Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Novel ideas

I'm still trying to get my head around this one. Electrolux the novel.

Marketing ran a story yesterday about Electrolux's errr…novel idea to attract male consumers to its brand by commissioning a novel, 'Men in Aprons', to tell the story of two twentysomething men and their approach to relationships, work and domestic life.

It's not a bad idea, I can alsmost see how it happened. It was probably sold to some brand manager at Electrolux as a great way of reaching those hard-to-get young men.

However, the problem is that it's the women in that age group do all the reading and do twentysomething men really spend any time thinking about white goods or relationships for that matter.

Some, but really not many. I could be completely wrong. It happens.

Apparently there's no mention of Electrolux in the story, but the cover shows a man wearing an Electrolux-branded apron. That'll be a front cover ad.

There is a paragraph on the inside cover that talks about the brand's offering. Offering. A word I have come to dislike. Everyone has an offering. My personal offering is, of course, my needed sarcasm.

Which I can't help applying to the suggestion that they expect people to pay £6.99 for this effort. Maybe it will be the next War and Peace, you know, the spin wars.

Electrolux is not the first to try this. Ford paid chick lit author Carole Matthews, writer of 'A Whiff of Scandal', to feature the Ford Fiesta in her next two books in an attempt to target young women.

The car features in her paperback 'The Sweetest Taboo'. She went so far as saying she owned a Fiesta that she calls Flossie. What is it with women and car names?

The former SAS soldier turned best-selling thriller writer Andy McNab has been at it as well. McNab signed a two-year sponsorship deal with watchmaker Traser that ensures that he promotes the watches in his thrillers along with a host of other products. Unfortunately you can't actually buy AKs, HKs or IWs.

And it all started, at least I think it did, with Bulgari, the Italian jewellers, which around five years ago broke new ground in the sponsorship field by paying novelist Fay Weldon to mention its brand in her work. This resulted in a novel The Bulgari Connection.

It's all a bit much really, okay I get the struggling writer thing (though clearly McNabb and Weldon are hardly struggling), but washing machines?

I'm thinking of doing it as well. I'm going to start dropping product names into my Gordon's Breakfast book, but only appropriate brands, of course.


At 5:30 PM, Anonymous the online pixie said...

Could we sell ad space in your novel gordie?


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