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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Live Action versus Animated

December 29, 2010

Which Works Best?

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.

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GM Marketing Chief Says TV is Not Dead

October 11, 2010

Television Remains Mainstay for GM

In an industry that’s driving money into social media and other communication platforms Joel Ewanick, the head of marketing for General Motors, believes some of the best campaigns still begin with Television.

“I love television,” he said. “(Some) people say television is dead, it is not dead. It drives a lot of traffic.”

In July, approximately two months after Ewanick joined GM, the company aired its first Chevy Corvette TV commercial in five years. The spot, titled “Still Building Rockets,” contrasts NASA scientists developing and launching space rockets with a Corvette being built and burning rubber on a test track.

According to Ewanick, Chevrolet will unveil a Silverado pickup TV campaign in October, which features the good-natured teasing that occurs when Silverado owners visit with owners of other brands. Additionally, GM will be returning to run Super Bowl advertising in February.

Ewanick believes TV remains a key medium for selling and driving traffic to dealer websites. According to Automotive News, Ewanick – who spent about the past three years as Hyundai Motor America’s marketing chief – said he likes the current Hyundai “Uncensored” campaign. In it, Hyundai test drivers give straightforward opinions about how they feel behind the wheel of the vehicles.

“That campaign began on TV then moved to Facebook and other social media sites to continue a lively dialogue for Hyundai owners and others,” Ewanick said.

That’s a good model for how a campaign can launch on TV and expand into other media, he added.

 

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1 Out of 5 People Find TV Commercials Confusing

October 1, 2010

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.

If not, maybe it’s time to consider a new agency?

Source: Harris Poll, August 26, 2010

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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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TV Makes a Comeback

July 2, 2010

(Was it ever gone?)

It seems people are beginning to change their tune on the demise of TV advertising.  According to a June article in Advertising Age, auto advertisers are back and apparently they have brought some new advertisers with them, “charging in and sucking up all the available inventory.”

“I think there might be a re-examination of television,” Ed Atorino, a media analyst at Benchmark Co. told the magazine. 

Apparently this re-examination has uncovered the value of targeting a large-scale television audience that can’t be found elsewhere.  For the many advertisers who still rely on the masses to keep their doors open, the need still exists to reach lots of people – cost efficiently.  A feat that remains hard to accomplish exclusively with digital-savvy customers who hop along a myriad of websites, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages.

TV may look dowdy compared to a lot of the new technology taking center stage, but its intrinsic power has proven hard to beat. 

Two new studies add more proof that TV advertising is challenging today’s popular wisdom.  Pricewaterhouse Coopers projects ad spending on total U.S. TV will grow to 80.3 billion in 2014 from 62.1 billion in 2009, surpassing its previous high in 2006 of nearly $70 billion.  Meanwhile, Interpublic Groups Magna Global media research unit sees TV’s share of total media dollars growing to 36.8% in 2015 from 35.9% in 2009.

TV still has it challenges ahead, but for now, when it comes to reach and impact – it still remains the only game in town.

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