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Marketing Gone Mad

December 22, 2006

You have to wonder if we can even seduce ourselves. The strategies and methods used to seduce customers has become a craft – a carefully taught and finely-tuned craft.

Charles H. Green writes about seduction today in his blog – the Trusted Advisor. Green is the author of two books about selling – “Trust-Based Selling: Using Customer Focus and Collaboration to Build Long-Term Relationships” – and “The Trusted Advisor” (co-written with David H. Maister).

Today Mr. Green tells us about a remarkable new product from the Coca-Cola Company. His article is called, “Coke, Green Tea and Trust.” It tells the story of Enviga, a new product from Coke and Nestle that offers: “Burn a Few Extra Calories – Enviga is a precise balance of ingredients that have been proven to invigorate your metabolism helping you burn more calories.” There’s much more, but I just can’t bring myself to print any more of their marketing twaddle. You can read it for yourself by going to the Enviga site at www.enviga.com.

Green also quotes from a Coke company representative:
“In no way, shape or form are we suggesting that Enviga is a weight loss beverage.”
Dr. Rhoda Applebaum, Coke’s chief scientist

Do the above statements (article and web site) create a trust issue for you? Sit back and let the drink do the work, we are told. Coke even claims a new term called “drink negative.” You see, because Enviga has only 5 calories and it burns more than that while you’re watching Monday Night Football, you’ll actually…

Here’s what will happen to the poor folks who fall for this bunk. They’ll stay fat and Coke will stay rich.

The way Charles writes about the questions of trust raised by the Enviga campaign made me think. What should persuasion be used for? What is the place of the power of persuasion for the rest of us – for speakers, writers, entrepreneurs and professionals?

Consider these “seven core values” that guide the Poynter Institute (a journalism ethics organization in Florida that we’ve written about before): “accuracy, independence, interdependence, fairness, transparency, professional responsibility, and helpfulness.”

We’ll leave it to you to rate Coke’s Enviga campaign against these seven core values. Better yet, rate your own marketing efforts against these values. If there is room for improvement maybe Charles Green’s article will motivate you to improve where you feel you need to. Maybe his article will even get Coca-Cola to improve. But, don’t hold your breath.

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One comment

  1. Thanks for highlighting my blog about trust, Enviga and Coke.
    I think the 7 values you cite here are admirably specific and tangible. Too often we hear companies talk about “values” without being able to name one. By contrast, these are thoughtful, and clearly consciously arrived at.
    Your suggestion is a good one, to use those values as a marker against which to evaluate specific campaigns.



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