May, 2012

Was Gm’s Pullback From Facebook Ads The Beginning Of A General (motors) Retreat?

When you tune to Channel 6 to watch Super Bowl XLVII this coming February, don’t expect to see any Government Motors commercials.

After pulling the plug on $10 million worth of advertising just days before Facebook’s $100 billion IPO, America’s third-largest advertiser has now announced it’s dumping the Super Bowl. This is after having spent $82 million to advertise there between 2002 and 2011, according to Kantar Media.

But now, “it’s just getting too expensive,” GM’s global marketing chief, Joel Ewanick, told the Wall Street Journal, “we simply can’t justify the expense.”

This is kind of funny coming from the very man who, when he was in charge of Hyundai’s marketing, took his brand into the Super Bowl telecast to roll out the job-loss guarantee program that helped steer Hyundai through the depths of the Obama Recession.

Everyone else is out of step

Ewanick’s old employer, Hyundai, announced it was following his old example, not his new one. Read more →

Advertisers Weigh In On The Value Of Facebook Ads

Three days before Facebook’s May 18 IPO, Government Motors kicked off a mini-firestorm by announcing their cancellation of $10 million worth of paid Facebook advertising.

Next day, rival Ford, which has had great success with paid Facebook ads, chimed in, saying that the problem wasn’t with the medium, but with GM’s use of it.

Now, just in time for the $100 billion IPO, other national advertisers are weighing in, and the votes, while mostly in favor of Facebook advertising, are somewhat short of unanimous.

“GM’s move puts it very much in the minority,” Ad Age reports. “Most brands with big presences on Facebook are also spending significantly on advertising. But it’s clear that Facebook still faces steep hurdles in getting marketers to increase their investment to grow the $3.15 billion they spent on the network in 2012.”


One problem some advertisers have with Facebook advertisiing is unfamiliarity. “[I]t is not a traditional ad play,” writes Ad Age, “which makes it complicated for brands accustomed to one-to-many ad campaigns.” Read more →

Was Gm’s Facebook Ad Failure Gm’s Or Facebook’s Fault?

Government Motors’ cancellation of their $10 million Facebook advertising campaign just days before Facebook’s more than $100 billion IPO on May 18 has triggered an industry debate:

Does GM’s killing of the campaign because their paid ads “had little impact on consumers” mean that there are systemic weaknesses in Facebook’s paid advertising component (which could raise serious doubts about the IPO)?

Or does it mean that GM is just continuing its long corporate tradition of shortsighted, inane decision-making (a tradition which antedates Facebook by decades)?

You can make a good case either way, and, in fact, some smart people have.

The case for Facebook’s fault

Within hours of our report, Larry Kim, founder of WordStream, e-mailed to say that as a medium for paid advertising, Facebook is a poor second to Google Display Network. He cites several reasons: Read more →

Gm Pulls $10 Million Facebook Ad Campaign – For The Wrong Reason

Three days before Facebook’s scheduled May 18, $100+ billion IPO, Government Motors announced they were pulling the plug on their $10 million Facebook advertising buy (but leaving their content on free Facebook pages).

It took GM’s crack marketing team the better part of this year to figure it out, but finally, “executives determined their paid ads had little impact on consumers.”

Following the example of their largest stockholder’s CEO (the president of the United States, that is), the too-big-to-fail auto manufacturer has found plenty of causes besides itself to blame its failures on.

But to paraphrase Shakespeare, the fault, dear Brutus, lies not in their media selection, but in their ads.

Your results may vary

“The question with Facebook and many of the social media sites is, ‘What are we getting for our dollars?'” says Michael Sprague, Kia North America’s marketing vice president. “[I]f a consumer sees my ad, does that ultimately lead to a…sale?”

The answer varies wildly from one advertiser to another. Read more →

Online Ad Network Makes The Case Against…online Ad Networks

You’d think the last thing a business would want to advertise is the drawbacks of its product or service.

But that’s precisely what Undertone, the online ad network operator, did the evening of Monday, April 30.

What’s even stranger about what they’re saying is where they chose to say it.

Selling your product by knocking it?

Undertone says its online advertising is the way for brands to “stand out and be remembered.”

To prove this, they’re telling advertising agency decision-makers across the country that online ads get lost in massive clutter and are therefore forgotten.

Specifically, they’re saying that more than 4.8 billion online display ads appeared last year (including, in all probability, a whole bunch from Undertone clients).

Then they’re asking, “How many do you remember?” “In fact”, says Media Online Daily, they “go out of their way to point out how forgettable online ads actually are.”

Not exactly the most convincing argument for buying online display advertising.

If your medium’s so good, why do you have to use a competitor?

What’s even stranger than the message is the medium they’ve chosen for it. “Undertone isn’t using the medium it pitches to advertisers and agencies,” MediaPost editor Joe Mandese reports, “it’s utilizing television.” Read more →

Subliminal Or Subtly Symbolic? Look At These Logos And Decide

Some people still believe in Bigfoot, too.

The phrase “subliminal advertising” has a long and checkered history. James Vicary coined it in 1957, on the basis of a research study he allegedly conducted in a movie theater. In his initial account, he said that “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Eat popcorn” were flashed on the movie screen — too briefly for anyone to consciously notice — and Coke and popcorn sales went up as a result.

An admitted hoax

Five years later, in a 1962 Advertising Age interview, Vicary admitted that the study was, in his words, a “gimmick” and the whole idea of subliminal advertising was a hoax.

But that hasn’t stopped people who should know better from believing in it, the way some folks believe in the existence of Bigfoot.

In 1974, a book by Wilson Brian Key claimed that advertising agencies were retouching sexual images into, among other things, ice cube photos to subliminally seduce consumers into buying advertised brands of liquor.

The most recent book claiming the existence of subliminal advertising came out a little over two years ago, on April 22, 2010.

Does “subliminal” just mean “subtle”?

Over the course of those years, “subliminal” has taken on a different meaning when applied to advertising — hidden, subtle, too hard to notice.

In that highly corrupted sense of the word, subliminal advertising of a sort may be said to exist, in brand logos. Read more →