That’s what Steve Jobs did. Even though he revolutionized the digital era, he did not think much of the internet as a branding medium. While everyone was jumping on the digital bandwagon, Jobs effectively remained “old school.”
In 2010, Apple spent an estimated $420 million on advertising. Over 90% of that budget was allocated to network television, newspapers, magazines and billboards. Less than 10% went toward digital initiatives.
And when Apple did spend online, it was usually an extension of a TV campaign like the iconic Mac vs. PC ads.
Jobs also believed in controlling the message which files in the face of the current wisdom that consumers should tell the brand story via Facebook and Twitter. Upon his death, Apple barely had a presence on either platform.
Throughout his brilliant career, Jobs created products for the masses. And he wisely chose mediums that targeted the masses. In advertising, as in product development, he relied heavily on his convictions and intuition. He did not rely on “likes” or “tweets.” He took a much more pragmatic approach: tell the story of how an amazing product can change a consumer’s life in the best environment possible. And then he was smart enough to understand that the best environment – then and now – is still traditional media.
In an analysis of television ads across all product categories, Nielsen found that in general, live action ads were more effective than animated ads.
For all major categories, live action ads scored 22% higher than animated-only ads in Brand Recall — which is the percentage of TV viewers who can recall the commercial and its adverted brand 24 hour after viewing it.
Live action creatives were more effective than animated ads across all major demographics as well. While live action ads resonated equally among both genders, Brand Recall was 27% stronger for females and 17% stronger among males than for animated ads.
Adults 35 to 49 saw a 24% increase in brand recall for ads that used live action vs. animated. The gap did shrink among viewers aged 13-35, who only showed an 11% change between live action and animated creatives.
When looking at consumer packaged goods specifically, ads in the personal care category appeared to struggle the most when using animation. For certain personal care products, brand recall was twice as high among spots using live action vs. an animated theme.
It’s important to remember that commercials should be written by copywriters, not mystery writers. Yes, they can be clever and artsy, but a commercial’s main objective is to sell a product or service.
A recent Adweek Media/Harris Poll of 2,163 adults found that 21% often found TV commercials confusing with just 14% reporting that they never find commercials confusing.
Boring, mundane … I can accept, but confusing?? In this new economy where every dollar must work harder than ever, advertisers can little afford to leave 21% of the audience in the dark on what they hope to be selling them.
If consumers watching these commercials are unsure of the main focus of the message, do you think that might be a problem?
TV commercials need to be entertaining and informative. Unfortunately, as this survey proves, there are too many agency creatives who apparently would rather be writing an episode for Lost then selling the products that pay their salaries.
It’s a fact, in these trying economic times; people are cutting back on purchases. Advertisers (and the agencies that work for them) need to do everything possible to convince consumers that their product is worthy of consideration.
That’s exactly what I want to tell advertisers who continually complain about how television has lost its effectiveness.
You won’t see Progressive Insurance complaining. The company recently blew away analysts’ expectations with a 27% jump in quarterly profit. They also noted the fifth straight quarter in which their auto policy counts have been up.
It appears the television commercials featuring “Flo” are winning over more than a few new customers for Progressive. The quirky cashier’s appeal is grabbing market share faster than she can fire off another zinger.
Now back to the problem with TV advertising?
It’s pretty basic. It always has been. Engage viewers with something compelling, add in a relevant, unique selling message and stay consistent with it. And most of all, keep an open mind.
How many Insurance company executives would have thrown their agency out the front door if they presented them with commercials featuring a talking gecko … or a bunch of cavemen stuck in the ‘80s … or a sarcastic cashier sporting a tricked-out name tag with “Flo” emblazoned on it?
While many Madison Avenue executives are slobbering praise over Nike’s latest controversial commercial featuring a somber Tiger Woods as he is reprimanded by the voice of his deceased father – main street America’s is responding much differently.
An online poll of 600 Americans by Flemington-based HCD Research shows that the favorable opinion of the Nike Brand dropped from 92% to 79% after watching the commercial. With 29% of the viewers saying they were less likely to buy products endorsed by Woods after viewing the creepy commercial.
I’m not surprised with these poll results. It is Nike’s pathetic attempt to capitalize on the reprehensible behavior of another athlete pitch man gone bad.
A Nike spokesman, reading from a statement, said “The ad addresses his (Tigers) time away from the game, using the powerful words of his father.” Really?
He neglected to say that those “powerful words” were carefully taken out of context from a 2004 interview that had absolutely nothing to do with the current situation.
A well-crafted, edgy commercial … too bad it didn’t fool the people who really count – the consumers.
After a series of controversial commercials over the years, I think Nike may come to regret this one. I know I have.
Did you miss one of the Super Bowl ads? Or can you not stop watching certain ones over-and-over? Ad Age did a nice job gathering them all up for your viewing pleasure. Watch and share them as frequently as you like. CLICK HERE to be redirected to Ad Age to see them all now.
Music, in my opinion, is one of the most powerful yet underutilized tools in advertising.
Anyone who remembers the mid-70s also remembers:
Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a Sesame Seed Bun!!
Thirty years later I can still hum this old McDonald’s commercial. Times have changed, and trends in advertising music have definitely changed, but music’s role in advertising is as relevant as ever.
The biggest problem in today’s jingles is executions that push TOO HARD to make the viewer feel a certain way about the brand. Watching TV the other night, I saw a commercial for a local carpet store. At the end, a singer belts out gleefully:
JB factory carpets … the biggest … the best … always the lowest price!
I have to question whether I believe the singer’s sincerity. Is she really that happy about JB’s selection of fine carpets? Doubtful. And neither are the viewers. It’s the classic mistake of an advertiser talking about themselves, rather than addressing the viewers wants from the viewer’s point of view. Or maybe it’s the trite use of “biggest and best” … which ranks right up there with other homogenous phrases like “we won’t be undersold.”
True, the old McDonalds piece is a list of what you get on a burger. But it had charm and invited viewers to participate in seeing whether or not they could remember the list. And most importantly, the singers never hit you over the head with a refrain of “limited time only.”
Like many jingles in the 80s, the music painted a happy vibe that viewers associated with the brand. Remember Dr. Pepper’s “I’m a pepper, you’re a pepper”? And Toyota’s “I love what you do for me? Major advertisers haven’t forgotten how music can build brands …the executions have simply evolved.
Ba da ba-ba-ba … I’m Lovin’ It.
Indeed, I am. Here, McDonalds does it again. The music (and singers) establish an emotional connection with the listener, letting the Voice Over do the selling. The overall result is a commercial that reminds customers that McDonalds is more than just a value menu – but an experience you WANT to have.
Of course, there are times when the singer/music has to contribute a little more muscle within the message. Like singing the phone number for example. Just make sure the melody isn’t overly sappy if the lyrics are little more than a set of digits.
The music in this commercial humorously plugs the word “Free” 9 times within the span of 15 seconds. This is a perfect example of music conveying a very pointed message.
Here, a musical sting at the end of the spot reinforces the phone number. This is a more aggressive example of using music to achieve a very specific communication goal.