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News & Views from Alchemis

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Call us for a chat on +44 (0)20 7836 3678 or email Amanda Francis


Turning disaster into new business…or not

I thought I’d heard it all when it comes to companies trying new channels to publicise their brands, but it seems I was wrong.

British advertisers are clearly missing a trick, as last week I read that in Germany you can sponsor weather fronts in a scheme that the meteorological institute has been running since 2002 called “Adopt a Vortex”.

Unfortunately, the problem with weather systems is that they can sometimes be slightly more temperamental than you initially anticipated – as BMW recently found out. “Cold Front Cooper”, which advertising agency Sassenbach named after the open-air Mini Cooper (citing it as a “wind- and weather-proof idea”), has been blamed for hundreds of deaths throughout Europe – and shows no sign of letting up.

Perhaps if the Mini Cooper’s target market was geared slightly more towards gun-totting, bad-ass gangsters it would seem more appropriate – but I think it’s unlikely that they are going to be winning too much new business from people who are aspiring to be “The New Ronnie Kray” – or maybe even just Derek Branning from Eastenders.

However, it gave me a brainwave for other new untapped marketing opportunities:  why not sponsor disasters – both natural and manmade? The amount of media coverage generated by these can be phenomenal. Here are a few ideas for brands wanting to win new business in the face of human misery:

  • Hurricane Topseal Roof Replacement
  • Flood Wetline Eco Dinghy
  • Drought Evian
  • BAE Systems Gulf War

I’m off to the patents office to register my idea now. Next stop Dragon’s Den.

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