The biggest marketing fail.

I looked through the window to see three suited men standing at my gate armed with books and small suitcases. In the speed of light I was on the floor, and had leopard-crawled behind the nguni ottoman. The comrades trained by the Russians in the days of the struggle would have learned a thing or two about stealth right there.

The intercom buzzed annoyingly, three more times. Had they spotted me? My car in the driveway was a dead giveaway.
I peeked out of the corner of the window, hoping that the sun’s glare on the glass would prevent detection from the men intent on persuading me politely that I was wrong and that they were right. Yes, the witnesses of Jehovah.

072I looked around, my eyes settling on the petulant lovebird. For a brief moment I imagined her dive-bombing them mercilessly at the gate. She has been known to draw blood and even I am scared of her. But she whistled angrily back at me, pausing only briefly in her assault on my chocolate brownie.

Next I looked down at my Saturday best; woolly gown over my sleep shorts and tee. My white scaly winter legs disappearing into thick socks and rugged crocs. My black rimmed coke-bottle-bottom glasses perched on my nose. Perhaps I should go down to the gate like this, OMG, I looked a sight!

I felt uncomfortable in my own home, feeling guilty for avoiding confrontation, or at the very least, interaction. My chilled Saturday morning had been reduced to a re-run of The Cosby Show; a tired old comedy with a punchline we’ve all heard before. There is a special place in hell…

Before I go any further please let me set the record straight. This isn’t a blog about religion, not in the least. I do not judge a Jehovah’s Witness on their particular brand of faith. There is a lot I admire, pugnacious tenacity and persistence in the face of extreme rejection is right up there.

No, the only thing I judge is their marketing strategy.

“What right do you have to judge at all”, I hear you say. Violate my private space repeatedly and thrust your religion, faith, doctrine, koeksusters, belief, brooms, ideology or green mielies down my throat, and I will judge. Trust me, I will judge. No matter who you are or what you are selling.

The objective behind any marketing campaign is to broaden the support base of the relevant brand. Any half decent marketing guru will be quick to point out that doing anything that is highly likely to dissuade people from your brand is a futile exercise. Actually, futile is kind.

beware of the dog

Beware of the dog

This is where the Jehovah’s Witness campaign loses me. I am not alone in saying that I’d rather Veet my privates than engage in vigorous religious debate with a stranger in my home on a Saturday. And debating is a pastime I am particularly partial to.

As a result of these sales tactics the religion is the target of more judgement and more jokes than any other. It’s probably the religion I am sadly the least interested in learning about.

I am sure that there are reasons behind the strategy, perhaps ideology and a higher instruction. But I couldn’t care less. Please don’t bother to explain.
You lost me the minute you arrived at my gate hoping to convert me to your way of thinking. And you rang the intercom 4 times, what are YOU thinking?

For gods sakes stop committing marketing suicide – there are no celestial virgins waiting.

Have you ever been in one of those relationships with a woman (Maybe some men do this too…) who insists on making things as bad as she possibly can? Plumbing the depths of relationship hell. And the psychology behind the strategy is that if you still want to be with her, despite the dreadfulness of her behaviour, then you REALLY must love her. It’s a test of your love.

You know where I’m going with this don’t you. That one convert, the one out of 237 642, has to be a real believer. Put them off as much as you can, and then…then…if they STILL convert…

img1This blog would be nothing more than a rant if I didn’t at the very least offer an alternative. I believe that there are powerful lessons contained here for anybody who markets a product or a brand.

My suggestion is a massive worldwide campaign; billboards, TV ads, print media – no scrap that, print is dead – online ads, anything and everything else telling the world that the Saturday knocking sales pitches have stopped, the divine number has been attained.

At the same time thanking those who heeded the divine call. The good news to be shared is that the Big J has filled his – or is it her? – quota of converts and that there is no more space on the river boat to the afterlife.

Lastly a sincere wish of good luck to those who have not heeded the call, but regrettably the boat is full. Bye bye, take care now and thanks for not coming.

See what we’ve done? Created a fear of loss.
And that my friends, is marketing 101.

If you do not have my product, your life is over.

Make them come to you… or become the butt of someone’s joke…

What does Hannibal Lecter call a Jehovah’s Witness?

Free delivery.