I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published February 1st 2017
Billy goat sales power
I just took 16 advertising catalogues from my letterbox. The ads were for everything from groceries, clothes, supermarkets, shops, exercise classes, cars, outdoor patios, alcohol, school supplies, kindergarten enrolments and lots of other things. I like to scan them, but I never buy anything, and I worry about the trees.
Many of them don't relate to me at all. Businesses using these flyers can't count how many people buy things they see in the catalogues, although thy may be able to assess an increase in sales after a mail drop for specific items.
I also get heaps of advertising material through email and facebook. I ignore most of them, but some deals are good. I've bought a lantern, metal detector and walking poles for bushwalking through Kogan, and I've booked a short holiday at Binna Burra at Lamington National Park through Scoopons. I try and buy things online through the Qantas mall to get Qantas frequent flyer points so I don't loose my points. I had about 130,000 points and lost them all because I had no activity for 18 months. At the time I was really busy at work and didn't have time to open my non-work related emails. So I was shocked and very upset when I did open one to find my points were all gone.
At the time I tried to get them back but didn't have any success, but when a friend told me she had sent and received an email from Qantas boss Alan Joyce, I emailed him and got all my points back. Now I just need to work out which country I will travel to and use those points.
The best adverting story I ever heard was using a large Billy goat called "Stinky Poo" to promote a play in Townsville in the early 1900's. It was in the days before TV, Internet and mass marketing. Joe Clark, an old 86-year-old man I met told me he used to work as a stage boy in the Stanley Theatre in Stanley Street. The JC Williamson comedy "Are you a Mason" was booked at the theatre for a week. The Manager told Joe to hire a Billy goat. He got "Stinky Poo" from a friend. He was a large animal with huge corkscrew horns, which Joe painted red and white like a barber's pole. The Manager put a flannel cloth across him with the advert "Are you a Mason" on it. He also put a piece of tin with a square and compass painted on it and attached a halter so Joe could lead him through town. Joe and Stinky Poo stopped the town. All the local kids followed them, buses waited till they got through and Stinky Poo saw a nanny goat near Hayles ferry and started giving his snort/blurt mating cry. By this time there was a huge following including the nanny goat. It was very successful marketing. The Theatre was packed out every night for the week. Joe was the town joke for weeks afterwards, and all the local kids could imitate the goat's mating call, much to their mother's disgust.
In 1986 the Townsville Bulletin published my story about the goat that "stopped the town".
I think today's advertisers could learn from that innovative approach. I wonder what they could do to stop Brisbane in its tracks! Some companies advertise by having competitions, giveaways, TV advertisements, facebook-sponsored ads and newspaper ads and company websites.
I think the most successful ads are ones targeted to specific audiences. I get a lot of ads for back to school supplies and kindergartens, but I don't have any children at home.
There is a problem now because there are so many scams around people have lost trust in entering competitions, unless they are from a trusted source because they fear giving their data away.
American rapper The Game visits Culture Kings Brisbane store
Someone I know who looks at online car sites a lot recently bought a galloping horse emblem from America for his Subaru car grill. He said he couldn't afford the Ford Mustang so he bought their horse emblem instead. He found it on eBay.
Many companies use facebook to get a large following to promote their products.
There are also things businesses can use like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Pay Per Click (PPC) and Google AdWords, Google Plus and Ad Assistant. Some of these can count how often their business pages get clicked onto. There are lots of online agencies and media companies around to help businesses get the best out of these computer technologies.
There are also lots of low cost or free places to advertise including Gumtree, Ebay, Craigslist, Backpage, Classified Youtube Chanel, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo and Pinterest. You can also have your own blog page or donate some of your products to charity for publicity. My local library sends out emails to writers to write book reviews. The book author gets publicity and the reviewer gets a free book.
Some companies employ writers to write their advertising material. There is a whole industry, which connects businesses with writers. I met a couple of women writers who have done work through these agencies. One Brisbane woman I met rewrote a brochure for an American Architect from Texas. Another writer spent a whole day writing information material comparing robotic vacuum cleaners. She said it was a lot of work and she only made $30. There are a lot of these sites online. I have heard about Freelancer, Scripted, Airtasker, Copify, Ndash and SourceBottle. I tried to sign up to write for Scripted but failed their application test. They said I didn't adhere to "all required guidelines", and I used "some awkward phrases" throughout my application. I guess I'd better not try to become a copywriter. I think I was trying to be too creative and quirky.
I've met experienced journalists, who used to work for major newspapers that are now struggling trying to make a living out of copy writing advertising material.
The Brisbane Culture Kings warehouse recently burnt down, but the young entrepreneur owners had another one up and running within days. The company has grown from a small shop at Southport to shops in Brisbane CBD, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and a new one at Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast. They also have a large online business.
This famous StreetWare Company uses great marketing for their target audience by having celebrities visit the stores. They also have live DJs playing music and trendy barbershops onsite. There is even a basketball court at their newest shop at Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast.
I don't think Brisbane would allow a sex crazed Billy goat like Stinky Poo to walk up Queen Street giving his mating call, but I have seen Culture Kings stop the town with some of their visiting celebrities including American and Australian rappers, singers, basketball players and well known personal trainers including "The Game, Timomatic, Chris Brown, Anderson Paak, Mac Miller, Wayland Brothers, Dizzy Wright and Reece Hawkins.
American singer Chris Brown at Culture Kings Brisbane