The score in the retail war: David 2, Goliath nil

Last night, online electrical retailer Kogan got the sort of advertising that (quite literally) money can’t buy.

The Gruen Transfer spent more than seven minutes discussing the merits of a PR strategy involving taking on the retail behemoth Harvey Norman.  

It’s a topic we discussed when Kogan first started the fight.

Last night’s coverage – which included the meta moment of the panel discussing whether they had become part of the PR strategy by featuring the fight – was the culmination of the old but very well executed challenger strategy of picking a fight with the market leader.

With ad audience of 1.5m, the ad aired in full on the ABC and a fresh round of PR, it’s the second punch Kogan has successfuly landed . I’d say that Kogan will be happy with a job well done.

Tim Burrowes


  1. PopCollar
    9 Sep 10
    1:50 pm

  2. Great pick-up Tim.

    This is consumer PR at its finest

  3. David
    9 Sep 10
    2:17 pm

  4. I watched this last night and agreed with the panel – textbook pricing strategy, textbook execution and hopefully (for Kogan) textbook results.

  5. Ruslan Kogan
    9 Sep 10
    2:34 pm

  6. Does anyone want to see round 3? Should I book MGM arena in Vegas? :)

    Ruslan Kogan
    Founder & CEO

  7. fiona
    9 Sep 10
    4:15 pm

  8. Interestingly, kogan’s website was down from immediately after the show until at least 10am this morning…overload? sabotage? Sad for them if after that great publicity, no-one could log on.

  9. Roger Ramjet
    9 Sep 10
    4:28 pm

  10. Vuki (Kogan’s young, talented PR guy), despite slavishly following the completely and utterly rubbish Sydney Swans, is a massive talent. Well done him.

  11. Katy D
    9 Sep 10
    4:35 pm

  12. Thanks Tim! I missed this last night but brilliant segment….Kogan will definitely be happy with that.

  13. PopCollar
    9 Sep 10
    4:46 pm

  14. all power to Vuki – i hope Ruslan has given him a large slice of equity, otherwise he should leave and start his own agency. I would be happy to be his second client

  15. Anon
    9 Sep 10
    5:25 pm

  16. @fiona It’s working now. Thansk Ruslan for making this stuff affordable :) I bought an LG 37 inch TV from Harvey Norman for $1500. Wish I’d gotten a bigger Kogan from your site.

  17. Carrob
    9 Sep 10
    5:51 pm

  18. Hmmm, Everyone likes the little guy. And Kogan TV’s are cheap. And I really want to buy one myself. But the fact is their TV’s are just not that good. The business model is great, and I like their pluck. But the TV’s really aren’t comparing apples to apples.

    And I know this because I convinced my sister to buy one and having used it for a couple of months now I can give you some examples. For instance the remote has a really long lag when changing the channels. Connecting with HDMI can be a bit iffy. Sometimes it works, and then for no reason, next time you hook something up it just doesn’t. Same with the USB. It should play AVI files through the USB, but they run for about two minutes then stop. Also you cant fast forward or rewind anything you are watching on USB.

    These gripes may be considered minor, but there are other cheap TV’s that do much the same thing, and at fairly similar prices. You get what you pay for, and like everything that’s super cheap, these TV’s don’t quite do what they say they will.

    To be fair, I will probably end up purchasing one for myself, but I will do so in the knowledge that it may not do everything I expect it to do everytime.

  19. John Grono
    9 Sep 10
    9:15 pm

  20. Great feedback Carrob. Many thanks. Any chance you could post your experience if/when you do lash out on one for yourself?

  21. Carrob
    10 Sep 10
    11:23 am

  22. @John, Sure no problems. Probably won’t be for a couple of weeks though.

    I do have to give Kogan credit for their response time. I have emailed their tech support and they do get back to me fairly quickly.

    The issue really is that Kogan likes to compare himself to say Sony or LG. In that case his prices are a hell of a lot cheaper. But if you compare his prices to a brand like HiSense or Haier you will find that it really is very very similar in prices to what JB HiFi or Harvey Norman actually offer for a comparable item in store.

    That said, the future for Kogn IMO is quite positive. He basically sources the stuff himself from chinese manufacturers, and he should be able to get involved in R&D and get problems fixed quickly. He should also be able to come to market with what his customers want faster than even a JB HiFi who are at the mercy of whatever the manufacturer decides they are going to make.

    It’s a good business model, he just has to get his quality issues sorted out.

  23. Anonymous
    11 Sep 10
    2:40 pm

  24. Hmmm. Tricky one. Sounds like the big boys trying to muscle out the little guys all over again.

  25. Vuki
    13 Sep 10
    3:26 pm

  26. Groucho
    13 Sep 10
    4:35 pm

  27. Gerry Harvey is making the classic mistake of letting his ego get in the way of his brain – unusual for him I would have thought.

    While he is being distracted by Kogan he is losing sales, many to Kogan, who is always going to be more agile because he is small.

    Gerry, the consumer doesn’t care whose willie is bigger, or has the most wrinkles they care about good brands at low prices. Focus on this and when the little dog pisses on your foot ignore it. If you kick it in the nuts it’s yelps just attract shoppers.

  28. PopCollar
    15 Sep 10
    12:59 pm

  29. @Groucho, park your youthful arrogance and give some credit to one of the best retail PR men in the country…..Gerry Harvey can either let the stories run 1-sided or can go on camera and tell his message about the safety of name brands and warranties compared with Kogan’s no-names product..he will have successfully scared off the swinging buyers who Kogan might have netted….he moved swiftly to cauterise any wound…this is just PR 101