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The Anti-climax

July 5, 2006

I’m no marketing guru. In fact, I’m no marketing graduate – yet. But I do believe I have every experience and common consumer sense to criticize the marketing foundation of Shell’s newest gas product.

1. Teaser. Get ready for the power of red sounds so ambiguous. At first, I thought that it was gonna be a new energy drink. Red energy drink? Bad brand name. V energy drink? Worse, especially since no matter how much cash you’re gonna spend, V will always be nothing more but the Star for all Seasons and the pretty mayor of Lipa for most Filipinos. But soon enough, I thought of gas because a certain Flying V came to mind. By then, I got excited because I have always wanted the smaller gas companies to pack a punch and hurt the evil big three (read as Shell, Petron, and Caltex) once and for all. Moreover, I was beginning to hear the radio teasers as well where one could hear a car purr at the end of its 30-sec spot. So you can just imagine my dismay when I realized that though it’s a product for your car, it’s for a very greedy multinational corporation. Hehehe.

2. Product. I know, I know. Perhaps the aim for this campaign is not really to successfully launch a new product but to become a part of Marketing student’s future case studies probably entitled: What Went Wrong? First of all, the V branding is really, really stupid: 1. As mentioned above, V is a woman and she enjoys dancing in sequined skirts; 2. There is a competitor called fucking Flying V! Where are the brains, people? I know how much you guys are getting paid and frankly I am quite mystified why you did nothing about the brand name. Why not call it V-Power just like they do in Singapore?

Maybe it’s just having too much Al Ries in me to even think I could do better. Heck, my own product is not even really really out in the market yet. But perhaps, you don’t need to be a Marketing genius to realize this clear faux pas. Yes, this decision might come all the way from the top headquarters mandating all regional locations to walk this way or else. However, given the gravity of the situation, I am quite sure at least one person in top management would actually hear you out. Think of McDo and Jollibee. McDo Philippines is now officially no longer mandated to follow the Ronald McDonald Handbook. But then again, it’s Jollibee we’re talking about. Flying V is not yet a Flying Bee.

Finally, a premium gas suitable for – *collective gasp* – Ferraris? Look around people, how many Ferraris can you see? And even if one has a Ferrari and the money to buy gas that is priced higher than usual, we don’t have much driving space to enjoy the luxury. We are sadly a motorist’s horror as one bumper touches another during one of my favorite oxymorons: rush hour. Yes, one could always go to Tagaytay or Batangas or Baguio just to quench the need for speed, but practicality would always inevitably knock some sense even among the country’s most pathetic rice boys. And even if Bayani Fernando will make it a twisted scheme for traffic reduction to only allow Ferraris to drive on Fridays (thus Ferrari Fridays) it’s still a third world country. We don’t have much purrrchasing power for a Ferrari-compatible fuel (pun intended).

3. On-Line. No official website before the launch? I could understand that. Perhaps you wanted the lack of info to spike up the interest? But after, still no darned website? I wouldn’t even click on the second page of Google’s search results. And oh – not all consumers are smart enough to go check Shell’s homepage. And just in case, there’s not even an ounce of info regarding the product in the Philippine website. I got that V-Power image from the Singapore version.

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