Dr Mumbo

Meet the brand that turned David Bowie’s death into a tacky marketing message

Imagine you’re the person in charge of writing the marketing messages for a financial advice site.

Topical is good, right?

What’s topical?

David Bowie.

So why not turn the lyrics of one of his songs into a topical marketing message?

No brand would be crass enough to do that, would they?

Step forward Australia’s Adviser Ratings.

David Bowie

This morning, the brand emailed out the following message, headed “Ground Control to Major Tom”:

“Is your circuitry slowly becoming disconnected? In 2016 it’s time to reconnect with this space oddity that is financial planning…”

The message then links to the brand’s blog and a preview of the year in financial planning, which clumsily concludes:

“These are just a couple of things to keep in mind as we kick start the new year and give it some revs before shifting to first gear. Financial advisers need not fear any unsettling changes in the industry. If you think this is the way things are going, it makes sense to be open and explore what new opportunities such changes may bring, so you don’t become another Major Tom. We will certainly be doing all we can to make sense of, and help compliment the industry as we all move forward through 2016!

“RIP David Bowie.”

Although the post is only a few minutes old at the time of writing, early comments from readers point in the direction that this one is heading:

adviser ratings david bowie comments

David Bowie tribute

Dr Mumbo notes that Adviser Ratings lists former consumer watchdog organisation Choice’s spokesman Christopher Zinn as its communications director and breakfast TV show Sunrise presenter David Koch as an adviser. Dr Mumbo notes that Koch also reportedly owns a stake.

12.30pm update: Adviser Ratings MD David Woods tells Mumbrella in a statement: “As the financial planning industry is constantly under threat from new challenges, we thought what better way to recognise his efforts for the music industry by having participants in the financial planning industry emulate his ability to evolve and change.

“David Bowie was at the forefront of innovation and this is what our organisation is trying to emulate.”

What better way indeed.

12.45 update: Mr Woods emails back again: “Just wanted to add, it is a newsletter that only goes out to financial advisers so the audience is confined to an industry that appreciates how they’re being disrupted.”

January 13 update: Dr Mumbo notes that the “Ground Control” headline has been removed overnight, the spaceman image has been deleted, and the article has now been re-edited to appear to be a tribute to David Bowie, with a new paragraph added at the top saying: “As we mourn the passing of David Bowie, his life is a reminder of the need to evolve to maintain relevancy – a man that kept up with his fans and kept bringing in new fans decade after decade. A true innovator.”

Meanwhile,  the brand has taken to Twitter with the classic non-apology apology of “If you were offended..”


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