Caxton, in its battle with Paarl Media and its Shopper’s Friend product, has published statements that have pulled FGI and my personal name into the fray. In order to discredit Shopper’s Friend, Caxton has tried to discredit Freshly Ground Insights (FGI) and the research that it has conducted for Shopper’s Friend. They have “played the man, not the ball”, writes FGI managing director, Brad Aigner
Some media owners have too much time and too much money. I say this based on a fracas that I’ve been drawn into between NAB Caxton and Paarl Media over the introduction of Shopper’s Friend, a free-sheet distribution product in our market.
The reason that I’m part of the story-line is because Paarl Media commissioned my company, Freshly Ground Insights, to conduct research to assess the market appetite, take-up and reader interaction with its Shopper’s Friend product.
NAB Caxton challenged the validity of the research results. It argued that the information in the booklet was misleading to media planners and the research not valid because Freshly Ground Insights is not a corporate member of The South African Market Research Association (SAMRA). So, in recent weeks I have spent much of my time defending our research and justifying my credentials to a bunch of lawyers.
I find it mystifying that instead of competing on the strength of its own offering, NAB Caxton has chosen to attempt to undermine and sanction a simple piece of trade marketing material by its competitor, no doubt at considerable legal cost.
I have reviewed reams and reams of legalese, which ultimately refer to the legitimacy and accuracy of the information in a Shopper’s Friend trade presenter. Does NAB Caxton honestly believe that media planners must be “protected” from this offensive material? Does it not believe that media planners are savvy and intelligent enough to discern for themselves the potential of a new media brand in the market?
The irony of this situation is that NAB Caxton has been rated the top media sales team in the market (MOST Awards 2010), yet instead of choosing to go out there to sell its brands aggressively and effectively, it has chosen to fight a legal battle aimed at blocking its competitor.
Does it have no faith in its own brands and sales team?
As a media planner for almost 20 years, I have come across a plethora of trade marketing material and like most media planners, have reviewed it with some degree of cynicism. Indeed, some of this material has been published by NAB Caxton itself.
The point is that media planners know that the primary objective of media owners is to sell their brands, so they do not make decisions at face value. In fact, it is commonly accepted that media planners are a sceptical and risk-averse lot. A single trade presenter is not sufficient to elicit a purchase decision.
Rather than donating money to lawyers and irritating one of its own research suppliers (FGI), my suggestion to NAB Caxton is to trust that the market will be able to reasonably decide for itself whether Shopper’s Friend has a place.
For background read: