AdvertisingBlogs & CommentFeatured

Ramsey Naja: Selling fishing gear to people who don’t fish

Campaign Middle East columnist Ramsey Naja warns of the dangers of over-targetting

I often hear that the cornerstone of media planning – the principle that underpins the entire media galaxy and its delusional targeting imperative – is that there is no point in selling fishing gear to people who don’t fish.

Well, gee, thanks. You don’t need to ask an ad professional to tell you this.

But if you do bother to ask an ad professional – and if you let that ad professional do their job properly – they will tell you that there is, in fact, a very good point in doing exactly that. And that point is growth.

I once bought what is referred to as a Brando jacket. Yeah, it was a long time ago and, no, I didn’t buy it simply because it was just a leather jacket worn by a Hollywood icon.

I bought it because it was much more than that. That jacket was a monument. It was The Wild One and Born To Be Wild rolled into one. It was a promise of rebellion, of a shady, sexy lifestyle, of open highways and wide countryside, of slow burn and fast women. A rock ‘n roll lifestyle, in other words.

Biker boy

Well, to cut a long story short, not much of the above happened.  Nothing, that is, until someone asked if I had the motorcycle to go with it.

So I bought the motorcycle. And the riding lessons. And the rest of the gear and the accessories and the modified exhaust pipes and the lifestyle that goes with it all until, years later, I had become a bona fide, moto magazine-reading, tyre-pressure checking, grime-collecting and grease-chewing member of the racing motorcycle fraternity, with all the cross-continental trips, irate finger-waving bystanders, near-death experiences and metal prosthetics to show for it.

Photo by Gaspar Zaldo on Unsplash

Now, according to today’s targeting-obsessed media, that young man who had hitherto shown zero interest in the category, would have represented a glitch, an aberration.

But the reality was that I represented nothing less than the potential growth of the motorcycling lifestyle market. More significantly, the brands I chose were brands that had a, well, familiar ring to it. Brands I had seen advertised without me ever being remotely a natural target of that advertising.

Brands that adorned racing cars I had watched as a child. Brands that simply chose to be noticed. Brands, in other words, that made their presence felt to the general public and who pursued wide fame ahead of narrow and immediate commercial gratification.

When our comms are strictly aimed at those in need for our products – micro-targetted, in other words – we forget those who might simply want them, desire them even.

We forget those who get into motorcycling because of a stupid accessory bought on a whim or those who take up basketball because of pair of trainers with a story to tell.

We forget the principle of widening the market instead of fighting for the same turf. And we forget that, if you are marketing fishing gear, it is a damn sight easier to get ordinary people to try their hand at fishing than change the mind of a fishing aficionado.