GM partners with Manchester United
This change comes with a change in advertising for Chevrolet to a new advertising agency, Commonwealth. They replace the approximately 70 agencies that have worked on advertising for Chevrolet. They have changed up their thinking and are working to create more effective spending. An example of that is the 20 or so TV commercials pumped out for the Chevy Cruze, when only a half dozen were needed, as stated by Chief Marketing Officer for GM, Joel Ewanick.
Manchester United has long been one of the most popular soccer teams in the world. With 659 million followers, they are easily the most popular club in the world. For example, in a regular season game featuring Manchester United versus fellow EPL great, Manchester City, there was a recorded 600 million viewers, and compare that to the 110-115 million viewers of the Super Bowl in recent years. Looking at these numbers, it's easy to say they made the right choice here.
In other soccer and GM related news, GM has recently announced a plan to donate 1.5 million indestructible soccer balls all over the world (137 countries have already received soccer balls). This is a part of the project One World Futbol which started in 2010.
The Value of Quality versus Quantity
In our industry, when you're selling something, you always need to stay mindful of what the consumer finds valuable. But at some point along our road to get there, corporations have actually had the ability to redefine what we deem as worthy of our time and money through consistent advertising. What is value to you? Is it good food at an affordable price, or is it the most bang for your buck regardless of calories, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup?
Over the past 40 years – the food industry has evolved its message to push the value of “quantity over the quality”. So we, in turn, shift our attention from “is this good for me?” to “how much can I get for my money?” and I believe advertising's push in that direction correlates with the standard of American values today.
So what does this mean for our industry? It means that advertising is more powerful than any of us gives it credit. It tells us what to wear, where to shop, what to buy, what to eat, where to sleep, and ect.; but, with great power, comes great responsibility. Advertisers have the amazing opportunity to stand on a pedestal of influence while being broadcasted in High Definition all over the world. It is the agency's job to steer them in the right direction. Of course, the reason you advertise is to gain awareness of your product in hopes to sell more of it – but what if you could do more. What if you could change the way we look at the world around us?
Agencies have the luxury of choosing who they work with. We can choose clients who we believe can make a difference in our community – all the while keeping in mind that what we say needs to serve the client, speak to the consumer, and if we can – tweak the visual and message, so the rest of the industry can revisit the value of its own product. Agencies have, in my mind, been following the “fast food trend” of valuing quantity over quality for some time now – and it is time to change that. If a giant hamburger has the ability to change the nation's views of value, I see no reason why we can't do the same. Only this time, let's bring the focus back on quality, shall we..?
“We’re not one at a timin’, We’re MASS communicatin’ . ”
I would like to take Papa John's as my normative example here. Obviously, you can reach any Papa John's by simply showing up to their store and placing an order or making a phone call, but be prepared to hear “Thank you for calling Papa John's. Can you please hold?”. What has the pizza giant done to remedy the situation? Papa John's has maintained a HUGE internet presence. If you were opportunistic enough to sign up for Papa John's internet-based ordering service before the Super Bowl, you got a free large pizza and a 2 liter beverage. The fun doesn't end there, lucky consumer. For every 5 dollars you spend with Papa John's via their web ordering system, you earn 1 “Papa Point”. Once you've accrued 25 of these points, you have just earned yourself a free pizza.
I would like to take this time to say that Papa John's is NOT my favorite pizza, and I don't think it tastes the best of all the options that I have, BUT it IS the MOST CONVENIENT option, and that speaks volumes. I know that every 5th order or so, I can look forward to a free meal. It may seem a bit gimmicky, but this strategy works! Jimmy John's has also streamlined their internet ordering services, complete with boxes that can be checked and drop down menus to customize your sandwich.
When I was in Japan during my tenure in the Navy, everyone delivered, even Subway. It's my stance that everyone SHOULD deliver. Until everyone catches up with that concept, Jimmy John's and Papa John's will be getting my take-out dollars. Who's getting yours? Clearly these companies grasp the concept, “Interact. Don't Interrupt”.
Advertising and Wall Street
I do not presume to know much about the stock market; however, due to the recent allegations hinting that certain investment bank underwriters supporting the IPO told clients earlier this month that they were reducing their earnings forecasts for Facebook, the social networking site has had quite the tumultuous ride during its opening week on Wall Street. And knowing what we know about the events leading up to this point, it's not very difficult to see the connection.
It is said these investment banks made the decision to sway their investors after supposed conversations with Zuckerberg. According to these reports, Zuckerberg hinted that he was worried his site's value was decreasing because so many advertisers had been pulling out recently, and that Facebook's mobile version was looking to have an even meeker forecast.
So what does this say about the power/affect of advertisers and their monies spent? It looks to me that; firstly, you need to create a sound platform that will ensure a ROI on ad dollars spent. As we have said before, ROI for ad dollars is not something you should expect immediately (consider it more like any other cost to run a business) BUT if over time, as General Motors noticed, you continue to see no return on dollars spent, you could blame it on the outlet, but it could also be as simple as – the campaign just wasn't good enough.. But I digress.
So where does this leave us? I've established two takeaways from this Facebook debacle. One: Where companies choose to spend their ad dollar has a direct correlation with how successful said company/outlet can be. Two: Some advertising platforms are indeed more successful than others, and just because something is “popular” doesn't mean it's always good for advertising. However; the bottom line is, and a point you will notice me making time and time again , you must think of the consumer before anything else, and no matter what outlet you use to get your message across – if you're not talking to them… they're not going to listen!
Oh, Soft Drinks, Thou Art Silly!
Let us further assume that your preference is Coke over Pepsi. Coca-Cola has not one, but TWO zero calorie cola beverages out there. Coke Zero is advertised as having REAL cola taste and ZERO calories. My question is, “If Coke Zero has zero calories, and Diet Coke has zero calories but apparently tastes LESS like REAL cola, WHY would you EVER drink Diet Coke in lieu of Coke Zero?”. Keep in mind, I didn't say that Diet Coke doesn't taste like cola. Diet Coke's OWN parent company made that implication when they branded their other product that way.
Pepsi is no better. There is Diet Pepsi. There is Pepsi Max. There have been several iterations of a clear or “Crystal Pepsi”. To be honest, at first I thought, “Hmmmm, ok, well they replaced aspartame with better tasting sucralose, or Splenda” but NO…they didn't! Both products use the sweetener, aspartame. Basically, you've gone through the trouble and expense of creating a new beverage that creates no new market, but only further divides an existing one while only incurring greater cost by diversifying your beverage line (ingredients, packaging, etc…).
I will only briefly touch on Dr. Pepper excluding half of the earth's population by blatantly saying Dr. Pepper's new 10 calorie beverage is JUST FOR MEN. Am I then to infer, that men don't like zero calorie diet beverages, and that those ten extra calories make it bold, and tasty, and maybe that the beverage doesn't go flat as quickly as would, say, Diet Dr. Pepper, which used to be branded as tasting “more like regular Dr. Pepper”?
Ladies and gentlemen of the business-blogging community, I ask you, “Do you not demand more of your beverage companies?”.
Tune in next week for my exciting rant on the microbrew industry.