I have to admit that it’s embarrassing enough to think about it, and it was really hard to talk about it, and it’s even worse writing about it and it feels like I’m telling the whole world about one of my biggest mistakes of the year.
But, there’s a marketing lesson for you, and a question I want to ask you. So, be it.
It was sunday morning. I looked at the clock on the kitchen wall. It was seven am. My daughter was barely awake. She was in the shower, waiting for her breakfast. I pushed her out the door, as soon as she had finished eating. Into the cold dark morning. The wind pushed her inside the car. It was nothing like the road trip with my five year old son. I was driving her to a game of handball, and it felt like I was doing it in the middle of the night.
I heard a terrible and loud sound as soon as I turned on the engine. I tried to cover my ears, but the sound stopped as soon as my hands left the stearing wheel. Oh no, I said. We were running late, and I discovered that the cry from the car was to let me know that I had to fill up the car with gas.
I drove to a shell station, the closest to our house. My daughter was inside, still freezing, waiting for the heat to be turned on. I was standing outside, looking for my wallet, when I started reading all the various signs. One brighter than the other, and some of them huge. What fascinated me, wasn’t the bright signs or the size of the signs, but I couldn’t find regular gas, unleaded gas, or diesel anywhere. The names were different, and all I was thinking was, did they only change the names and is the content identical to before?
I was entering a different world. My daughter was inside the car, still freezing, and I was the marketing guy, filling up my car with gas. And suddenly it hit me, I was suppose to fill up the car with diesel. I stopped. I looked at the gas pump, and I wanted to start screaming… a lot louder than any scream I had ever heard.
Why I entered the world of marketing
Yes. It’s embarrassing, and it’s all my fault. I don’t blame the early sunday morning or Shell. I blame the marketing guy inside me. I just want to tell you this brief story about why I didn’t focus on what I should have been focusing on.
Let me show you two pictures I found at Flickr. Don’t think about the man and the woman. Think about the sign, and tell me, why isn’t gas just gas, and diesel just diesel anymore? Why do we need new fancy names that doesn’t mean a thing to me. What does V-Power and FuelSave even mean?
This is probably nothing new, but it’s new to me.
Is FuelSave just a marketing trick?
Is V-Power just a marketing trick?
What’s in a name?
How important is a name change like this? To me, gas will always be gas, and diesel will always be diesel, why do they have to change the names? Do you believe that we will start buying gas from Shell, because they have a cool name for the gas? It’s probably true though, because a company like Shell won’t do something like this if it doesn’t work.
I don’t drive a lot. I usually walk, and I walked 30 minutes just to be online during my summer vacation. I really enjoy walking. Now, thinking about what I just did at the gas station, it’s going to be a while until I drive my car again. I blame marketing, but it’s really my fault.