Get the Data – There’s a lot!
Marketing analysis can generate reams of complex data. Everything can be measured, but it’s how you interpret that data that makes it meaningful. The right advertising at the right time to the right audience with the right message can generate a high return on marketing investment. Plenty of choices are available today: Social media ads, print advertising, product placement in movies, TV ads and radio spots. But the pinnacle of advertising and marketing is to have a spot played during the Super Bowl. With Super Bowl LII looming, Super Bowl advertising fever is here again.
Review of past Super Bowl advertising reveals commercial advertisement winners and losers. How does a company determine whether to pull the trigger on a $5 million, 30-second commercial ad during the Super Bowl? That’s $166,667 per second. Does the payoff (more sales, stronger brand, higher prices or better distribution) justify the cost? With the widest TV viewership, at around 100 million, does the Super Bowl’s huge audience translate into more profit to the company?
For most companies, Super Bowl ads don’t fit into their cost structure or don’t apply to their audiences. Super Bowl ads are perfect for reaching wide audiences for wide appeal products, such as beer, cola and even avocados. They’re also good for reaching hard-to-reach audiences. For example, millennial males who have figured out how to avoid the ever-present TV commercial. The Super Bowl has become one of the best venues for entertaining and, hopefully, effective commercials. Super Bowl Ads fail for many reasons. A re-run of ads that have already aired is a waste of budget. A more sophisticated audience expects ads with a creative edge. Viewers want these to be memorable experiences (either positive or negative). Commonplace ads won’t work for an audience looking to experience great creative masterpieces.
Super Bowl ads need to stand out, to be memorable. But it’s not enough to have a creative award-winning ad. The ad has to also increase profits by a measurable percentage. That is the true gauge of its success.
A few years ago, “Avocados from Mexico” launched its brand on the Super Bowl. Its campaign was a great creative execution of the “World’s First Draft Ever” in 2015. I never knew that avocados came from Mexico. I just thought about them as coming from the store. But now the avocado has become branded. Is this like branding tap water? Is Fiji water that much better than Dasani or Kroger’s Purified Drinking Water. Avocados from Mexico have continued their Super Bowl advertising in the following years. Its good creative is building their brand, driving demand and growing the category. I’m looking forward to their 2018 ad to see if they can continue their creative excellence streak.
Closely Monitor The Payoff
So, how could Avocados from Mexico (or any other brand) make certain that its investment paid off? Did its $5M for its 30 seconds of fame actually deliver increased value? To answer this, we need to consider a few questions:
- Did sales go up immediately afterward?
- Did perceptions of the brand grow leading to measurable, increased, future sales?
- Were they able to increase their prices? Or were they able to win new distribution outlets?
Major advertisers use sophisticated techniques to measure ROI. They use these dimensions of success to determine whether their investment paid off. It’s critical to get this right, especially for an investment that big. The CEO of most organizations must provide an unequivocal answer when the board asks about the effectiveness of its investment. Did its $5M+ investment definitely lead to increased profits and increased share prices? For those of us on the outside, a popular refrain is, “If we’re in next year, it worked.”
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