Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Tantalise Your Tastebuds!

Image via Wikipedia
Yet another mindless radio ad has joined the throng of blithering blipverts, this time from the Meydan Hotel. We’re told their brunch consists of a range of ‘signature cuisines’. I would love someone from the agency to explain what a signature cuisine is because, of course, there is no such thing as a signature cuisine. It’s just something they made up to try and make yet another brunch sound different.

This idea of ‘yet another brunch’ is actually quite important. Resorting to empty, mindless phrases such as ‘signature cuisine’ and ‘tantalise your tastebuds’ (Let alone the awful and much-used ‘satisfy your senses’) tells us that we have here a product with absolutely no differentiation whatsoever. Differentiation is a key competitive concept. At the very definition of a given product, let us say a brunch, the first question to ask is ‘how is this different? How does this give us a competitive edge?’. If the answer is ‘it isn’t’, then we obviously have a problem, Houston. No?

Let us imagine the conversation.

“Boss! I’ve got a great idea! We’re going to do a brunch!”

“Good idea, Carruthers. That’ll use up the Thursday leftovers. How are you going to make it different to the other 250 brunches in Dubai Brunch City?”

“It’s going to be an international buffet, boss.”

“So are all the others.”

“With beverages.”

“All the others do ‘beverages’, Carruthers. That’s why the city fills up with over-dressed, pissed goons in flowery shirts and under-dressed pissed chicks in Coast frocks every Friday afternoon.”

“It’s going to have dishes from all around the world!”

“Yes, but how’s it different, Carruthers. Why should I come to this brunch rather than all the others?”

“It’s going to tantalise your tastebuds, boss! Satisfy your senses! It’s a whole world of cuisines on your doorstep including beverages to delight the whole family! And there’ll be face painting and loads of fun for the kids including a cleaner who’s been forced to dress up as a clown on his day off!”

“Oh, why didn’t you say that in the first place? Brilliant scheme! Approved!”

The problem here is that Carruthers’ whole product is boring, yet another brunch at yet another hotel. If the brunch is unusually good value and offers unusually good food, word of mouth (perhaps supported by some smart PR) will ensure that the brunch becomes popular. But declaiming its merits by squawking the same tired epithets in a fake-excited voice on the radio will not guarantee popularity, let alone raise any level of interest. Much as I’d like to blame the agency, I can’t. It’s the product that’s at fault – unless their brunch is truly, brilliantly differentiated and well positioned within its target market, in which case the agency needs to be shot because its work has failed to communicate one iota of that potential.

A good example of a differentiated product in this sector is the Westin Hotel’s ‘Bubbleicious Brunch’, which offers a package of all you can eat plus Laurent Perrier champagne at Dhs495 a head. I happen to dislike the Westin in a mildly cordial sort of way (I find it hard to get past the architecture, to be honest) and I don’t ‘do’  brunches as a rule, but even I’ve got the message on that one.

By the way, I do happen to believe quite strongly that any copywriter that even considers using the phrase 'tantalise your tastebuds' should be pilloried, flogged and then (but only then) sacked and deported. As should any client weak-minded enough to let them get away with it.
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Anonymous said...

Too true. But it's a positive triumph compared to the Talise spa add which tells is that "women are amongst the most important people in the world".

HE said...

Plus, after 3-4 glasses of bubbly, my taste buds are all over the place and I get headaches in my knees. The last time I was at a all you can drink brunch I decided to leave half way through, my exit statement was "I'm too old for this." I haven't looked back since.

I see you don't do brunches, which is fine. What I find weird though and I've always wanted to bring it up, you've been in the UAE for that long and yet you still reside in Sharjah. Now that is weird. :)

EyeOnDubai said...

Must be the same agency that produced the fake non-converstaion between two "thrusting, dynamic young business execs" for Hawk business pages...


robert said...

Or from the people who interrupt my viewing on Emirates to tell me that Dubai Investments is "Challenging the Norms."

Makes me feel sorry for the Norms!

Luke said...

We came to Dubai in Sep 2008 and found it hilarious how the word "signature" seemed to be used on every property development ad on the radio. This disappeared for a while for obvious reasons. I noticed last month that the word is making a comeback ..... and now this!! It really is pathetic.

I first heard it used as an adjective when refering to a particular hole on a golf course that sums up what the designer was trying to achieve. It seemed like a legitimate use of the word at the time and to tell you the truth I think it is still valid.

But any other use just really grates....

Susan said...

EOD - that wasn't an advertising agency - that was the geniuses at Channel 4

Anonymous said...

I'm very surprised they didn't include a 'Free Mug' in the promotion.

Anonymous said...

My favourite is "to showcase".

Anonymous said...

To my mind, the worst copywriting crime in the UAE is 'To avail this offer...'

Mind you, 'Satisfy your sixth sense' comes close...

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