool. What it is, for some businesses, is an effective tool for starting a conversation with prospective customers, or people who might become advocates for your brand. And if you have a meaningful conversation with them, and don't try too hard to sell to them, but just help them answer their questions, help them work out what they need, help them work out what else they want to know, guess what?

Trust is what turns people into long term customers and brand advocates. So the reality is social media doesn't work as a conversion tool in the conventional sales sense of the historical sales funnel. Doesn't work at all, but as a tool for building [00:16:00] relationships and trust. So people can go, I like dealing with this company because they keep treating me with respect and care and they keep helping me solve my problem.

In that sense, that is social media almost at its limited best. It's the best bit we really see of it most of the time.

Steve Davis: If we take a moment, because we we've all had been in those conversations, I'm sure, where someone's champing at the bit to just turn social media on fire and just make it rain money, make it rain sales, I want to be popular, I want to get lots of likes, I want people to come and buy and all that sort of stuff.

If we take a step back... As social media users and reflect on what it is that we stop on when we're scrolling through a feed or engage with, it's bizarre how it is typically, for me, a common one is every now and then, about twice a year, [00:17:00] I have a huge, I mean, I wash my shirts all year round, but there seem to be a couple of times a year where they all seem to converge at once, and so there's a clothesline full of purple and pink shirts, and so the photographer in me looks at all those shapes and patterns, and I can't help myself.

I take a shot, and I share it. They go nuts because people complain about my hanging technique, how I've pegged them the wrong way, I get the usual comments about the colours, etc, and they go nuts. Whereas, you try and say, say something like, for example, there's a lot of people who have fringe shows next year, I'm one of them just say, hey, I've got a fringe show coming, you're going to hear A few likes from some dear friends, but generally crickets, because one is delving into just the social, the humanness of life, and the other is, [00:18:00] Oh, I can smell someone's trying to sell me something.

David Olney: And that is the key difference. Like, the bunch of shirts in the photo is so human. We've all tried to work out how to hang a shirt so it gets least crinkled on the line, and we've all failed repeatedly. And anyone who says they can do it better should share a photo so that you can confirm, because I don't believe them.

But it's also such a human thing we're engaging with at that level. Whereas the minute you're telling someone about something commercial, friends will pay attention because they're supportive. A very few people might be interested. There, it's not going to be that you're doing the show that's interesting.

It's what's the show about? What's going to make them laugh? What's going to make them cry? What's going to make them want to share it with their friends? So again, if you can't post in a way that is going to add something to someone's very human day, Don't expect anything meaningful to come from it.

Augie Ray didn't want something human, he wanted sales. Of course he's [00:19:00] not going to get sales, because he wasn't doing something human.

Steve Davis: It's like going to a party and going, Hey, government news talked about marketing. We can help you get your strategy right. We can, it's like, well, people are not in the headspace.

And social media is the party place. It's the social place. It's the gathering place. Absolutely. So he says burn that down. When he says building a social media strategy from works, are there one or two things that he came to realize that might still hold true today that are the foundational building blocks for a social media strategy that has a great chance of working?

David Olney: I think his big suggestion is he wanted to give all the social money back to the sales department and run things that are. Overt ads. Be totally upfront. We are selling a product. It is a good product for these reasons, and if you need to achieve these ends, our product would do it for you. So I think, [00:20:00] at some level, the upfront ness he's talking about, if you want to try and sell via social media.

At least if you're up front, if it's something where you're selling something for a car, an accessory for a car, and someone just got out of their car going, Man, I wish there was an accessory that solved my problem, and then they're scrolling through their phone and still thinking about it, and they see your ad, that's when conventional ads have great value.

The thing that is the kiss of death is pretending to be social while also selling. That where you've essentially it's like in Ghostbusters when you cross the energy stream and the twinkie monster gets very big and scary.

Steve Davis: Yes and and having just run a workshop for tourism operators who were finalists in the tourism awards just about everybody in that boat has shared the same sort of post.

Hey, we're finalists. Aren't we great? And now you can vote for us. Help us win another prize. [00:21:00] Okay hello why? Why? And yet the things where I have bought or been influenced towards It's interesting that Augie was saying this in 2015 because it's still true. I've got a lovely photo selfie setup and I got it because of a well placed ad in a Facebook stream that led with some video that showed this tool.

David Olney: How good it was. Yes.

Steve Davis: Yep. And I went, ah, yes, I could actually make use of that. Cha ching, there's a sale.

