March, 2013

Coke Research Shows Buzz Doesn’t Equal Sales


For years now, advertisers have regarded online clicks, likes and buzz as the Holy Grail of marketing.

A March 18 presentation at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Re:think 2013 conference challenged that article of faith, reminding marketers that online buzz – an amalgam of Facebook, Twitter, blog and YouTube comments – is only a sales tool, and not a particularly effective one at that.


According to extensive and rigorous research, said Coca-Cola senior manager-marketing insights Eric Schmidt, “We didn’t see any statistically significant relationship between our buzz and our short-term sales.”

“When Coke put buzz sentiment data into the same analytical framework it uses to evaluate other digital media” at a 95 percent confidence level, Advertising Age reported, the numbers showed buzz affecting sales by only 0.01 percent. That’s one ten-thousandth of total sales.

This is not sour grapes, incidentally, because Coke has more Facebook fans – 61.5 million of them – than any other brand.

The most effective medium

Coke’s research also showed that the most effective medium for generating sales per impression was – are you ready for this? – print.

Television was slightly less effective than print. Read more →

To Unilever And Dwayne Wade, Fatherhood’s No Longer An ‘f’ Word

A little over a year ago, a Kimberly-Clark television campaign provoked consumer outrage by positioning Huggies diapers as so foolproof that even the world’s most clueless, inept, brain-dead klutzes – i.e., fathers – could manage them. March 13, 2013, a year and a few days later, a new campaign from Unilever’s Dove Men+Care is doing just the opposite.Dwayne-Wayde

Fatherhood as an ‘F’ word

To say that the Huggies campaign disrespected fathers would be a gross understatement. As we reported at the time

Kimberly-Clark wanted to demonstrate the superiority of their Huggies diapers on television, and to do this they chose a stereotype right out of 1950s situation comedies.

They wanted to show how well their diapers did their job under even the worst possible conditions. And what conditions could be worse than putting them in the hands of the most hapless, clueless, inept adults known to American folklore — fathers?

The Huggies “Dad Test” campaign filmed five babies left alone in the same house with their fathers for five days, on the premise that if Huggies could survive five days with these bumbling boobs, they could survive anything.

“To prove that Huggies diapers and wipes can handle anything,” the female voice-over begins, “we put them to the toughest test imaginable — Dads.”

As a result of massive consumer outrage, from mothers as well as fathers – K-C pulled the first commercial and hurriedly started redoing the others. Read more →

Gm Wipes Out Last Traces Of Fired Cmo’s Existence

When GM abruptly and unceremoniously fired its former wunderkind worldwide chief marketing officer Joel Ewanick on July 29, 2012, it was supposedly because of accounting unpersonirregularities, not marketing strategies.

“The fundamental approach is no change,”  CFO Dan Ammann declared in an August 2 conference call to analysts and reporters. “The consolidation of agency spend, all the things we did with our media buy, those are all very real drivers of efficiencies and we’re absolutely going to continue with those.”

That was then.

Now, Advertising Age reported March 8, the company’s dismantling the last remaining survivor of the Ewanick legacy.

So if everything Ewanick did professionally, as opposed to ethically, was so great, why has GM been doing away with it piece by piece?


In 2010, Ewanick rolled out “Chevy runs deep,” a new and, according to many critics at the time, incomprehensible, slogan developed by Goodby Silverstein, an agency owned by what Ad Age describes as “a longtime friend of Mr. Ewanick.”

January 8 of this year, GM scrapped it, in favor of “Find new roads.” Read more →

Advertisers “discover” A Whole Bunch Of Problems You Didn’t Know You Had


They’ve been doing it since 1922.


Just in case you’re becoming a wee bit jaded about unemployment, higher taxes, the sequester, $4-a-gallon gas prices again, food-price inflation, shrinking household income and/or global warming, advertisers are coming up with new things for you to worry about.

These include everything from invisible stains to aging hair, Advertising Age reported March 5.

New “problems,” old tactic

While these “problems” you didn’t know you had may be new, the tactic of using such maladies to sell products that “solve” them isn’t.

As far back as 1922, Lambert Pharmaceuticals unearthed an obscure, Latinate medical term to reposition their all-purpose antiseptic as a mouthwash.

“It is simply unbelievable,” a 1922 Listerine ad says,

how many women – supposedly nice, fastidious women – are suffering from halitosis and utterly ignorant of the fact…Be the first to suspect yourself of having halitosis (bad breath). So many everyday concerns cause it that it is folly for any one [sic] to assume complete freedom from it. [original emphasis]

In a large, two-line subhead, running all the way across the bottom, the  ad concludes, “Halitosis is a daily threat…end it with THE SAFE ANTISEPTIC Listerine” [original emphasis, ellipsis and capitalization].

Of course, today’s consumers are too sophisticated to fall for a Latin word lifted out of an obscure medical textbook. So today’s more sophisticated advertisers have turned to real, bona fide laboratories to come up with new things to plague us with (and make a case for buying their products): Read more →