Masters of Spin - Did the LNP misfire on the Christmas Message? Walmart is listening?
Friday, February 15, 2019 at 5:03PM
Matthew Bywater in Matthew Bywater
Did the LNP get their Christmas message wrong, did it misfire? Walmart wants to listen to their cusomters - is it all too creepy?
Check it out the here, the transcript is below.

Monique Wright: Well, an attempt at ma, on, or humor, as it's otherwise known, on Christmas Eve has backfired on the Liberal National Party. It posted this to their Facebook page, taking aim at the Greens. This.

Basil Zempilas: There it is.

Monique Wright: Taking aim at the Greens and Labor for political correctness over Christmas.

Basil Zempilas: Putting words in their mouth, Mon, it says Merry non-denominational seasonal festivity, and then asks viewers to share the post if they prefer to say Merry Christmas, but a backlash on social media led to the post being taken down out. Our Masters of Spin join us this morning. Advertising experts, Matthew Bywater in Sydney, Adam Ferrier in Melbourne. Good morning to you both. Matthew, these sort of generic messages at this time of the year, they can get people fired up. Did the LNP target the wrong audience or they just get it wrong or should we all lighten up and go, yeah, that was a little bit funny?

Matthew Bywater: I think a bit of everything you just said. You know, I don't think it really affects their base. I mean, the people that get offended by this stuff really aren't ever going to vote for LNP, but it's a silly message to send out Christmas day. It's, it's one of those days a year you want to be apolitical and just send out messages and just show some leadership. And right now it's not what the Morrison government needs to be doing.

Monique Wright: Adam, what do you think? I mean the Liberal National Party, were obviously trying to say that the Greens and Labor have political correctness that's gone mad.

Adam Ferrier: Yeah, it feels like their social media manager should be sacked. And it feels like they're confusing party room politics with social media. So what they're trying to do in party room politics is appeal to a conservative base. But what they need to be doing out to the world is just being a little bit more centralist and kind of, a bit more inclusive if you like. And they've just got it completely wrong. All the three political parties involved here, all did wish people a Merry Christmas as well. So it feels like they're trying to pick a fight when there wasn't one to be picked.

Basil Zempilas: And that's a very good point. Can I just say editorializing myself, I do hate this trend towards happy holidays or not mentioning Christmas. I mean, all right. Some people don't observe Christmas, but most of us do.

Monique Wright: And most people that don't don't get offended if you say Merry Christmas anyway.

Basil Zempilas: Quite right.

Adam Ferrier: If you look about five years ago, this whole kind of nondenominational Christmas kind of argument. Well said.

Matthew Bywater: But as you both say, like Christmas, it should just be politically free, right?

Adam Ferrier: Yeah.

Basil Zempilas: Yeah.

Monique Wright: A politically spin-free zone. Yep. Okay.

Basil Zempilas: This story's really interesting. US retail giant Walmart can now tell customers that it really does listen to them, although a little sneakily, it was revealed this week that a patent has been granted for a new listening system to go into stores where basically the company can eavesdrop on shoppers and employees having their conversations. Now, Matthew, is this really the future of shopping? Listening in to customer's conversations? Are they doing it to try and make their staff better or are they trying to get inside their heads of their customers and work out what it is that they want?

Matthew Bywater: Yeah. Both of those things, I mean on the patent and there's communication so far deciding you want to increase the customer experience by really watching and managing their staff. But I mean, this is going to be... the metrics are going this way anyway, in shopping. We know they're doing the eye tracking data, heat maps and so forth to see what people are looking at, where they're moving in stores. And this is just the next step to see what commentary they're actually making around products and what they might need. I mean, this is a company is already, they've got many patents in this area, biometric shopping carts and all sorts of things. So there's an upside as a downside to this.

Monique Wright: I guess it's not dissimilar to online shopping in that they can track anything that you've looked at, and then they can target you, but there does seem something more sinister about being able to do it by actually looking at you and listening to you. Adam do you think that Walmart is risking its reputation by spying on customers like these?

Adam Ferrier: Not at all. I don't think there's anything sinister about this. I think it's just marketing. And I think in 2019 we are going to say more kind of sonic marketing devices happening, which is a little bit of marketing puffery there, but 2018 was all about voice and voice activated kind of search and so forth. And Google Home and Alexa. And sonic marketing, understanding sound waves and how people communicate and being out to do unidirectional marketing where you just get sound focused on one part of the store, and not another, it's all part of the future. And I think fortunately, I reckon it's all kind of cool and interesting, but I would.

Monique Wright: Marketing puffery.

Basil Zempilas: Nice term.

Monique Wright: That's the first time I've ever heard that.

Basil Zempilas: Adam, thank you for your time this morning, we'll chat again next week. Thank you lads.

Monique Wright: We really appreciate it. Stay with us. Weekend Sunrise is back with more in just a moment.

Basil Zempilas: Pretend to look interested? You think? Yeah?

Article originally appeared on Matthew Bywater | Marketing Strategist & Media Commentator (
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