David Olney: It was an overt ad that you saw at the time where it was relevant to you, but if it hadn't been relevant, it didn't try and suck you in in an artificially social way. So, on that day it was useful, on another day you might have ignored it, but at least they didn't offend you, and you then ignored them forever.

So the real, the real lesson... in social, you know, media marketing is don't offend the person who might look [00:22:00] at the post by pretending to be social when you're actually being commercial. Either be commercial or just share information in a gentle way that they'll pay attention to if they want. If you can genuinely be funny or entertaining or human, like putting up a photo of a heap of shirts and that that's got something to do with the colors of your business, fabulous.

Don't try too hard to weave the things together, because humans don't want them woven together. They want relevant ads when there's something they need to solve, and they want fun the rest of the time.

Steve Davis: Well, maybe we've burned some ideas today but hopefully we've kindled some thinking for a way to regroup and move forward.

And... Everything you just said can be boiled down to being authentic in the social space, which was the buzzword and the hope back in 2005 when I first ran my first social media marketing workshops here in SA, [00:23:00] and it's been paid lip service, that word, but as it turns out, There's something that resonates deeply with the humans.

We can spot the BS and we gravitate towards the human every time.

Caitlin Davis: Our four Ps. Number three. Problems. I asked a question for the best reason possible. Simple curiosity.

Steve Davis: We're looking into the mail bag and I have an email here from Donald who, and this is quite an innocuous one on the surface, David Olney, but it is one that just pops its head up all the time. Donald's got a website which uses some premium plugins within WordPress. So within the WordPress world, many plugins are freely available through their open source arrangement, but some are premium, you pay extra for them.

And he received this email saying. Your [00:24:00] license is about to expire, it's time to renew, and as many developers do, they give you a 30, 40, sometimes a 50% discount on the renewal phase. He said, should I be doing this? And what happens if I don't? This is a great question. So here is the long and short of it.

If you have a premium WordPress plugin, some people use these for booking systems, tickets, there's, there's all sorts of reasons you might consider using a premium forms really complex form plugins, et cetera. There's reasons for doing that. Here's what's going to happen if your license expires.

Nothing. Nothing will happen. Nothing will change. They'll keep working. What won't happen is next time you see when you're doing your Dutiful, and I hope every two or four weeks you are [00:25:00] going in and running the updates behind the scenes on your WordPress website, when you go and do that, you might find that you hit to update this plugin and it will say not available license expired, or words to that effect.

So, that's what happens. You get locked out of the next iteration, the next version. Now, that's a bad thing. So, my short answer is, yes. If you're still using a premium plugin, just like any other plugin, you've got to... Update it. It needs updating so that you get access to the goodness as things are developed, but also the things get hardened against those creeps who try to hack in and exploit vulnerabilities in plugins.

So a short lesson from the mailbag today on behalf of Donald for everyone. Yes, you do need to renew your premium plugins. If you happen to miss the expiry date, by a few days or a few weeks, which Donald almost did because the renewal notice went to his spam box. [00:26:00] Don't panic. Everything will still work.

And the moment that you pay the money to have another year of support, you'll get access to the updates that are available.

Caitlin Davis: Our four Ps. Number four, Perspicacity. The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it. Oscar Wilde.

Steve Davis: Here's a crazy idea, David. Advertise something to children that scares the living daylights out of them. How's that for a brief?

David Olney: It sounds like much of my childhood when I could still see televisions with some of the crazy ads for things that seemed really quite dangerous. I would say this is something that must have, at some point, been a normal part of children's advertising.

Steve Davis: Well, I'm talking, of course, about Smith's Chips or [00:27:00] Smith's Crisps and the GobbleDoc ads. That they ran, oh, I must be in the,

David Olney: 80s or 90s. would be my guess,

Steve Davis: yeah. So you had this crazy well, what would you call them? A little monster creature, a bit like

David Olney: a bunyip? My guess is it was about the same time that that series ALF was on TV, so I guess it was meant to be the more alien version of ALF, less fluffy, less friendly.

Steve Davis: So what happened? In fact, let's have a listen to the Gobbledock in action from one of the classic ads.

Gobbeldock ad: This is a Gobbledock. He comes from Dock, the potato planet, and lives solely on fresh potato crisps. Crisps with real potato taste. Be warned, Gobbledocks love smiths. Especially the new packs with a special seal of freshness that keeps smiths even fresher and tastier.[00:28:00]

From now on, best lock up your space. In case of Gobbeldocks.

Steve Davis: I'm actually, getting some shivers just hearing that again.

