Super Bowl XLVIII Ad Rankings: Budweiser, Doritos (and Seahawks) Blowout

Budweiser and Doritos were the uncontested winners in last night’s Ad Bowl, as measured by USAToday (popularity),  Brand Bowl (social media buzz) and Katz Marketing Solutions (effectiveness).   Both brands had two exceptional spots (Budweiser: Puppy Love and Hero’s Welcome; Doritos: Cowboy Kid and Time Machine) that nailed all the essentials of great advertising:   enhances brand equity, persuasive, resonates with the target audience, compelling main message, brand integral to the story, and the Super Bowl ‘wow’ factor for entertainment.   Doritos spots were particularly outstanding – the story line is the quest for the coveted product.

Kudos to several highly effective campaigns that clearly communicated a persuasive sales message (oh – – remember that?) such as Radio Shack (visit our contemporary stores), T-Mobile (no contract carrier), and Volkswagen (durability).     These are the companies most likely to reap the best returns on their +$4 million per ad Super Bowl investments.

While the lovable animals remain timeless, increasingly grating are the formulaic ‘sex sells’ ads, sorely lacking in reasons to prefer their brands.    Sure, they ‘made ya look,” but we doubt H&M, Oikos, or SodaStream need to run out and up their production forecasts.

Lastly, we applaud two brands’ continued respect for diversity:  Cheerios and Coca-Cola.      While Coke’s song choice and multilingual approach pushed the edge with some consumers (a fairly low 57% positive sentiment score), it placed an enviable #5 on BrandBowl’s social media ranking with +33,000 tweets.

As for the worst:  the cringe worthy attempts to be funny, contemporary and cool.    Better luck next year Wonderful Pistachios, GoDaddy, and Beats Music.

Here are the winners (and worst) from three marketing mavens – USAToday’s AdMeter (panel popularity), Pointslocal and Boston.com’s Brand Bowl (twitter volume and sentiment), and Katz Marketing Solutions (effectiveness).

USA Today – AdMeter                              

Best:
1.   Budweiser (“Puppy Love”)

2.  Doritos (“Cowboy Kid”)
3.  Budweiser (“Hero’s Welcome”)
4.  Doritos (“Time Machine”)
5.  Radio Shack (“Phone Call”)

Worst:  BudLight “Cool Twist.”   Good reminder that great advertising requires risk taking.

Pointslocal and Boston.com’s BrandBowl

1.  Budweiser

2.  Doritos
3.  Cheerios
4.  Pepsi
5.  Coke

Worst:  Staples

Katz Marketing Solutions

1.   Budweiser (“Puppy Love”)

2.   Doritos (“Cowboy Kid”)
3.   Doritos (“Time Machine”)
4.   Cheerios (“Gracie”)
5.   Radio Shack (“Phone Call”)

Worst:  GoDaddy

5 Ways to Maintain Brand Growth and Relevance: StarKist’s Revitalization Strategy

StarKist‘s marketing strategy is a rich example of maintaining brand relevance and accelerating profitable growth.    Despite having some significant brand challenges:  a mature category, a mature brand, dated brand equities, and pricing challenges, their strategy is spectacular and effective.

Here are the 5 brand revitalization best practices they’ve nailed:

1.   Maintain a clear, consistent, and relevant brand positioning  –  StarKist’s brand’s positioning is the best brand of high quality, nutritious tuna.   This has been a virtual constant for over 60 years.   Consistency is relatively easy, but maintaining relevance over time is more difficult and even treacherous, if you don’t do it.    They have brilliantly adapted, but not radically changed, the brand positioning to ‘the best brand of high quality satiating nutritious tuna.’     That transformative “tweak” moves pre-packaged tuna from dated and increasingly irrelevant, to a brand that is contemporary, appealing and compelling for today’s consumer.

  

Continue reading

The Chobani brand Yogurt Coup: Reinvent the Category

We applaud Chobani‘s explosion to +$900 million in annual sales since its 2007 startup by attacking the yogurt category with a truly differentiated and superior brand.    Not only have they catapulted to stardom, they’ve even beat the brilliant, entrenched competitors, like Yoplait (General Mills) and Dannon.    They’re among the elite brands, like WhiteStrips, Swiffer, Apple, and Dyson who invent and dominate new category segments by reinventing their category.   

First, Chobani designed a much better product.    Their CEO and founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, thought American yogurt was horrible and developed a premium, Greek-style yogurt, which is thicker, creamier, more protein, less sweet, and has a healthier perception.   They challenged many of the conventional approaches of what product design seemed to drive the category.

They also rethought pricing and price/value.   Continue reading

7 Musts for Profitable New Products

1. Delight your target consumer
DO focus on creating items that truly solve your target consumer’s needs and points-of-pain
DO meet and exceed their needs
DO create fans, not just customers
DON’T focus on internal issues
Can you precisely define your target market and what motivates them?
√ Does 50% of your target audience say they definitely or probably would buy your product?

