The battle between intent and execution.

And how to handle yourself in a crisis.

Intent and execution are not the same thing.

You can have all the best intentions in the world, but if they aren’t executed in a way that clearly communicates those intentions to the recipient, they get lost.

Here’s a recent example.

The rental crisis is a serious issue. And one that’s only getting worse due to a deplorable lack of action from institutional powers, politics, real estate, finance, everyone across the board.

We’ve got multiple generations who feel completely boxed out of the ‘Australian dream’ they’ve all been sold, and have been mostly treated with condescension in the form of avocado toast expenditure and stories of ‘How This Millennial Bought A Home At 27’ which always land with the same punchline - rich parents.

So if you’re going to try to capitalise on all this misery, you’d better be fucking careful in how you execute it.

This campaign from Sixt and Bastion caught my eye recently. It’s an incredibly simple idea executed with an irreverent tone. If your rent goes up by a %, our price goes down by the same % to help you move. Wrapped in a layer of messaging that includes TELL YOUR LANDLORD TO TRUCK OFF.

It’s great. It’s a brand that genuinely feels like they’re taking a side on an issue and providing something of value.

This other one, however, left a different taste in my mouth.

We talk about ‘tone of voice’ a lot in marketing, but avoiding tone deafness is equally important. I was at the footy recently, and I noticed all these young people trudging around the ground with Great Southern Bank billboards strapped to their backs. On the front it read ‘Do you rent?’ and on the back a giant QR code and the messaging ‘Bench your rent’. I’m not sure about you, but responding to the rental crisis by turning young Australians, those who are in the middle of all this, into human billboards all feels a bit Hunger Games.

(I also received a text from a mate at the same game that read ‘This is the world we live in now’ in relation to it. So it wasn’t only me.)

Then, once inside the stadium, there was a promotion where everyone had to jump up and down and dance and wave to win 2 grand off their rent for the month. Maybe this sounded like a fun idea to a board room of people with investment properties, but they aren’t the target market, are they?

Now, you can never know someone’s intent. Both of these briefs probably started with ‘how can we help people struggling with rent at the moment?’. Noble intentions.

The executions, however, are starkly different. One genuinely helps young people with moving costs in a time of need, and tells their landlord to truck off, while the other represents the finance sector turning them into human billboards before they beg for money live on a TV screen in front of 80,000 people.

The takeout for me in this instance was:

Sixt. Ha. Pretty cool.

Great Southern Bank. A bit yuck.

I’m sure that wasn’t the intent, and everyone’s put work out that missed the bullseye, but you’ve also got to hit the dart board somewhere.

Make sure the intent of your idea is not lost in the execution.


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