I have a not-so-shocking secret I’d like to confess: I like ads.
Online, TV, it doesn’t matter. I’ve found I spend an inordinate amount of time observing ads – most of the time to the point where I can’t even remember the actual content they were served around. (Did you know that Al Bundy left Peggy, Bud and Kelly, and is currently shacked up with some Colombian woman and her son in LA? Craziness! His new bride also really likes Diet Pepsi.)
After another week spent engaging in this pastime of mine, I’ve had an epiphany:
- “Big” ads with memorable characters and splashy content are the key to a great advertising campaign.
All it takes is that one swing-for-the-fences type campaign to launch a brand into the stratosphere. Right?
Take GoDaddy.com, for example. Over the last few years, they have invested a significant amount of money in the mother of all spots: Super Bowl ads. These ads, many featuring NASCAR darling Danica Patrick, have significantly increased GoDaddy’s sales, market share and overall awareness among consumers (FT.com login required to read). It’s the magic bullet!
Not really, though.
For every GoDaddy success story, there have been countless flops. Big ad campaigns that generated a ton of buzz, but did little for the bottom line of the brand in question.
How about the Subservient Chicken? If you were like me, after you were done typing in all sorts of outlandish (and obscene) things for the chicken to do, you gathered up all the change under your couch cushions and promptly hit the drive-through at Burger King for a sack of Double Whoppers. Funny thing is, I didn’t do that – and neither did anyone else.
No disrespect to my agency brethren at CP+B, because the campaign was uber creative and did win a ton of awards. The fact remains, though, that big creative does not always equal big returns for a brand. While GoDaddy did achieve some success, they were also in a vertical that didn’t truly have a defined leader. They were able to establish themselves as the McDonald’s of web hosting/domain registration because no one else had. Not every brand has that luxury.
The moral of the story is this: Every ad dollar spent should be a calculated risk.
1.) Know your product.
2.) Know your audience.
3.) Know how far your brand can go.
Before you tell your agency that you need that one, big ad campaign, make sure there is research to back it up.