David Olney: See, I must be the weird kid because I love the gobbledog because I could only hear it rather than see it. So I love the whole, Chippy, chippy, chippy.

Steve Davis: Oh, hey, that, my goodness. I, I'm actually thinking of taking that little snippet of what you just said there and putting it in my phone for whenever you ring me, David.

David Olney: Just think how many chips you'll eat. Could be bad.

Steve Davis: Yes, hopefully none. Look, on YouTube where we found this ad, I just want to share some of the comments that are up there before we then think about whether this would work in this day and age. Captain Haddock said, this was the most terrifying thing in the world when I was a toddler.

I would literally turn the TV off as soon as he came on. He and the bunyip from Dot and the Kangaroo should fight to the death.

David Olney: That would probably be a great [00:29:00] TV show.

Steve Davis: John Hart, we seriously need to sign a petition to bring the gobbledog back to our Fun fact, my stepdad voiced the gobbledog. Okay.

Someone else said, gave me an S load of nightmares as a child, and then right after that, oh my, this brings back so many memories. And then cheers for years of childhood therapy. And a couple more when I was a kid in 94 to 2002, I remember the school I was attending had a cardboard cutout of this thing in one of the unused classrooms, just sitting in the corner.

And then someone else, this scared the living S out of me as a child brings back memory, and so on and so forth. Look at this. So this is the sort of thing that you would love an advertising campaign to create, wouldn't you? This, this conversation, this back and forth being talked about.

David Olney: I think we've got a couple of funny things here.

We've got the fact he got talked about heaps. That's [00:30:00] great. We've got a classic mistake of marketing, and that is an ad campaign that made the ad people happy. And, you know, another classic mistake, and that is, okay, the adults spend the money. From my memory, adults loved the ad, but it's quite clear the ad was not great for small children.

So we have an interesting thing here that it got talked about, but for the wrong reasons, in a sense. It was an example of getting to the parents who spend the money. But then should it have been targeted more at timeslots and programs where it was adults sitting on the couch eating chips rather than children?

So here it seems it was good in that it got talked about, but there were some big misses.

Steve Davis: And yet, there's a polarization even within that, because not all kids were turned off by it. So, let's think this through. The purpose of an ad is obviously to raise awareness, stoke some interest, build some desire, and [00:31:00] lead us to take some action.

Now, I'm sure... Many people at the time copied the gobbledock going Chippie, Chippie, Chippie. In fact, I've just noticed that Roseanne not THE Roseanne, but a Roseanne commented that her dog was a puppy when the ad came out. And every time he heard the Chippie, Chippie, Chippie part, his ears would prick up and they named the dog Chippie.

David Olney: I'm guessing there were thousands of dogs that got that same name in those years. Yep.

Steve Davis: So... I get the point that, yes, you don't make ads for the other humans so they can win awards. At the end of the day, they have to drive consumer behavior to want to buy the product.

David Olney: And to me, I wonder if it would have been better pitching it that these ads came on an hour later at night, were aimed basically from, you know, 15 year olds and up, who were going to eat even more chips than the kids because they have a bigger stomach.

That's the thing, I don't remember anymore exactly what time frame the ads ran in, but [00:32:00] it might have been that they were running literally from like 3pm through to 10pm, and maybe they would have been better from 8pm to midnight.

Steve Davis: A person who runs a business, who is a cook, in a place that used to also sell these sorts of things, would ask the Smith's chips rep all the time, can you please bring them back?

And they said no. And he is bemoaning the fact that they were epic ads to quote, not like the crap nowadays. So the other end of the spectrum is the bland, time filling ad that has the nice close up of the packet and the opening and the Crunch, and that probably has some value.

David Olney: Well, experiential ads are meant to be great, but we're also now in the era of how many people watch TV and watch ads.

Mm. So it would be hard now, like to me, I think if you release, you know, re release The Gobbledock now, people might pay attention because we're back to a story about a [00:33:00] character. Like the ad with The Gobbledock meeting the grandparents. And the grandparents think it's the grandkid. It's hysterical.

Steve Davis: Well, you've got a riff there on Little Red Riding Hood.

You could play around that. Well, hmm. Look, you can tap into some of the nostalgia there. What does it do? What should we be thinking about? I mean, obviously, ads like that work because you've got a company. with a big enough ad spend that can blast the airwaves. Plus, the whole thing that makes TV advertising or even radio advertising work is that you've got distribution of the product so that if you're driving an Ood and a Woop Woop and you remember it, you can then Sate that desire.

