What has O-week at Melbourne Uni taught me about marketing? Lines are good. Lines of people that is.
O-week is the perfect opportunity to capture a fresh young audience who have been thrown into a new world of opportunity, learning and binge drinking. Clubs, societies, departments and businesses are all out in force to get those precious signups.
I want to critically analyse the success of one particular campaign I saw, and that was Commonwealth Banks.
In short, they were able to get a 50m long line with at least a half-hour wait. What were they lining up for? A chance to win some 2 minute noodles or some highlighters! I went up to some students in line and asked why they were lining up. Some of the responses:
“To win some free stuff”
“Not sure, everyone else is lining up.”
“I heard something about $10k”
Look at the size of this friggin line:
How did it work? So pretty much you spun a wheel and it gave you a number. Depending on your number, you were eligible for either: 1) 2-minute noodles 2) highlighters or 3) a commonwealth canvas duffle bag (you wouldn’t be seen dead with one).
Even though there was a sign saying “win 10k”, no one really knew how to win it. I again asked the students in the line and they gave responses like:
“Not sure, I just saw the sign”
“It must be a raffle”
“I think you have to get a certain number”
I decided to get straight to the point and went up to one of the staff members to discern what this competition actually involved. They informed me that any Commonwealth member who is a student is in the running to win the 10k. So if you weren’t a Commonwealth member they would entice you into signing up with the chance of winning some cash. What this meant however, was that as a Commonwealth member already, I was already in the running to win the 10k, along with thousands of other customers! So what were the chances that someone who signed up that day would go on to win the 10k against all the other thousands of customers? Next to nothing!
What does this mean? They managed to create a 50 metre line by giving away free 2 minute noodles and having some really fun staff. I don’t exactly agree with these tactics, but heck they’re clever. So, I’m going to go through a few things I learnt:
1. Be fun but slow
Commonwealth sent heaps of staff. They were all outgoing, fun and lively. But most of their staff were there just to create a scene. Only one of them was operating the spinning wheel which was causing the wait. This meant that the whole process was bottlenecked by this point, and hence the line was created. What have we seen lines do? They attract more customers apparently. Smart. The rest of the staff were to act bubbly, create good vibes, add to the sea of yellow, and of course sign up new Commonwealth customers. How convenient that they had a bored line of students to prey on!
2. Don’t hand out freebies, make someone win it
Having to win something inherently makes it seem more valuable. If someone is going to give something away for free, is it really worth it? But if you actually have to perform an action to get something, it is perceived to be more valuable.
3. Be unclear
It wasn’t obvious what the competition involved. They didn’t have a poster showing you all the steps like ASOS did, they simply masked the rules of the competition with funny costumes, bubbly personalities and a huge line. The 10k sign didn’t explain how to win it or who you were against, but it didn’t seem to phase people.