Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Vepec evening sponsored by The WSJE Future Leadership Institute

VEPEC, the Belgian Marketing Organization of flamboyant president Jan Bax, organizes every year a series of conferences for her members, most of the time marketing specialists.

The WSJE Future Leadership Institute became a sponsor of the organization because we needed to strengthen relationships with marketing managers and directors as they are the gate to potential sponsorships. I also wanted to learn more about the organization of small but highly qualitative conferences so I could implement the knowledge into our own seminars. Thirdly the Vepec organization allows me to install a WSJE networking table prior to the conference.

Tonight the topic was all about the influence of sensuality and nudity in contemporary advertising. Key speakers were Harm Van Kessel, marketing manager Playboy and James Magazine, Wei-Sen Khor, marketing manager Philips and Siegfried Dewitte, professor marketing of the Catholic University of Louvain. The evening was moderated by Goedele Devroy, a Belgian television news journalist.

I took the opportunity to put a Wall Street Journal Europe copy on all seats in the auditorium before the conference started. The idea was to glue 2 leaflets on top of the cover of the paper to promote the WSJE Future Leadership Institute. Unfortunately I ran out of time to manually glue the 240 leaflets on the paper myself, so I mobilized Vic and Bob, 2 of my children, and my wife to help me put the leaflets on the paper as fast as possible before I took off to the conference. As said, I am a one man company within the company.

We learned from Playboy marketing manager Harm Van Kessel that Playboy has stopped being a magazine, and that it now acts as an advertising agency. From Philips’ Wei-Sen Khor we learned that the least bit of nudity in the environment of a multinational will raise eyebrows but that in the end, they collaborated successfully with Playboy in introducing a bikini-line trimmer to the market. The most exhilarating speech came from marketing professor Dewitte who studied the effects of sensuality into consumer’s behavior. It is actually proven that males with a more than average level of testosterone in their system will become sissies immediately after they see a visual with a sexual connotation. They will loose their normal level of rational and act impulsive compared to their behavior in a non-sexual environment. That doesn’t mean you can sell them a car when it is being promoted by a naked woman. Although they will be in a state of being more open to the suggestion of buying it, it doesn’t mean they actually will buy the car as there are other parameters that influence their decision. They might for example decide at that particular moment to finally buy a car from another brand they saw at another place at another moment.

How do you know you are a male consumer with a high level of testosterone ? Just subtract the length of your ring finger from the length of your forefinger. When the difference is more than 4 mm’s, you have a high level of testosterone and consequently you will be more susceptible for images with a sexual connotation.

above: Jan Bax at Vepec evening
below: Vic and Bob preparing newspapers for the Vepec conference