Duane Jackson, CEO of KashFlow and someone who has done an amazing job of harnessing the power of social media, recently launched a new marketing campaign with a character by the name of Tugg Gently. Tugg Gently is an apparently fictitious business adviser who has created a series of quick videos giving viewers tips for growing their businesses. It’s a wide ranging campaign, Gently has his own website, a Twitter account and all manner of different connected sites. Some of the videos are embedded below for reference.

Anyway – it seems the series has attracted something of a storm from people up in arms at the way this is being articulated. Never one to avoid upping the ante, Jackson produced a press release detailing the complaints including;

  • He’s not even started a business before!
  • I’ve learnt nothing from watching his videos
  • All his books are self published (and out of stock)
  • He’s all style and no substance
  • There’s nothing tangible or actionable in the advice he gives
  • He’s  an egotistical, ignorant narcissist
  • He talks about social media, yet only follows one person on Twitter.

In fact one commentator went so far as to complain about the fact that he “couldn’t identify with the character that Rugg Gently is trying to play” and that the production is “low budget”. He even went so far as to suggest that KashFlow should can the entire campaign – obviously someone with very little marketing experience. Other people get even more pent up about it all saying;

seeing as his advice tends to rotate around his mentors ‘planets’ rotating around him, the Sun, I would keep my business about as far away as his humanly possible. Why would I want to take any advise that would shift my business focus, my companies and my staff away from where it should – on the business itself to some freak show self proclaimed business guru with no real definable successes.

I find it hard to believe that people believe this is a real person. As Jackson himself said in reply to my comments,

I’m genuinely amazed at how many people think Tugg is for real. We thought people would instantly see that it was a compete piss-take of a certain kind of “business guru”.
What worries me is that this seems to show that people have become acusstomed to substanceless hyperbolic idiots marketing themselves as gurus.

If this was an American commentator reacting to a campaign in the US, where people tend to be far more conservative, then I’d understand it. but this is the UK – home to Monty Python and the Goon show. The KashFlow campaign is a direct descendent of these legendary comic shows and is in entirely the same vein. No one seriously believes that Tugg Gently is a real person, no one seriously believes that the specific messages he articulates are accurate. This is designed to be a mildly entertaining series of videos that gets the KashFlow brand out into the marketplace and in the memories of business people. On that measure Tugg Gently is a successful (if admittedly somewhat annoying) invention.

Luckily some people have a sense of humor – UK site Business Matters did a tongue in cheek interview with the character.

Even Rod Drury, CEO of competing company Xero gets the idea here, making the comment that “Personally I really like the Tugggently video’s.  They really appeal to my sense of humor. The production quality is excellent.”

So yes. This is parody,. This is humor. This is an attempt to have people remember a brand through something other than a free pen and a pen drive. Well done Duane, Tugg is a PITA but the campaign is just fine.

All Aboard for Profit Island from Duane Jackson on Vimeo.

Part 2: Social Media Success! from Duane Jackson on Vimeo.

Part 3: Attracting Corporate Clients from Duane Jackson on Vimeo.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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