Case Study: CocinoMalo.com

I'm going to claim a technicality and say that this really isn't a website review. Because I know I owe everyone a review of DóndeEs.com, but when you're as cool as we are, it's hard to gain any objectivity. So I once again beg your indulgence. Let's say this is really about business, online marketing, marketing, and promotion in general.

Over the last couple of months, it's been hard to miss all of the advertising for a new website, CocinoMalo.com. I personally saw billboards, newspaper ads, and email blasts promoting the web site with the curious and engaging burnt toast logo. If you never visited the website, let's bring everyone up to speed.

CocinoMalo.com is a contest where you can nominate someone to win cooking lessons. I know when I first started seeing the ads, I thought, hmm, I guess someone started a new food delivery service. But no, it is a contest, hence the "Nomínala" slogan that accompanies most of the adds, duhhh. The contest was open from September 26th through October 10th. So now that you know, sorry, the contest is closed, although the website is still accepting nominations.

So here's where it gets interesting. Oh and by the way, the contest and website are sponsored by Unilever. Which after we go through this I bet they weren't. After many weeks of advertising, how did the contest do? Well as of today, there are 320 contestants registered. Nope, I didn't leave out any zeros. Now if we accept that there are 1.3 million Internet users in Puerto Rico, that comes to 2.4615384615384615384615384615385e-4 percent of the population. Damn, you need scientific notation to comprehend that number. Let's generalize and say that the campaign sucked horribly, or it sucks to you, if you are the campaign manager at the agency (EJE Sociedad Publicitaria) or brand manager responsible for this tragedy.

So what went wrong? They had the kind of advertising exposure many campaigns, products, and companies dream of, but they still failed. Now while this is all speculation, I'll just say that I might be wrong....but I'm not. There are three main problems with this campaign:

  1. Advertising is broken - I'm sure everyone around me gets sick of hearing about this, but in my considerably well read research, advertising as we know it is dead. I'm not saying that it can not be done effectively, I'm merely saying that what most everyone accepts as gospel, I refute. While there are a gazillion people doing it, selling it, and believing that it isn't dead, I'm quite certain that most advertising investments are wasted.

    I'm sure you're wondering what did MC Don Dees ingest before writing this, let's just call it the red pill. And to take a page from biker lore (no not bicycles people), if I have to explain it to you, you wouldn't understand. For as long as you (and you don't know who you are, that's sort of the problem) continue to choose the blue pill I will continue to sound like a heretic.

    Now it certainly is bashing some very low hanging fruit, let's just measure the CocinoMalo.com campaign. For whatever they paid for all of their advertising, they got 320 participants. So you see, the advertising campaign didn't work. Therefore advertising is dead, broken. Word to the wise, part of the problem with advertising is that it is so poorly measured. So it's really understandable why people still think it is the way to go.

  2. Mixed message - Now hear me out. Advertising, or promotion if you prefer, can still be very effective if it is done correctly, intelligently, strategically. I ask you though, does it make sense to advertise a website when you are not in front of a computer? The potential lag time between seeing a billboard or newspaper advertisement and sitting before a computer could be hours maybe days. Clearly the answer is NO! We need to stop advertising online products and services in an offline medium. It wasn't until October 4th that I received an email blast advertising for the CocinoMalo.com website. That was probably much too little and much too late.

  3. Fundamental lack of knowledge - Since there was little or no online advertising for the website, I think the primary reason the campaign failed is due to a fundamental lack of understanding about how the Internet works. Of course what can you expect from an agency that either doesn't have a website or it is so poorly optimized as to not be found by Google? While the CocinoMalo.com website did have a share feature, I'm not aware of anything else the campaign did to generate any online buzz, in short, totally clueless.
Now there could be one other reason that factored into this catastrophe. Maybe the whole concept was really lame. Maybe the crappy flash (crashy?) application wasn't enough to generate enough buy in. Looking at their traffic, I'd say they had a lot more people visit the site than signed up. Contests are usually pretty popular, in general, so who knows? Maybe a better prize package might have helped?