Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday still holds true. And…more PR gibberish

It’s an old-ish cliche (because it comes from as recently at the 1950s), but nevertheless still holds true in the ultra-competitive and tough auto industry.

“Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” came out of the “stock car” racing in America in the early 1950s, and which developed into the multibillion business which is today NASCAR racing.

The logic was unassailable: if your company’s car got the chequered flag in the events over the weekend, then you could expect buyers in your showrooms on a Monday, looking to share in that aura of success.
So, motorsport has become an enormous sector in the global economy and still remains an effective form of marketing.

The trick to making your sponsorship buck pay, though, is to back it up with awareness campaigns and marketing because, these days, you need to reach the people who can’t get to the events…and you need to stand out among the rest of the marketing messages, which have grown exponentially since the 1950s.

For some years now, Toyota (both internationally and the South African operation) has been pouring a lot of money into campaigning racing versions of its Hilux bakkie. Given that motosport is normally about sports cars, that expenditure would seem counter-intuitive, until you realise that the Hilux is, most months of the year, the biggest-selling vehicle on the South African market.
While it is a motoring industry legend and its fans are some of the most diehard around, Hilux nevertheless has been facing serious competition from the likes of Ford’s Ranger in recent years. Hence the need for Toyota to get the motorsport bragging rights.

This has now paid off handsomely, in what is regarded by many as the toughest motorsport event in the world: the Dakar Rally. In the latest edition, Toyota got two Hiluxes on to the podium, in second and third places. South Africa’s own Giniel De Villiers was piloting the third-placed vehicle.

The feat was even more remarkable because the South African developed and built Hiluxes were up against purpose-built race machines and global players with deep pockets.

All the while, the campaign was backed by messaging in print, TV and online that reinforced the image of the Hilux as tough and capable. Toyota’s long-time ad agency, FCB Joburg, provided that work.

For the men who are by far the bulk of the customers for bakkies in this country, the Hilux win will mean bragging rights in the pub and a chance to put one over on the Ford supporters. But it will also mean sales in the showrooms.

So, it’s money well spent and astute marketing. Orchids to Toyota and to FCB Joburg.

My sweet, charming (ha ha) daughter gave me a simple Christmas present: a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Grumpy old git”. So, bear that in mind when I tell you I am again having a go at atrocious use of English in a marketing context.

This particular pearler appeared on the bizcommunity website and was – or at least appeared to be – a piece of PR fluff about how to put together a PR strategy for the hospitality industry.

Given that the only person quoted was one Jade Allen, managing director of Red Carpet Concepts, one has to assume that said press release was put together by her or one of her minions as a way of marketing her company. (And in this case, I don’t think it is the responsibility of the website to edit such copy…)

The last paragraph ran as follows: “For well written, compelling stories journalists and copywriters key to the field will have a better understanding of the internal workings of the media and a good harness of what will grasp the customers’ attention.”

That is exactly as it appeared on the site.

I challenge anyone with more than a nodding grasp of English to translate that paragraph for me.

I have passed it along to a number of PR people in the industry whose views I respect and all have been baffled.

Anyone can make mistakes.  However, if you are publicising yourself or your brand, you need to double check everything. And then get someone else to double check you.

There can only be two explanations for this, neither of which reflects particularly well on Red Carpet Concepts. First, the sentence was the way you intended it. Second, there was a mistake, but no-one checked or no-one noticed.

And people wonder why cynical old journalists (gits?) like me rant on about the lack of professionalism in the PR industry. Onion for Red Carpet Concepts. Oh, and if any of you out there can translate that, let me know. Or if you have seen other, similar, language outrages –


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