Friday, July 24, 2015

The Power Of The Advertising Campaign

Welcome to the 2015 edition of What The Tour de France Can Teach You About Advertising. I've had difficulty keeping up with this year's Tour as well as I have in years past and hence, I'm a bit late with this post. And, if you want to get all caught up with my previous editions, you can do so hereherehereherehere, and here.
The Power Of The Advertising Campaign
A Tour de France peleton paceline chasing down a breakaway.

One question I'm often asked about the Tour is, why are groups of two, three, four or five riders allowed to breakaway to a big lead during a stage and how does the larger pack of riders almost always decide to chase them down? The simple answer to the first part of that question is, in most cases, riders that are allowed to break away aren't contenders to win the overall Tour title. Hence, the larger pack of riders (including the race leaders) are often content to sit back and ride at a slightly more relaxed pace and let some riders who are no threat for the podium pick up some small time bonuses and camera time for their sponsors. (Note, there are a whole lot more complicated tactics involved in both the breakaway and the chase, but we'll save those for another day.)

Now, as to how the pack catches a breakaway's lead stretching to five minutes or more, the answer is simply one of numbers. Which is to say, a group of 80 or 100 riders can ride much faster than a smaller group of two or five. How? By riding in what's known as one big echelon paceline, where one rider or group of riders goes to the front, rides as hard as he can for a minute or so, then drops back and lets fresher legs set the pace while the riders behind the leader pedal faster and work less as long as there are riders in front of them blocking the wind.

The enemy of any cyclist is wind resistance. Hence, while a group of five riders can work together to form a paceline with one man leading the pace and blocking the wind, a larger group can do so more efficiently, with less work and greater speed. That's why, on most flat stages of the Tour when a breakaway goes up the road, the larger peleton of riders usually has no problem chasing them down once it decides to do so.

So where's the advertising lesson in all of this? If you're advertising and promoting your business, you need to think like the pack and not the breakaway. That is, remember that an organized, extended campaign will promote your business much better than a hastily thrown together media campaign designed for a quick hit.

Think of your promotional messages, whatever form they take, as a fresh rider at the front of the pace line. Just as a rider will rotate to the head of the paceline, ride hard to set the pace, then drop back in favor of fresher legs, think of each promotional message you produce, be it print, broadcast, direct mail, or social media, as a fresh set of legs powering your company's brand awareness. And, just as a pack of 100 riders can go much faster than a group of five in a breakaway, a larger advertising campaign with a greater reach making more impressions will keep your brand fresh on the minds of your consumer.

In other words, the more wheels you have spinning faster to promote your business, the farther your sales will go!

Monday, February 2, 2015

The 2015 Super Bowl Ad Awards For the Non-Poetic

2015 Super Bowl AdsWelcome to the 2015 Super Bowl Ad Awards For The Non-Poetic! Super Bowl XLIX is done, the New England Patriots are the Super Bowl champions, Pete Carroll has seven months to focus on his 9/11 Truths and it's time to reveal our judging panel's (me and Office Dog) favorites from this year's crop of Super Bowl ads.

Note that, while everyone has their opinions of the best and worst, funniest and failures, award winners and money wasters, noteworthy and not worthy, our honors may stray wildly from the standard Super Bowl advertising award fare. Our goal is to recognize the ads that stuck, the ads that sucked, and the ads resonated with the guy or gal who watched the game first, the commercials second, and had a beer or two while actually enjoying the entire show (from the viewpoint of an advertising guy who worked Super Bowl promotions in bars for 15 years). So, without further non-poetry…

The Office Dog Honors Award and Best Super Bowl Spot That Wasn't A Super Bowl Ad Award 
This award honors the best use of animals (preferably monkeys) in a Super Bowl ad. However, this year gave us a lot more Dads than dogs. Budweiser aside, the Subaru Convenience Store ad was likely the funniest and most well executed spot I saw all day, even if it was during the Puppy Bowl (and even if it was a year old). Granted, Office Dog is a yellow Lab himself, so he was a little biased, but…

The A For Execution But...Award
Turbo Tax spent :50 seconds giving us dramatic re-enactments of pivotal moments in Revolutionary War history and the big payoff is…you can file your taxes via Turbo Tax for absolutely nothing? They knew this was a Super Bowl spot, right?
Honorable Mention
The Fiat Blue Pill ad was another ad that was nicely done and gave us :45 seconds of fun while wondering where this one was going. Unfortunately, it fell flat when it transitioned into actually trying to sell a Fiat on its looks. This one did have a fun payoff but, my guess is, the bulk of the viewers had already tuned it out upon seeing they were actually stuck watching a Fiat commercial.