2. Make sure it’s profitable early
DO screen ideas for profit potential at the idea stage
DO rework ideas early to address any profitability issues
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MiO brand liquid water enhancers – Killer Concept, but Terrible Trial

Kraft’s new MiO brand liquid water enhancers are a fantastic idea, but sadly, so disappointing in reality.   Kraft is touting it as their first major brand launch since DiGiorno in 1995, to capitalize on the  $10 billion bottled water market.   Unfortunately,  it’s a great example of how even the best innovations will languish, if you overlook some execution basics.

The innovation concept itself is so promising. Leveraging their flavored beverage brilliance (Kool-Aid and Crystal Light), Kraft positioned MiO as a revolutionary, more contemporary portable water additive. The name is great – connoting personalization and a clever play on H2O. The launch plan was spectacular, heavy traditional and social media support creating cult awareness before the product even reached stores. Teenagers were begging their parents to get some; it doesn’t get much better than that in marketing.   MiO had stellar packaging and product displays – unique, eye-catching, and shaped like a water drop.

The television advertising campaign is exceptional too – clearly positioned the product as revolutionary, consumer-customizable, and thirst quenching.   Brilliant use of music (“That’s the way I like it”) reinforcing the customization benefit, and solid media plan to ensure the target market was aware of this
new product.

A nearly flawless product launch…. uh…. except…..

1) Distribution was spotty.     In many major metro markets, Continue reading

10 Obscenely Easy Ways to do Better Marketing

Brand marketing and strategy can be very complicated, analysis driven, or even intimidating.    But much of the time, it just isn’t.     Here are 10 obscenely easy ways to do better marketing.    And this isn’t about one particular company, rather, all too many.

1.     Focus –  If you haven’t already, figure out what business you really are in (it’s not what you make, it’s whose problems you solve), what drives your business model, and what you need to attack first.    Less is always more, and more profitable.
2.     Develop your Business Strategy – This needn’t be the all-consuming five-year plan that is both painful and rarely used.    Just figure out what direction you want to head, make sure you know why you want to head that way (versus other alternatives), and make sure that direction is financially sound.      This is CEO and Board stuff, and it’s critical.    But it’s all too frequently not done. Continue reading

Brand Authenticity: Tiger’s Tailspin

Brands must be authentic.    Great brands, like people, create positive enduring relationships based on their credibility and consistency.      While brands have always needed to continuously earn their esteem, social media now makes brand authenticity a mandate.     All eyes are watching your brand, and missteps are reported globally in an instant.    Keep it simple.    Make your brand authentic.

Lack of authenticity is what’s driving the unprecedented demise of the Tiger Woods brand.   His ‘brand truth’ is dramatically different from the carefully honed aspirational brand image.    And it was that faux brand image and esteem that made brand Tiger so ideal for corporate sponsorships.     Incessant media coverage and its exponential visibility in the blogosphere unearthed the size of brand Tiger’s lack of authenticity.     Post-media frenzy, his champion credentials will remain, but the ‘wonderful man’ imagery has been unveiled as a sham.      Brand Tiger’s demise is an extreme, but illustrative example, of the danger of lack of brand authenticity.     Last week, AT&T joined the growing list of multi-million dollar sponsors who really had no choice but to stop aligning their brand with Tiger Woods.    The financial value of the Tiger Woods brand is a fraction of what it was just a month ago.     Continue reading

Off! brand: Innovation by Nailing Nuisances

Off! brand solved one of consumers’ biggest problems with their category… and their new product is flying off the shelf. Here’s a great example of a company that sufficiently clipOnunderstands its category and consumers and use that knowledge to drive breakthrough innovation. They solved one of consumers’ biggest concerns about insect repellents – the inconvenience and fear of applying it to your skin – with the Off! Clip-On and early sales results are exceptional. According to Ad Age, the Off fan has exceeded S.C. Johnson‘s initial sales expectations by 400%, sold $4.2 million in its first month, and retailers’ sole problem with the item is keeping it in stock. And at a premium price of over $10! Continue reading

Swine Flu: CDC’s Brand Coup?!

As we all wash our hands for the 89th time today, you have to admire the Center for Disease Control‘s effective branding and positioning of the Swine Flu. Really, swine fluwould the threat of an obscure H1N1 virus sufficiently capture our attention or become a media darling? ‘Swine flu brand’ has gained exceptionally high consumer awareness in a short time, reinforced awareness with frequent and relevant messages, generated buzz and driven preventive activity. Amazing, given that medical professionals are still sorting through the validity of this flu’s unique severity. Continue reading

Levi’s’ Lame Advertising Campaign: Provocative and Pathetic

Levi’s current brand advertising and communication are fabulous examples of ‘what not to do.’

Here’s a classic case of an advertiser and their agency who are so desperately trying to “break through the clutter,” that they forgot that good advertising is supposed to sell more stuff and enhance the brand’s appeal. But wait, the concurrent viral ‘Unbutton Your Beast’ campaign is even worse. Unbutton Your Beast Both communication efforts give the consumer absolutely no performance or emotional reason to go buy a pair of Levi’s. And they do nothing to enhance the brand’s image, and quite a lot to tarnish it instead. What’s the message? Levi’s is for amorous pathological liars? Millions of dollars gone badly astray. Meanwhile, Levi’s reports disappointing sales and profit performance globally, and in particular, North America. Cause and effect? You bet. Continue reading