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The Alpha Course – Marketing Mixed Messages

January 30, 2008

Now, I’m pretty sure that the messages in the course are highly consistant; God is a necessity for a happy & fulfilling life seems to be a general theme within their program, but where I’m actually going is their marketing profile. See, the latest set of billboard ads have left me nothing but confused…

This one, I sort of get. They’re trying to instill in the viewer that there’s more to life than drinking, gambling, and partying. It’s a very moral point of view, according to traditional Christian morals, that is, but it would only appeal to people of a likewise inclination, in that, well, they’re having a lot of fun. To the rest of us, it merely makes me wish that I was the fifth person in this photo; these people are plainly having an absolute blast, and don’t look at all unfulfilled or needing spiritual help. So, really, if I had genuine reason to look that happy all the time, I would have no desire for anything “more” in life. Maybe they should look less happy or something. Again, though, I kinda get this one. They’re trying to tell us that there’s more to life than the Christianally unwholesome lifestyle of drinking, gambling, and partying. Poorly illustrated & delivered, but understandable, at least.

This one, however … this one confuses me more. This is someone at the top of a mountain, experiencing the greatest in natural beauty that the world has to offer, at the top of their game engaged in an activity none could call “unwholesome” in any way, revelling in the pure wonder of the natural (or God-given) beauty of the world … and they want more? Somehow, this just seems greedy. This message misses on so many levels, it just hurts my head. At least the other one seemed to be comparing to something, judging something fun as unwholesome, and telling a (receptive) viewer that they could be a better person, could get more out of life … with the Alpha Course. This ad, well, this ad misses. I don’t get it at all. Really. There’s nothing more wholesome, more spiritually fulfilling than experiencing the pure glory of our planet’s natural wonders, and … the message they want to give is… What? I’m so confused. This is a terrible ad.

The Alpha Course really missed their mark here. Sure, most of their ads are kinda nonsensical, but I’ve been seeing these for ages, and wanted to share with the Internet exactly how terribly thought out and how bizarrely mixed the messages on these ads are. If you get them, let me know, but I’m still at a loss. I really think that they need a new marketing manager – keep the photographer, mind you, they’re brilliant – but the marketing campaign planner / manager needs either a new angle or to give more clarity in the assignment to the brilliant photographer in order to get the desired message across.

(Also, Dear Internet, I’m fully aware that those ad “photos” are photographs of billboards with the required ad photoshopped on in better lighting and differing resolution.)

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