A brief post on taking risks


Back in April, I compiled some marketing hits and misses. A few of these are real stinkers, but it’s important to note that sometimes taking risks works out really well.

For example, consider my hometown’s public library who used the double entendre, Drop Your Drawers, to get donations of underwear for children served by their school’s family resource centers. So far, more than 300 pairs of “drawers” have been given, some of them slipped through the book slot over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

A couple of risk takers I really admire are the brain trust surrounding Kentucky For Kentucky, an irreverent and edgy online news journal with unique Kentucky-themed products. Griffin VanMeter and Whit Hiler were less than impressed with the commonwealth’s official motto, Unbridled Spirit, so they came up with their own. Then they started a crowdsourcing campaign to purchase time during the Super Bowl to shout their replacement to the proverbial mountaintop from sea to shining sea.

Whether they expected to generate the bucks necessary to be seen during the big game is unclear. Even though they fell woefully short of the money needed to purchase time during the granddaddy of all TV commercial platforms, the pair was rewarded for their audacity with some great coverage. There’s no way I’d refer to their effort as a marketing failure.

Whether you’re ready to take risks or just want to explore low-cost marketing for the first time for your business or non-profit, I can help. There’s no charge for initial consultations. Give me a call.




Super Bowl Ad Monday


For smaller businesses and non-profits, regular advertising often is out of financial reach, which is why it is so vital to have a communications strategy in place that takes full advantage of free, or nearly free, promotional opportunities.

But the latter is a blog post for another day.

Television advertising likely has no bigger day around the water cooler than the day after the Super Bowl. There’s the pricetag: $4.5 million for 30 seconds; There’s the estimated number of viewers: 110 million; There are the celebrity sightings: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Mindy Kaling, Britney Spears, etc.; Oh yes, and then there are the products themselves.

With so much money in play, it’s not surprising that so-called “experts” in advertising and marketing disagree on the effectiveness of the ads. Interestingly enough, the definition of “effectiveness” could be the reason for the disparate views.

Consider the viewpoint of Rob Siltanen, founder of a Los Angeles-based ad agency who wrote about Super Bowl ads in Forbes:

What other venue better assures that people are going to watch your commercial or talk about your brand more than being on the Super Bowl? What other venue says you’re a first-rate, big-time, trustworthy brand more than the Super Bowl? What other place allows you to catch the eyes of (millions of) men and women with one fell swoop? … What event can better tie-in and harness the power of digital and social media? And what other event better allows your brand and products to be talked about for weeks leading up to the event, during the event, and for weeks, months, and even years after the event?

His last point resonates. I still love Tide To Go’s Talking Stain ad from 2008, and when pros count down the best TV ads ever, the lion’s share debuted around a Super Bowl game.

Going back to Siltanen’s comments, notice there’s not a single dollar sign or percentage in any of his observations. Yes, advertising is about money, but its value is not so easily calculated.

Regarding personal purchases, price is a huge factor (for most of us), of course, but perception elbows its way in there, too. Think Crest instead of Colgate; Hunt’s instead of Heinz. Advertising is about perception.

What about the bottom line? Extreme Reach (previously known as Brand Ads) released a report on the performance of 2014 Super Bowl ads. They found that the consumers surveyed were, on average, 6.6 percent more likely to consider purchasing the product after having seen the ad than they were before. That response was consistent among 83.9 percent of advertisers.

Advertising works. It is important to find a place for it in your business’ or organization’s budget. Use it wisely and make sure you have a top-notch ad before you sign the dotted line.

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