It Says Oxo On the Back of Buses,

but they don’t sell it!

 What is Brand Awareness?

“It says Oxo on the back of busses, but they don’t sell it.” 

Was always a phrase that my father would interject into various reprimands throughout my entire childhood and formative years. 

It would normally be boomed vehemently at me as a retort to my name dropping one of my friends and insisting that they had said, that whatever we weren’t supposed to be doing, was actually perfectly within the rules and almost encouraged that we should be doing, whatever it was that we most certainly should not have been doing. 

“But Kiwi said ..” 

“IT SAYS OXO ON THE BACK OF BUSSES BUT THEY DON’T SELL IT!” was how it went, and then invariably some draconian punishment that belonged squarely in 1987 when my baby boomer old man would then roast me where I stood with all my eight years of worldly wisdom and then sentence me to mowing the lawn. 

We lived on Bournebrook Avenue in Wirksworth, near Matlock in Derbyshire and the lawns on Bournebrook Avenue are about a hundred feet long, twenty five to thirty feet wide and have a gradient of what felt like about one in three when pushing and pulling that heavy duty petrol flymo my Dad used to have back then up and down it, all the whilst sporting a bruised .. sense of pride. 

All the time thinking to myself “I bet they DO sell somehow, they wouldn’t just put it on the bus to mess with us all” 

Even though part of me would have hoped that they really had, done exactly that.

What is a Customer Journey?

So when I was 28 I graduated university, 

I had taken a scenic route through life and I had not behaved as well as I could all the time. 

I also hadn’t always worked as hard as I could have all the time. 

In spite of me being one of the brightest kids in any class I ever .. got thrown out of for being a witty smart ass, My GCSE results had spelled F.U.D.G.E. and I had got to go back to school when I was 24 to do an Access to Further Education course with the University of Derby, which was one of the greatest opportunities ever to knock at my door. 

I had spent years messing around and had to work ten times harder to play catch up than if I’d have just done it the right way the first time. 

I have a kicked ass-thetic learning style which means I learn best with a size ten steel toe capped boot up my … sense of pride. 

Three and a half years later I graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in Business Management and I had received the grade of a 2:1, which is an upper second class (with honours) to those who don’t speak degrees and .. stuff. 

As part of the course I had studied and passed and gotten an A in Marketing. 

At degree level. Dad.

From a university. Dad.

Yes, I know the lawn still needs doing, Dad. 

What are Multi-Channel Digital Marketing Campaigns?

It was several years after that when I was working for a digital marketing agency that I started to realise the power of why it did say Oxo on the back of busses, it was for brand awareness.

And then it all just clicked like the digital marketing theory of everything.

It all just fell into place because of the fact it did say Oxo on the back of busses, but they didn’t sell it. There. 

I was comparing the way that advertising can happen in one place, and the point of sale be somewhere else completely.. but it all adds up and compounds in the marketing mix and in the aggregated bigger picture of the results of a multi channel digital marketing campaign! 


Yes, it used to say oxo on the back of busses (so I had been told, once or twice..) and no, you couldn’t buy any from a bus driver. 

You couldn’t probably buy any from a conductor either … but by the time I grew up they were just something that were on the television playing re-runs of On The Busses on a Saturday afternoon after World of Wrestling and Airwolf anyway. 

Oxo must have paid to put the adverts on the back of busses for years and so they would have learned, as all advertisers using such media as bus advertising when still happens in 2022, they must have seen a reduction in sales of the product at the point of sale. Which in the case of oxo would have been the counter of green grocer shops throughout the length and breadth of the country as a whole. 

There was no Google analytics then or models of attribution that we can use but they would have seen on the sales results that the ads went on the busses and the boxes went in the baskets. 

The same goes for google and social media marketing in a very simplified way. 

You can run brand awareness campaigns on Facebook and Instagram and you can use the Google Display Network to place ads in affiliate websites to retarget people who have visited your website and also to appear on the journey around the internet of users who had been on sites that do similar things to you. 

How Does Brand Awareness Work in Social Media Marketing?

My old boss (who told us to “always be the smartest guy in the room”) said that it was completely pointless in running brand awareness campaigns and display ads campaigns because “they don’t convert” 

To which I had the greatest pleasure in telling him that “it says Oxo on the back of busses, but they don’t sell it! .. but just because they don’t have the point of sale situated on the bus, doesn’t mean that the sales are’t increased at the point of sale which is over the greengrocer’s counter” 

Same for brand awareness campaigns on social media. 

Same for McDonald’s advertising cheese burgers in bus shelters. 

I promise that you can’t buy a cheese burger from a bus shelter. 

But you get away from Wirksworth near Matlock in Derbyshire and out towards places where they have all the conveniences of modern life, like mains gas and Channel 4 and branches of McDonald’s… and you will drive past any number of bus shelters and billboards advertising all manner of stuff like fast food and cinema releases. 

Pointless, when you can’t even watch the film at the bus stop, hey Dad? 

I can hear him already. That’s obviously the bus route that goes past the pictures…  

And this also goes for any number of other products and services that want to place advertising in places where people will see the ads on their journey through their day and either consciously or unconsciously; they will become brand aware, (if they like it or not, it’s happening!) then enter into the consideration stage and then (if they stay in the funnel) be converted to buyers and the number of ads they see, whether it’s on the internet or on the A road into and through town .. are all touch points on a user experience and a customer journey. 

So thanks for that one, Dad. 

It turns out that it says Oxo on the back of busses but even though the point of sale is elsewhere, that the back of the bus, is in fact one of many touch points on a subliminal customer journey because they do in fact, play a significant part in selling it!

Google and Social Media are all Parts of the Bigger Picture in Digital Marketing Strategy.

It turns out that it says Oxo on the back of busses but even though the point of sale is elsewhere, that the back of the bus, is in fact one of many touch points on a subliminal customer journey because they do in fact, play a significant part in selling it!

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