• Jerry Quinn

    Pierre, another wonderful commentary on the state of the hobby! I really enjoy your writings on these type of topics, so please continue! And thanks for the plug at the end! That was a nice surprise! I keep thinking of updating that post, but it really hasn’t changed all that much in the 4+ years since I first wrote it!

    As for the Roco marketing approach, it does appear it has evolved to a more toned down approach as I don’t see the sexy woman appearing any longer in the rotating images, so you may not have been the only one to object. However, that might have been an intentional part of the campaign. I work in advertising and often a campaign may start off with its most bizarre or provocative message as it evolves into more relevant communications, which seems like what they might be showing now. The point is to ‘get noticed’ via a little controversy, etc…

    I don’t know if I was bothered by the use of the woman…I agree it was a failed attempt, but at least it shows some investment in marketing in a direction that we haven’t seen before! Here in the US, there is nothing at all visible from the manufacturers unless you happen to find one of the hidden and really unfriendly hobby shops that still manage to stay alive.

    But I can’t agree with you more…as an American travelling in Europe, Germany’s parochial perspective on the international finance system is really amazing given their leadership globally in so much else!

    As for Modellbahshope Lippe, what I think they do exceedingly well is their very clear explanation of whether or not an item is in stock. After 5 years in this hobby of attempting to order through the ‘local’ US / Canadian website, none of them actually disclose what inventory they have in stock…if you order it, then they’ll order it from their supplier. Why would anyone want to wait for the extra time when shops like MSL or DMToys cater to English speaking customers and do a fine job of communication the status of inventory?

    Well, that’s my rant for the day! Thanks again Pierre!

    • Thanks for the comment Jerry! Though your post about design is indeed quite old, I still remembered it as spot on.

      I’m not an advertising expert, plus it’s clearly hard to comment without any data on the customer base (I can only guess). I think “negatively surprised” would best describe my attitude towards these adds…whether they are productive or not, is a whole other thing.
      Another interesting thing to note is that, as expected, Roco is not “excluding” women at all; see the Z21 videos http://www.z21.eu/en/What-is-Z21/VIDEO2
      In any case, they are spending money for advertising, and I absolutely agree: that’s a very good sign.

      While we are on the subject of “cultural matters” and train business, I’d be interested to get your opinion on the US hobby industry. I concur when you say they seem to make even less efforts to modernize. In their defense, I would say they have an extra difficulty: the image of “trains” in general.
      Trains in Europe mat not be “cool” (far from it), but rail transportation is still a valid option, and even a future proof option for links <300 miles, with high speed. A fancy new high speed train draws nearly as many journalists as a new Airbus model in an airport.
      Railroads in the US are a whole other topic. It's considered as an old, outdated thing. High speed is considered a crazy liberal dream, that can only work in poor & underdeveloped countries such as Japan and Germany 😉 I took the Acela between NY and DC once. Frankly, if that's the only example of high speed Americans have, I can understand if they think it's not worth it.
      I also remember a trip to Canada. I wanted to see if rail was a viable travel option between two relatively close cities…the VIA Rail website made a huge deal about "taking ones time" and "enjoying the landscape". Talk about a culture clash: I needed to get from A to B, not become a rail hippie 😉

      Now this is all anecdotal of course, but wouldn't you say that's an extra difficulty for the North American hobby brands? If what you are picturing is out of fashion, it's even harder to make a miniature look sexy…maybe Digitrax should actually be the one displaying more cool kids and hot women after all !

      We'll see how this all turns out, so let me finish with a fancy quote, from a post-war French writer and atom engineer called Louis Armand:
      "If the railroad industry survives the 20th century, it will be the means of transportation of the 21st century".

  • Jimmy

    My fave online store is http://www.en.dm-toys.de/. Daniel speaks English and is very helpful.

    • Hi Jimmy, thanks for the comment!
      I have heard many good things about DM Toys. The owner indeed speaks good English and French if I believe the forums.

  • the_mark

    Thanks for this one!

    I have to admit: I only stumbled across this post by pure chance (I was looking for opinions about the ECoS) and then read on and on.

    As a native german I read the above with great interest and a big smile on my face.
    Why?

    Because it seems you characterized the german (and partly austrian) train-model-scene quite right and also the german business-mentality quite correctly.
    Sometimes, when people outside Germany reflect about “the germans” I do not know wether to nod in agreement or just knowingly smile.

    Keep it up!

    • Thanks Mark, glad you could find some posts of interest on the blog.
      As for this post here, well, it still is just a collection of vague impressions, but since I have lived in both Austria and Germany, I can at least pretend to know a little bit what I am talking about. In any case, no culture clash is intended! 😉

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