Bad jokes make for poor marketing when disadvantaged are the target

Marketing is a pretty simple process. There are some core rules which when followed, make it difficult to mess things up. When entering a new market, it’s important to develop a campaign that is culturally sensitive.

Not that this mattered to Energia, an energy company that wants to sell electricity to Irish families. It’s entire marketing team appears to have slept through all the core marketing lessons…and it shows in their work.

One of the essential rules of marketing is that humour can be a big risk. When entering a market for the first time (in this case the residential electricity market), it’s usually a good idea to put one’s best foot forward, tell the target audience of one’s key benefits and do it through standard marketing channels. Again, it’s back to those simple rules; state the benefits and state them often. If you want humour, sponsor a comedy festival!

There’s no shortage of topics to poke fun of in Ireland. The weather is a good starting point. With endless damp, cold nights, there are so many angles with which to have some fun…and sell kilowatts of cheap electricity in the process.

Cows! Now there is another. Did you know there are 6.2 Million cows in Ireland? Compared to the 4.6 Million people here, cows are in the majority. What creative mind couldn’t poke some fun at that! Imagine if cows decided to unionize and look for better work conditions…and warmer homes! What potential for a really unique campaign, especially for an electricity company looking to moooove some watts!

Yet Energia decided to ditch the rules. Instead of playing it safe, it pursued the worst marketing strategy in Ireland.

Creativity wasn’t on the radar. Instead, it decided to poke some fun at, wait for it…losing a job! Yes, Energia’s entire marketing team see humour in being made redundant.

HELLO!!! Has anyone in the Energia marketing team read the papers recently (or within the last 5 years for that matter)? 400,700 people are without a job in Ireland! The country is still in the midst of an unemployment crisis. Hardly the fodder for a bit of a laugh just to sell some cheap electricity! And it’s not just those that have lost a job but the countless youth that have failed to actually get one in the first place.

Piece of advice Energia. Ditch the marketing team, ditch the agency and focus on informing the public of your core benefits.

In the meantime, pink slips for the marketing team, now what a laugh that would be!

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