Name five Super Bowl ads from last year and describe what they were about. If you can’t, do it from any year… and the Apple ‘1984’ spot doesn’t count. Or anything with Clydesdales 😉
Of those five (or less) how many of them led you to buy those products or use that brand’s services?
If the ad didn’t cause you to go out and act, does that mean the ad is worthless?
Definitely not. Here is the reality of advertising (or PR/media relations and marketing in general).
It often takes time and repetition for the message to sink in. I didn’t see the Apple ‘1984’ add live, but I know about it because it’s so regularly highlighted over the years. And its content was very different.
Think about GoDaddy’s ads. The ones with the women having wardrobe malfunctions. Regardless of your personal taste, they also are (were?) different enough to get attention and have people talking about them.
Creatively, both of these ads were different than the norm at the time. That’s an important thing to keep in mind.
Creativity is incredibly important in marketing. It helps cut through the clutter.
Because of advertising, and our love of ‘The Walking Dead’ a lot of us here have a pretty strong awareness of Mazda as an automotive brand. They seem to consistently have spots airing during ‘The Walking Dead’ that look pretty good and catch our attention when we forget to reach for the DVR’s remote. That said, no one in our office has a Mazda. Does that mean the ads weren’t effective?
No. As an example, the last person to buy the car in our office wanted an all-wheel drive sedan. Mazda didn’t make one at the time, so their ads, while they were memorable, were for products that we just didn’t need.
However, Mazda consistently runs ads during a show we watch and because of that, we were am pretty aware of of some of the cars they’re selling. Budweiser usually does something with Clydesdales.
Consistency, or repetition of message, are almost as important as creativity, if you want to boost awareness, and later sales.
‘Consistency’ and ‘creatively’ should be the words you dwell on here.
We hear all the time from friends and colleagues – at both big brands and small – that advertising didn’t work for them. Or PR didn’t work for them. Why? Because they didn’t see sales. When I ask how they measured awareness, I tend to get blank stares. When I ask if they directed their agency partners or let them lead, I get uncomfortable silence.
What is almost always missing when a marketing program falls short is some sort of creativity or consistency in activity. Vanilla tastes good, but it doesn’t stand out. One and done is rarely enough.
Sales come from awareness, as well as availability. Marketers can’t control availability, but they can help build awareness, which will lead to sales if done right.
Despite what case study you read, marketing success comes from creativity and consistency/repetition of message. There are exceptions to the rule, but if you’re going to play the odds, are you going to put your money on the 99 percent favored to win or the long shot?
BTW – If you’re interested in the creative background of that Apple ‘1984’ ad, check out this piece from Bloomberg.
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Do Super Bowl Ads Work? A Lesson in Public Relations, Advertising, Creativity And Consistency