The first examines the choice marketers must make on whether to become the "predator or the prey", while the second outlines lessons marketers can draw from the success of the Michelin Guide.
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Robert Stanford-Tuck was a Second World War fighter ace.
In just two years he shot down around 30 enemy planes.
In 1940 it looked pretty obvious that
Mussolini decided to bring
So they’d get a share of the spoils.
And so Mussolini mounted a bombing raid on
This seemed to be working for the Luftwaffe, and he wanted to show that the Italian Air Force could do it too.
Robert Stanford-Tuck’s squadron was scrambled to meet the air raid.
He remembers being surprised that these weren’t the big
ugly bombers, with black crosses on, he was used to seeing.
They were slow, old-fashioned, three-engine aeroplanes.
And they were protected not by deadly Messerschmitt
fighters, but by elegant little biplanes.
Very pretty and manoeuvrable.
But slow and under-gunned.
The Italian planes were ripped to shreds by the battlehardened RAF.
When he ran out of ammunition, one of the Polish pilots even used his propeller to chew the top wing off an Italian biplane.
It was a massacre.
After landing it was customary for a pilot to inspect any kills he’d made.
So Stanford-Tuck got in his little sports car and went looking for the Italian bomber he’d shot down.
When he got to it, he found it had crash-landed in a field.
Stanford-Tuck was used to inspecting Dorniers and Heinkels after he’d shot them down.
Vicious killing machines, where every square centimetre was taken up by weapons, ammunition, dials, instruments and bombs.
But when he got into the Italian bomber he was shocked.
It wasn’t like that at all.
There was lots of space to move around.
The seating was comfortable.
There was only a small bomb bay.
The rest of the room was taken up with food hanging from the inside of the aircraft.
Bottles of Chianti, bread, salami, pastrami, cheeses.
Stanford-Tuck said he began to feel strangely guilty.
That he’d shot them down unfairly.
They were just out for a day trip.
They thought they’d fly around for a bit, drop a few bombs,
and come home to a hero’s welcome.
It seemed they were not part of the serious business of war.
I feel like that about a lot of clients.
They’re not part of the serious business of advertising.
Of taking market share from their competitors.
They just want to make a nice commercial that everyone likes.
Or do some nice online films that might go a little bit viral.
Something that everyone quite likes.
But nothing too controversial.
Not messages that will upset the competition.
Not anything that will make anyone uncomfortable.
They don’t really want to make waves.
They don’t want to cause a fuss.
They don’t really want to fight.
Which suggests they’re in the wrong job.
Because marketing, like war, is a zero-sum game.
If you want something you have to take it from someone else.
In order for someone to win, someone has to lose.
Adam Morgan described it as ‘like a knife-fight in a phone box’.
There isn’t anywhere to hide.
There isn’t any place for bystanders.
Everyone has to choose.
Do they want to be the predator or the prey?
Like the Italian Air Force.
The Michelin Guide is the most influential indicator of a restaurant’s quality.
If a restaurant has a single Michelin star it can charge pretty much what it wants.
If it has two Michelin stars the queue will be round the block.
If it has three Michelin stars you’ll have to book a year ahead.
The great chefs train their whole lives to achieve, and then hang on to, Michelin stars.
But the Michelin Guide didn’t start out as a guide to cuisine.
It started out as a way of selling tyres.
In 1900 the Michelin brothers owned a tyre company in
They wanted to sell more tyres.
And, in order to do that, they needed to get drivers to wear down the ones they had.
So in 1900 they issued the first Michelin Guide.
It showed all the great things to see and do around
It encouraged people to get out in their cars and drive to all these places.
It featured a list of sights to see, places to buy petrol, places to stay.
The locations of garages, mechanics.
And, being French, good places to eat.
So the Michelin Guide wasn’t originally just about restaurants.
It was a list of reasons to travel.
That’s why the original meaning of the star rating for restaurants was as follows.
1 star: worth stopping for.
2 stars: worth a detour.
3 stars: worth a special journey.
The guide was a phenomenal success.
So much so that it had to be printed and updated regularly due to demand.
But its popularity created its own problems.
Originally, when they started the guide, it was given away for free.
They updated it every year at their own cost.
As a marketing tool, it seemed a good investment.
But after about 20 years it had stopped being a novelty.
It was taken for granted.
One of the brothers spotted a pile of Michelin Guides in a garage forecourt.
Being used to prop up a table.
He was outraged.
It wasn’t being treated with respect.
Because people don’t value things that come too easily.
So the brothers stopped giving it away for free.
They began charging for it.
It meant there were fewer in circulation.
And because they had to be bought, people looked after them.
They wouldn’t loan them, or throw them away.
All of this had the effect of making it more respected.
More of an authority.
And the Michelin Guide assumed a life of its own.
Away from anything to do with tyres, or motoring, or garages.
Now consumers looked to it for guidance on a restaurant’s quality.
This meant chefs fought to get into it, and they fought for higher ratings.
The successful ones, loving awards, displayed their stars prominently.
Consumers, seeing that top chefs took it seriously, treated it as an authority.
The Michelin Guide is a great example of Choice Architecture.
Pull-thinking rather than push-thinking.
Instead of constantly nagging people to use your product, it
shows them something they’d love to do.
Something that needn’t even involve mentioning your product.
And, if you get it right, you might create something that’s so
good it takes on a life of its own.
In which case you’ve not only got a great piece of marketing.
You’ve got a whole new business.