Tuesday, July 08, 2008

New Marketing for Zuji - can the Travel Guru and open the Beans

The above is a image of a real can of beans being used to promote the Travelocity owned Zuji.com in the Asia Pacific region. I am (again) late to comment (too much work and sick recently) but here are my thoughts on this.

Zuji is used to spending money on big marketing ideas and used to it not working. Back in 2003 Zuji burnt through cash in a bonfire of marketing activity not see since the pre April 2000 dotcom boom days. It looked like they bought out Sydney Airport with posters and paraphernalia everywhere. On television and radio they ran a very peculiar - almost psychedelic - series of campaigns around how the Zuji Travel Guru would help customers find the right price and right product. I have been (unsuccessfully) searching high and low for an online copy of the ad to show you as it cannot be described accurately in words. M&C Saatchi put together the piece under the tag line "your online travel guru". Even as a travel insider the ads made no sense - all I understood at the time was that a lot of money was being spent for no gain.

On Martin Kelly's Traveltrends I first read that Zuji was trying a different but no less weird marketing tack some 5 years after this less that successful TV effort. The new campaign is to promote the savings from Zuji's dynamic packaging through selling cheap consumables. First beans with toothpaste and toilet paper to come. You don't believe me. Here is the video. I had my mouth open in disbelief watching this campaign outline.

My tip to Zuji - this is not a good idea. It trivialises your brand by associating it with a basic food stuff. In addition you are asking consumers to make a complicated link between the beans and your product. Finally if you think somehow that this is working with beans for the love of marketing do not put your brand on a packet of toilet paper.

At least they are sticking to the famous marketing idiom "if at first you don't succeed spending millions on a Travel Guru idea, then spend more on FMCG". Oh - that's right there is no such idiom.


Anonymous said...

With the price of fuel being so expensive these days , perhaps Zuji users can get a fuel charge rebate if they eat the beans and create enough gas to fuel the plane :)

Stephen Joyce said...

You are bang on Tim. I can hear the water cooler talk now:

Person One: "Boy that Zuji.com sure makes lousy toilet paper."

Person Two: "Yeah, but their beans are delicious".

Person One: "What else do they make?"

Person Two: "I don't know, toothpaste I think."

So much for holiday talk ;-)

Anonymous said...

beanz meanz travel ?

Anonymous said...

your not advertising types so you just dont get it.Who knows maybe see it on Wednesday night on the Gruen transfer show ??

Tim Hughes said...

Gruen Transfer is a great show. Love the ABC

Adam Vance said...

A desperate attempt for relevance. And spoiling my SMH.com.au reading as the big can of beans pops up over the content. Why is it so hard to find the "close" button on those damn adverts!

Anyhow, seeing it's Friday, I tried to work out how beans came about. There is hidden meaning in those letters!

GURU (spooky)

Their next advertising foodstuff will be


Roll on Saturday! Have a good w/e!

Tim Hughes said...

Nice one Adam!

Anonymous said...

Working with Tvly before they fully acquired Zuji meant I saw that spend first hand. Access to that much marketing $$$ would make any startup salivate.

And obviously the agency spending it for them.

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