Magazine article Marketing

Eurostar's Great Train Marketing Disaster Runs On

Magazine article Marketing

Eurostar's Great Train Marketing Disaster Runs On

Article excerpt

Financial disasters don't just happen, mistakes are required. And for the disaster to be truly epic, everyone must contribute - including marketers. In this way, even if the idea is good, fortunes will be lost by all concerned. And by all concerned I mean you and me.

The Channel Tunnel and associated ventures are a fine example. The sums invested are colossal, with no end in sight. As I write, the world's sorriest groupie, John Prescott, has just brought things to yet another juddering halt, though they're now so far advanced they can't possibly be abandoned, And who will cough up, yet again? The taxpayers (you and me) and the shareholders (you and me, either directly or through pension funds).

You can't fault the politicians. From the start they have imposed restrictions on shifty vote-getting grounds. But since this is about marketing let us turn to Eurostar which is, let me emphasise, a good service, despite the most over-priced snacks on earth.

Thirty-odd years ago, Bill Bernbach said that one average campaign run for ten years will do better than ten brilliant campaigns, one a year. But what if you run a series of lousy campaigns? Or worse, you stumble on a good campaign but stop running it? Eurostar did, briefly, run good ads about destinations - often the best way of selling travel - but lost their nerve and abandoned it.

"Ugh" is the reaction many customers will have to one of their current ads, because that is what they are most likely to see, in the top-left corner, where research shows readers usually look first. …

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