HBD-Mike2Happy Birthday, Mike. That’s how we opened the conversation on the Industry Insider segment on Drive Live on Sunday 29 May on DubaiEye103.8 FM.

Many have been ranting of late about the demise of mass marketing and how it’s a good thing. You know, where you think broadcasting your message on mass media will promote awareness to a wide audience. Of course, it’s a waste of money since when you try to talk to everyone, you’re likely to be relevant to no-one.

Well, I stumbled upon the apparently-well-known “Happy Birthday, Mike!” approach. Am sure you’ve heard about it in one guise or another:

This man walks up to you in the shopping mall. He looks like a good bloke, dressed a bit like the way your best friends dress when they are trying to impress. He comes up to you, like he knows you from way-back and you rack your brains trying to think how you know this guy. Imagine if he’s going to come up to you and say “Hey, James (or, rather, insert your name here!), it’s been ages, remember when…” and suddenly you do remember. Only this man doesn’t say that. He has all the same mannerisms but he says to you “Happy Birthday, Mike!”. Well (for the sake of this story) it’s not your birthday. And you’re not called Mike.

How do you feel about this man now? Well, I’d feel confused or perhaps suspicious he’s trying to flog me some product or service. Or maybe even steal my wallet.

And that’s the problem today. Brands are now spraying and praying on a one-to-one basis. Taking a niche message and broadcasting to many, digitally. Every time you see an ad, digitally, that isn’t relevant to you, this is an example of the “Happy Birthday, Mike” approach.

Here’s 30 minute podcast of the conversation with me, James Welch, and the show’s presenters, Tim Elliott and Sally Mousa. (Alex Hirschi was ill that day.)

(We don’t actually talk about Mike for long. It’s also about Advertising Standards, Scam Ads, Ad blocking and that racist ad for washing powder in China.)


Click here to listen to the podcast on soundcloud.


This segment was originally on air on Sunday 29 May 2016.
It’s a weekly segment and I’m on once a month…
Tune in live on Sundays, 620pm, Dubai time, http://dubaieye1038.com/listen/
The other industry insiders like JamesP and JonH are far better informed!
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