Last week, I joined a client for a virtual brainstorm. The focus: Our marketing next steps in these trying times.
We established a rule up-front: For an idea to move forward,
it has to serve our customers. In other
words, if it benefits only us, it does not advance. It goes to either the “rework” or “trash”
This is a good rule for new ideas in general. Two decades ago, Doug Hall and his team at
Eureka! Ranch found that new-product concepts with a high level of “overt
benefit” outperformed concepts with a low level by 3:1.
Friends, the Super Bowl is just a few days away. That means the Super Bowl ads are just a few days away. And that means the advertising media, and a few pundits, are working themselves into a lather right about now.
Vaynerchuk. He’s on record as saying:
“Super Bowl ads are underpriced. Yeah, I said it.”
“When I buy my first brand, the first thing I’m gonna do is run multiple Super Bowl ads.”
ANA Masters of Marketing Conference, 2016
See that? Gary Vee doesn’t even know what his product
or service will be, let alone anything about its market or competitive
situation, and he’s already committed to a tactical decision on its
behalf. This is obviously a problem, and
we’ll come back to it.
(Reading Time: 6minutes)By now, we’re at the point where we know what to expect from the Super Bowl ads.
Before the game, you could have jotted down a list of what you thought you would see, based on history. That list probably would have included:
Animals (especially dogs) at their most undeniably adorable
People or animals doing silly dances
Inspiring Statements of High-Minded Purpose
The unusual, the surreal, the flat-out bizarre (with or without reason)
Production values to rival a summer blockbuster film
You can make this kind of list for almost any category. Sometimes, it’s comically easy to do. And the more “tried, true and expected” the items on that list, the more ripe that category is for some rule-breaking.
(Reading Time: 7minutes)Quick show of hands: Do you have a marketing budget of five million dollars?
And if you did, how would you feel about spending it in 30 seconds? Because that’s exactly what last night’s Super Bowl advertisers did. Repeatedly.
That’s nearly $167,000 per second – more than most Americans earn in an entire year.
So I trust you’ll forgive me if I approach the Super Bowl ads, and the surrounding fanfare, with a healthy degree of scrutiny. I’m a brand guy – always have been – but I also know this: If it doesn’t sell, it’s bad branding.
(Reading Time: 5minutes)About five million dollars. That’s the cost for one of this year’s 30-second Super Bowl ads.
For most of us who lead challenger brands, that kind of outlay simply isn’t in the realm of possibility. As underdogs, we’re used to doing more with less.
The Super Bowl – and, in particular, the hype surrounding its ads – is perhaps the greatest example in business of flawed thinking on a grand scale. Though attention is heightened during the big game, viewers are primarily looking to be entertained. (This is how we get a Bud Light ad with “caucus” jokes. Oof, you are so ribald!)
Of course, ads that entertain don’t necessarily sell. And challenger brands know that it’s all about selling.
(Reading Time: 3minutes)to thisWhile visiting Northeastern Ohio over the holidays, I came across cans of Bud Light that were customized in Cleveland Browns colors. The cans featured the following slogan:
“The Perfect Beer for Being Dawg Pound Proud”
(For those that may not know, the Dawg Pound is the nickname for the bleacher seats behind the east end zone of FirstEnergy Stadium, where the most fervent Browns fans congregate.)
My first reaction to this slogan was that it couldn’t have been written by anyone familiar with the team. I’ve been a Browns fan all my life, and “proud” is not a word we’re using these days. “Justifiably outraged” is more like it; the Browns have just one winning season in the last 13, and have lost 18 of their last 21 games.