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More than 1.7 million people are living in Europe’s greenest city, the metropolis city of Hamburg, Germany. But there is no smoke without a fire. All of Hamburg’s inhabitants are consumers of a very important service provider: The Sanitation Department of Hamburg, SRH. A civilised cooperation would be unthinkable without the 2,500 men and women who dispose, on average, one million tons of waste annually. Disposal services are multi-million Euro businesses. In 2006, the total output averaged approximately 350 million Euros. In other words, every Hamburg inhabitant paid directly by utility costs or indirectly by taxes, 206 Euros each.1
These costs also include marketing and public relation expenses. At first glance, it is not clear why a public utility (for example, SRH) markets their products because it satisfies basic consumer needs than sophisticated wants. Furthermore, the SRH has a monopoly position. So, in fact, most of its marketing approaches have to be interpreted as community service announcements.
In the second half of 2005, SRH started a campaign in cooperation with the advertisement agency, MKK Werbeagentur GmbH. The Campaign’s overall goal was to reach a wide effect utilising a low budget. The Campaign’s specific aim was to encourage a higher usage rate of the public wastebaskets which had a quite inconspicuous “working life” during the last decades. For example, prior wastebaskets were a “mouse grey” colour and then after the Campaign, they were changed to a “fire red” colour.2 However, there was more changed than just the colours of the wastebaskets, they now also consisted of drawled eyes and naughty written slogans. The change is still taking place. There are still some wastebaskets which do not wear the new provocative outfit.
Hamburg has about 9,000 wastebaskets around the city. Thus, the new image requires an abundance of colour, creativity, and time.3
This paper will analyse the Campaign through the perspective of consumer behaviour purposes. More specifically, it will examine the processes which are able to change consumer behaviour by utilising the key aspects of emotions, cognition, motivation, and attitude.
The most determining variable in the process of activating potential demand for a product or service is the level of consumer involvement. It is the first barrier which has to be negotiated.4 If the marketer is not able to leverage the communicated message, than he or she probably will not achieve the sought after goals. Following the rule of AIDA, results are not attainable since there is no action without attention.
Public goods induce a special problem since many people do not perceive the value of services which appear to be free. On the contrary, the introduction part clearly displayed the costs. Most likely, people underestimate the indirect costs of common services because they do not have the ability of excluding others. For example, a wastebasket is a typical common good. The colour grey was not really an advantage for SRH, especially in such a Nordic and rainy city like Hamburg. The decision for a new colour was more than overdue.
There are more reasons for the increased level of involvement. The colour red is an eye catcher colour, a worldwide symbol for attention. In addition to the colour change, the drawled eyes and the slogans are more important because these items change the impersonal attitude of the consumer towards the wastebasket.5
Once it is sighted by the looker-on, a basis for communication has already been given. The consumer becomes confronted with his own misconduct, perhaps because one just carelessly threw away ones litter or wanted to do so.
The increased involvement may also have to do with MKK’s deliberate manoeuvring of the wastebaskets in Hamburg.6 The marketed object is not a foreigner, but rather it is part of the environment. The patterns are very individual, so location driven moods of the looker-on are congruent with the messages of the common good. The wastebasket’s direct and humorous style leads to an increase of memory. Another reason why an increasingly amount of people use them may be because there are only a few acceptable alternatives of action. Using the bin is the only legal option. The overall social pressures become higher, due to the fact that more people are aware of the wastebasket.
However, there are also some rationales for reduced involvement, such as, the high frequency of contact7 and the majority of short and affective slogans.8
Hence, one has to consider that this Campaign is ever-changing. Especially the usage of language, the attempt to convince the consumer, and the overall creativity of presenting an old product in a new way seem to be the facts which only allow the aforementioned analysis.9
When consumers buy products, they often want more than functional or tangible attributes provided by the product. They also want a good experience, a good emotional response from usage of the product. This is described as “hedonic” benefits of consumption…10
This citation demonstrates how important it is for the marketer to capture the consumer’s emotions. Although human beings are more rational than animals, the roots are still the same. MKK began with the change of colour. In “western society” red is a symbol for strength and vitality. So, this modification seems to be more than just a slight increase on the scale of emotions, especially in comparison to the rather boring “stuck in the middle” colour, grey.11 Because of the higher involvement level, the consumers’ attention is definite. But what about the necessary interest part of AIDA?
“John Doe” usually doesn’t like to bother himself with unpleasant topics. So, he avoids confronting the media which does not share his opinions and personal patterns. This behaviour prevents cognitive dissonance and thus, negative emotions arise.12 As a matter of fact, interest is positively correlated with the amount of positive emotions which are anticipated by the “potential” consumer.
Die Zeiten, wo Bürger mit erhobenem Zeigefinger erzogen werden sollten, sind vorbei. …Alle möchten eine saubere Stadt und wir helfen dabei, denn: Sauber macht lustig.13
The quoted statement makes it clear that the initiators of the campaign have understood the needs of the consumer.
1 http://www.srhh.de/srhh/opencms/Site/ueber_uns/Publikationen/index.html?contact=Publikationen, annual report 2006
2 Tab. 0-1 shows the image change
4 Tab. 1-1
5 See part “cognition & schemata”
6 Tab. 1-2
7 Tab. 1-3
8 This aspect is apparent by regular use of more detailed monologues, e.g. Tab. 1-4
9 Key aspects of this part are derived from Volker Trommsdorff,Konsumentenverhalten (Stuttgart 2003, 5th ed.), 53-57
10 James F. Engel, Roger D. Blackwell, Paul W. Miniard,Consumer Behaviour(Orlando, 1990, 6th ed.), 335
11 John O’Shaughnessy,Why people buy(New York, 1987), 138-139
13 http://www.staedtetag.de/10/presseecke/aus_den_staedten/artikel/2005/05/02/00219/index.html former SRH director Dr. Berend Krüger
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- University of Hamburg – Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
- Wirtschaftsenglisch Business English Konsumentenverhalten Consumer Behaviour Kampagnenanalyse Campaign Analysis Stadtwerke Sanitation department Hamburg Case Study Stadtreinigung Mülleimer Papierkörbe freche Sprüche Wir geben Hamburg einen Korb Sprechblasen Werbeagentur MKK Sauberkeit Involvement Emotions Cognition Motivation Attitude AIDA wastebaskets Versorger public goods öffentliche Güter Allmende schemata social pressure Fallstudie