Best Schizophrenic Super Bowl Advertiser Award
Nationwide started off solid with its Invisible spot featuring Mindy Kaling. This is what Good Super Bowl spots are made of, with humor, a nice message and a good payoff.
But then, in the second quarter, they follow up with their Make Safe Happen spot, showing us an adorable kid and faithful doggie, who won't get to enjoy any of the joys of growing up because his dumbass parents killed him when they didn't secure their 80" flat screen on top of their entertainment cabinet!
In other words, Nationwide made us laugh and cry while the kissed $9 million goodbye! Not a good combination for a good Super Bowl Sunday.
The WTF Award
Honestly, is there anything that sells better on Super Bowl Sunday than toe fungus relief? Other than being generally disgusting, everyone wanted to quickly forget Jublia's little animated (and disgusting) Tackle Toe Fungus spot…
(Note this one wasn't up on Youtube in a decent form, nor could I embed what I did find so, if you want to see this one, you need to go here.
The Please, For The Love Of God, Go Away Award
Since GoDaddy has won this award every year its been given, I've decided to just name it after them. However, while the WalMart of websites got a real agency, they're still trying to be edgy and create their own buzz. This year, they did it with the anti-Budweiser Lost Dog spot which the lost puppy finds it way home, only to be informed it had been sold via a website built on GoDaddy! Funny huh? While somewhat creative, was also pretty damn crass imho. Lots of people agreed that it was just plain mean and the uproar caused GoDaddy to pull that spot before game day. Of course, the company still got plenty of publicity and views of the spot so, from a free-publicity standpoint, it was mission accomplished for GoDaddy and helped the company score another of its namesake Please, For The Love Of God, Go Away Award! (GoDaddy did run a tasteful but tepid spot during the game tonight and it was, in a word, dull.)
Best Pointless Use Of A Pointless Celebrity Award
I freely admit I'm one of the majority of Americans that have absolutely no interest whatsoever in Kim Kardashian. Hence, when T-Mobile ran their spot featuring Kim flatly making light of her own vapid, self-obsession I, like millions of other Americans, quickly tuned out. Kudos to T-Mobile for a complete waste of $4.5 million on top of whatever they paid Kim and for coming up with that pointless hashtag that no one will ever, ever use.

The Water Cooler Winner
The Budweiser "Lost Dog" spot had it all, a Labrador puppy, a connection between said puppy and big horses, pulled heartstrings, danger, sweetness and plenty of shmaltz. For obvious reasons, this was also Office Dog's favorite. It was the second straight year that Budweiser quietly nailed it on Super Bowl Sunday. It's just too bad that it won't do a damn thing to sell beer and help get the Budweiser brand off life support.
Honorable Mention
I liked the Coke spot's tone, message and execution, but this is the Super Bowl and that wonderful message of love and peace won't last till Monday morning. The one that will carry over on Monday was Loctite's Positive Feelings ad. The company spent their entire 2015 budget on this one spot featuring un-sexy people dancing to celebrate the little tube of glue in their fanny pack. You might call it the anti-Super Bowl ad but it worked!
Another spot I liked was Snickers' Brady Bunch takeoff. While the concept is getting tired, Steve Buscemi's appearance in the pay off in the Jan Brady, Marcia, Marcia, Marcia role got a pretty good laugh.

So, there ya take on the the ads from Super Bowl XLIX. Some good, some bad, some creative, some cliché. Feel free to leave your thoughts, picks, pans, favorites and failures in the comments. And, until then, when does the 2015 football season start?