THE MEDIA YEARBOOK: The talkability of any marketing campaign is what it is all about. Freshly Ground Insights found out which campaigns marketers admired and with which they wished they had been involved. FGI managing director Brad Aigner reports.
The marketers’ feedback on local or global campaigns they admire gives insight into their critical success or failure.
A number of marketers’ perennial favourites were Coca-Cola’s advertising campaigns. They specifically mentioned the following campaigns:
- ‘20 years of independence’
- ‘Happiness’ (using the bottle cap/crown as a token to phone a friend)
- ‘Happiness’ (personalised names on Coke cans)
For Coca-Cola, the integration of brand marketing through its entire system was often given as the reason for its campaigns’ successes. One marketer commented, “The campaign was a true example of ‘through the line’ marketing. The concept was pulled through from above the line advertising right down to in-store level.”
Others cited the brand’s greatest strength as its ability to connect with consumers on an emotional level, with one marketer describing it as “the emotional connection that the Coca-Cola campaign created through what inspires each individual, as well as what’s important in life. All consumers can connect to the campaign”.
Another said, “The creative (big) idea was based on a real human and behavioural insight. For an international brand, it tapped into the local market very well and created talk.”
Another brand lauded by marketers for its advertising campaigns was Nando’s. Many admired the irreverent and humorous brand communication of the fast food chain, as well as its ability to connect with the South African psyche. One marketer explained, “It is quick, tongue-in-cheek, sometimes wickedly controversial and ballsy.” Another said, “Reckless sense of humour, absolute South African-ness and ability to constantly reinvent the satirical take on our country, while maintaining the essence of Nando’s – a distinctly South Africa flavour on food, politics, sport or celebrity gossip.”
One of the marketers’ recurring themes and reasons for admiring specific brand campaigns was their ability to tap into basic human truths and/or insight. The Dove soap campaign was commended for having “played off the insight that women feel they are not beautiful”. Another marketer gave this Procter & Gamble ‘Thank you, Mom’ 2012 Olympic Games campaign the thumbs up for the same core reason, “based on a powerful consumer insight. Emotionally hard hitting while being extremely uplifting. Standing the test of time”.
Similarly, the campaign for Vodacom’s ‘Baby’ was described as “addressing a consumer frustration to which everyone can relate”.
FNB’s ‘Steve’ campaign was also admired by a number of marketers. Reasons given for its success include its “stickiness” and “talkability”, but the aspect most frequently admired was the longevity of the campaign. “They have been able to extend the ‘Steve story’ by changing its angle,” said one marketer. But some respondents cautioned that brand campaign extensions sometimes lead to “irritability” if not appropriately managed. Specifically, a marketer said, “Initially I liked FNB’s Steve campaign, but it is now tired. Time to refresh”.
Some marketers explained that the extension of a brand campaign should not simply be the flighting of the same creative messaging across multiple media platforms. This approach would certainly lead to excessive frequency of exposure and wear out of the creative message. Rather, it was reasoned that new creative messages should be produced that are appropriate to the channel/s on which they are to be flighted. Furthermore, the central theme or ‘golden thread’ of the campaign should be retained. One marketer commented, “Campaigns built around a story are often most marketable and therefore allow further executions for the same key message.”
Another common theme was the importance of brand campaigns being “authentic”. This term was explained in several different contexts. The Telkom ‘Molo mhlobo wam’ campaign was given as a good example of an authentic South African story that was also effective in its simplicity and clarity of message.
Similarly, the Nike ‘Fat Kid Jogging’ campaign was explained as, “Authentic. Such a refreshing take on advertising within the category. Unexpected. Emotive. Singleminded. Based on brand purpose.” The current Capitec Bank campaign was described as, “In-tune with the market, plain, simple and effective. Authentic to its category.”
Some marketers were inspired by emotive brand campaigns, frequently citing ‘iconic’ brands as examples. The SAB Miller campaign for Castle Lager in recent years was described as an appealing, emotive campaign. Said a marketer, “Advertising through storytelling, provided the stories are relevant to the target market, (is) hugely powerful and can elevate the brand.” The more recent VW brand campaigns were also mentioned by a number of marketers for their emotive appeal. “The VW ‘Anything Is Possible’ campaign captured people’s emotions, while remaining fun, relatable and reflective of modern culture.”
Marketers’ biggest irritation with respect to failed campaigns was when a brand overpromises to its market and then underdelivers. Marketers cited examples of brands where the marketing communication sets up consumer expectations that cannot possibly be fulfilled in reality.
The second most common reason given for the failure of certain brand campaigns was their lack of relevance with respect to the market segment/s being targeted. Many marketers gave examples of brand campaigns that they believed had not ‘connected’ primarily due to their lack of depth of consumer understanding. Another common criticism levelled at some brand campaigns related less to the creative messaging and more to the media strategies behind them. Specifically, the excessive flighting of a creative execution was often given as a reason for the failure of a brand campaign.
This post was first published in 2015 The Media Yearbook. A digital version of the full magazine can be downloaded here.
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