I love advertising. Good advertising. Especially love clever copy. So naturally, I reacted when I was exposed each day to a series of eye-catching new billboards on my slow crawl down the highway to work. Billboards for something called *Road Ninja.* Creatively well done. Appropriate for the medium (I hate it when marketers try to put War & Peace on billboards. Quick read medium, ninnies.) A tease (“What the heck is *Road Ninja?”). Relevant (like where is the closest Starbucks to me.) I was hooked.
So I raced to check out the actual product. *Road Ninja* is a free app created in conjunction with Lamar Advertising (the billboard guys, naturally) that uses Foursquare to help inform you about food, lodging, gas, even coupons and promotions in each area as you travel. Just launched in about 200 markets nationwide, it seemed to be an awesome marriage of message, media and technology, right? Except… when I went in to test it out for my own curiosity, it had every destination I searched incorrect. (I checked out local places I knew.) It indicated a local private beach and a “No Trespassing” government lighthouse each as campgrounds, relocated a restaurant to the other side of town,… and when alerted to these errors (and more!), they told me to supply them with better info!
Price was right (free.) Placement was right. (Get it online. Simple.) “Promotion” was dead-on for message and media placement. But the most important “P” in the marketing mix— the Product— was flawed. So they lost me (and apparently a lot of others from the “It’s not ready yet” comments on their site.) All that really good advertising down the drain. What a shame. Cause like I said, I love advertising – it works.