You don't have to go to one little shop, you know, on the other side of town because you go, Ah, it's too hard. So you need that distribution if you're going to do something like this. Are you telling us, David, that you would steer away [00:34:00] from that today, starting fresh, or do it in a way that really tucks into the story aspect?

David Olney: I would happily run the ads again if it was me, and I would aim them infinitely more at sort of 15 to whatever age you want to, you know, go to, to adults. Because again, why will we try to sell greasy salty potato to children? Like we've moved past that. So culturally, I think the ads are fine because we would no longer target them at small children because we don't want them eating junk food non stop.

So I think it would be much easier now to get the gobbledock doing cool things, and we could have more kind of weird social innuendo, like the Red Riding Hood sort of concept of maybe the gobbledock is going to cook the grandparents. We could put it in some pretty dark, you know, dark perspectives here.

Like imagine the gobbledock going to the beach. Imagine the gobbledock going to the footy. How many weird things could the gobbledock do if you're targeting the ad at, you know, [00:35:00] 15 and up? It'd be such fun.

Steve Davis: That's based on the legacy of memory of the older audience now, but could you start from scratch with a character like this in 2022, in your opinion?

No base to build upon, you're not calling back from somewhere. Have we got the appetite, so to speak, for this sort of messaging?

David Olney: I think I'd have to, to test it with an audience, because my feeling is people always love comedy. They always love something that's on the verge of sci fi, or might veer into horror.

Again, humans like to be scared, humans like to not know what happens next. So there's a, still a heap of potential there, but it probably wouldn't work in the same way, because we're all so jaded to endless CGI at high quality level.

Steve Davis: Intriguing. I mean, yes, because the comedy fact is one thing, and also we [00:36:00] do know that the empathy within us, we see something else with eyes, and we are drawn to it.

Whether that's a cartoon, a puppet, doesn't matter, but I think the thing that does have some potential that I haven't seen tapped is to go all out. for Gratuitous Horror in an ad.

David Olney: I just implied, because implied works brilliantly. Like, you know, I didn't want to say on air that, you know, potentially the gobbledog could cook the grandparents.

You went there. So the point is, you were thinking it. How many other people thought with that ad? You know, why is gobbledog visiting? Because they've got chips. How long before they fall asleep and gobbledog basically steals all the chips, steals all the cash to buy more chips, and steals the car to go to the shop to buy more chips?

Like the Gobbledog's gonna be a little bad boy or girl.

Steve Davis: Now that, that's there, but I wasn't actually going to go completely that far, Dave. I was actually thinking [00:37:00] of the genre of horror in a TV commercial, because it does make us lean forward. It does make the hair stand up on the end, which means we've grabbed some attention.

Now, how do you combine that with a compelling, memorable message that will drive action? I think that's the conundrum. Not necessarily doing harm to people, but playing with that theatre of the mind.

David Olney: It can have tension and then be resolved in a funny way. Like we can always have the gobbledog on the verge of cooking the grandparents.

And then the real teenage grandkid comes and goes, Goldock, come here, behave. Gives him a chip and they wander off. You can defuse anything. You know, things being implied is where the power is. The power of suggestion. Where could this go? So, remember the famous ad with Claudia Black, with the anteater. And she's laying there covered in ants and she looks at the anteater and goes, SICK EM, REX.

Now, could you get much more provocative without [00:38:00] being provocative at all?

Steve Davis: Good point. Well, the one thing that's guaranteed with any of these ideas, the Twitterverse would go crazy. Which you've already won. Yeah. Alright, well, we'll just park that as a thought to dwell in the subconscious. Perhaps the next time.

You pop that packet of foil and start crunching on some chips. What will that trigger for you? And is there some scope? Cause I will just say one last thing. I like the idea of diffusing the horror genre within the end of the 32nd ad, but what you have got at your disposal is, I remember making a very short film in a film festival once that.

Eerie music right from the start that just makes you go, what? That bit gets us the attention, and if we can honor that in a genuine way that looks real and then give it a twist, I think there's something there, yeah, waiting. Ah, David. [00:39:00] Boo! Ah!

Caitlin Davis: Thank you for listening to Talking About Marketing. If you enjoyed it, please leave a rating or a review in your favourite podcast app.

And if you found it helpful, please share it with others. Steve and David always welcome your comments and questions, so send them to podcast at talkedaboutmarketing. com. And finally, the last word to Oscar Wilde. There's only one thing worse than being talked about, and that's not being talked about.

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