Think Differently!

October 27, 2011

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.

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All that glitters isn’t gold!

October 19, 2011

A new survey of marketers conducted by the Association of National Advertisers has discovered something interesting, but not terribly surprising about the new media rage.  According to the survey, more national companies are dedicating larger portions of their ad budgets to new media.  But it also finds more companies questioning the effectiveness of their new media investments.

78% of companies surveyed said that they planned to spend more on new media like online ads, social networks, search engine marketing, mobile and viral video in 2012 than they did this year.  On average, this represents 14% of their total media spending – up from 10% in 2011.

So, with more spending come better results, right?  Not necessarily.  Compared to a similar study in 2009, marketers in general, are complaining that bigger investments in new media are not always producing the desired results.

“While marketers have substantially increased their use of new media platforms over the past few years, they are beginning to question the effectiveness of some of these vehicles,” Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA said.  “The ANA survey indicates a strong willingness by marketers to integrate innovative new approaches into their marketing mix; however, this enthusiasm is tempered by concerns regarding the ROI of these emerging options.”

Or in other words, anyone who thought that new media was going to quickly transcend old media (i.e. television) was perhaps blinded by all the glitter.


Local TV Still Tops for News, Weather, Traffic

September 27, 2011

A new survey from Pew Research Center entitled “How people learn about their local community,” finds that local TV continues to be the top source for breaking news, weather and traffic, and ties with newspapers as the main source of local political news. And when the respondents said “Local TV,” it was clear from the answers that they were talking about local broadcast stations, not regional or local cable news nets, says one of the study’s authors. For breaking news, local TV was the main source of information for 55% of respondents to the survey, compared to the internet (16%) and local newspapers (14%). Fifty-eight percent of survey participants went to local TV for information about weather, compared to the internet (32%) and local newspapers (10%). And the reliance on local news cut across demos. Even the web-savvy under 40 generation still looks to TV for news (47%) much more than the internet (22%).

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Most Celebrity TV Endorsements: A Waste of Money

January 13, 2011

One would expect TV ads featuring celebrity endorsements to deliver better results than commercials without them. Everyone knows that the tried-and-true celebrity endorsement is the simplest way to maximize advertising effectiveness, right?

WRONG.

Ace Metrix, a national company that tracks effectiveness of TV advertising, paints a much different picture. “We studied every nationally televised ad for the first 11 months in 2010 and found that celebrity ads performed either below average or merely equaled it,” said Ace Metrix CEO, Peter Daboll. “We found with rare exception, celebrity endorsements were largely ineffective and failed to yield the benefits popular wisdom promises.

So why are today’s consumers not as easily impressed by celebrity hucksters as they once were? The study conducted by Ace Metrix reports that today’s consumer is informed, time-compressed, difficult to impress, and is only influenced by ads that provide relevant information. They are more likely to be influenced by someone in their social network than a contrived celebrity connection. Simply put, they don’t want products pushed at them, even from a celebrity.

The study also points out that most celebrity ads lack the two key ingredients that consumers want most: relevance and information.

It’s also important to note that consumers polled in this study overwhelmingly cited being “confused” about what product the celebrity was endorsing as a reason for celebrity TV commercial ineffectiveness.

It appears consumers prefer commercials that clearly extol product benefits which could have a relevant connection to their lives; opposed to commercials from insincere celebrities that do little more than insult their intelligence with convoluted messages.

Imagine that, going back to where we were so many years ago, when TV advertising actually did more than amuse and entertain.

Celebrities or not, the new era of TV advertising, may not be that new after all.

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Don’t Be Afraid to Show Some Emotion

July 20, 2010

According to a recent study, the emotional brain reacts immediately to input and is much faster when making decisions than the rational brain. 

That’s why when someone says to you, “you’re allowing your emotions to cloud your judgment,” they could be on to something…

Dr. Robert Heath, from the University of Bath’s School of Management, found that television ads with high levels of emotional content enhanced how people felt about brands, even when those ads were lacking product information. On the other hand, ads which were low on emotional content had no effect on how favorable the public felt towards brands, even if the ads were high in news and information.

Emotional warmth or lack of it determines a brand perception. If consumers are “warm” to your brand, it is much easier to get their attention, as they are more open to listening, seeing and absorbing new information. If they are neutral or distant about your brand, it’s more difficult to influence them and the advertising needs to work harder.

So the next time you’re tempted to add just one more copy point into your 30-second commercial, remember it’s not what you say, but the way you say it, that gets results. 

Source:  Thinkbox, 2010

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The Precision of Sharp’s TV Campaign

July 15, 2010

Does the old-school formula of traditional TV advertising still work in this day of digital overload? I guess it depends on who you ask. But from my perspective, it’s still a vital component when bringing new products and services to market.  It’s definitely not the only thing necessary for customer conversion, but it remains – in many cases – the launching pad for a brand’s success.

Let me provide you with a recent, real life situation that illustrates this point.  

In the market for a new LCD television, I got in the car the other day and headed to my local Best Buy. As I do with most big purchases, my objective was not to purchase a new television at this time, but to check them out first and then go home to conduct my research online before making a final decision. The brands in consideration:  Samsung, Panasonic and a brand I never considered before – Sharp. 

Why consider Sharp, a brand never before on my radar? For starters, their new TV commercials featuring George Takei (Sulu from Star Trek fame) are superbly done. The campaign does a great job differentiating the Sharp Aquos LCD Television from every other TV out in the market today. Whether Sharp’s “Quad Pixel Technology” produces a better picture than the competitions is up for debate.  What’s not debatable is how these commercials convinced me to consider a brand never before on my consideration set. 

The commercials are smart. They clearly outline a strong USP. And they hammer it home in a way that’s persuasive and believable.  After being exposed to these messages for a few weeks, how could I not check out the Sharp Aquos? 

So here I am in Best Buy. And when I mentioned to the sales associate that I want to see the Sharp Aquos, he’s not surprised.  It appears a lot of other folks have also been moved into action by the same TV campaign with its clever positioning statement, “You have to see it, to see it.”

I don’t know if I’ll settle on the Sharp Aquos. What I do know is that I’m considering one because of the power of a few well-concepted, well-executed and well-placed TV commercials that grabbed my attention and piqued my interest.

So at the end of the day, whether traditional TV advertising is now considered old-school, or not, is really irrelevant to me. What’s relevant to me (and should be to you) is that it still gets results. 

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Is Your TV Commercial Falling on Deaf Ears?

June 21, 2010

Even while new devices like the iPad continue to drive simultaneous usage (people watching TV while they are online) there appears to be very little difference between people’s online usage habits when they’re watching TV and when they are not. 

According to a new J.D. Power Study, people who use their computers while they watch TV tend to be doing the same things online as people who are not watching TV at the same time:  email, chatting, shopping, etc.

Simultaneous use is a growing phenomenon:  Nearly 40% of people use TV and the web simultaneously each week.

This means that your TV commercials have to work harder than ever before. For the first time, sound may take precedence over sight when engaging the consumer and ultimately determining a campaign’s success or failure.   

Web-tasking consumers are simply ignoring commercials that don’t possess an audio hook.  Do your company’s TV commercials have what it takes to get this ever growing segment to look up from their iPads and laptops?  Or do your commercials sound like every other commercial in the break? How is your ad agency addressing this issue?   

The time where visuals alone could carry the day is gone forever. Without the right audio strategy, your message could be falling on deaf ears.

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