December, 2013

Xmas Commercials Are Stronger This Year, But Sales Aren’t



While holiday retail commercials were stronger this year, according to one index, actual store traffic was weaker, according to another.

Stronger commercials

  • This year’s ten top holiday commercials were stronger than last year’s on the Ace Metrix index. Ace constantly tests commercials on representative panels of more than 500 consumers and scores them on an index of 1 to 950 for such attributes as persuasion, likeability, attention, relevance, information and watchability. This year’s winners averaged a score of 653, a significant improvement over last year’s average of 621: Read more →

Why A Flood Of New Health Insurance Advertising Will Miss The Boat


Come New Year’s, local television will be deluged with a flood of commercials from health insurance companies. “According to trade association TVB [formally, the Television Advertising Bureau], insurers will spend more than $500 million on local television ads in 2014,” the Washington Post’s Wonkblog reported December 16. That’s more than double the $216 million they spent throughout 2012. And, adds the Post, “that’s to say nothing of cable television ads and social media campaigns.”

One insurer – Wellpoint – expects to spend $100 million just in December.

Much, if not all, of that money will likely be wasted.

That’s because health insurers were unprepared to sell their products directly to consumers and because they don’t know how to. Read more →

What’s The Least Effective Online Medium For Holiday E-commerce?


There’s some good news and some bad news about Facebook as a holiday gift e-commerce advertising medium.

The good news, Advertising Age reported December 11, is that Facebook accounts for a whopping 80 percent of holiday purchases from social media. The bad news is that social media account for only 2 percent of holiday e-commerce purchases, down from 3 percent last year.

“Retailers are filling up their Facebook pages and Pinterest boards with items for sale this holiday season,” Ad Age notes, but next to nobody’s clicking through to buy.

That’s the finding of e-commerce analytics startup Custora’s study of aggregated data from 70 million online shoppers who spent more than $10 billion at more than 100 US-based retailers November and December of 2012 and November and December to date this year. Read more →

After Investing $600+ Million In Europe, Chevrolet Abandons It


Just as Chevrolet bowtie logos are slated to appear on the Manchester United soccer team’s jerseys, Chevrolet is beating an ignominious retreat from Europe, according to a December 6 Marketing Daily report.

Chevrolet’s parent company, GM, paid more than $600 million in 2012 to put them there starting 2014 – including a $100 million “activation fee” just for being able to call the brand the team’s global automotive partner, whatever that means.

It seemed like a good idea at the time

Even though nobody in Europe could buy a Chevrolet at the time, and even though former wunderkind global CMO Joel Ewanick got fired because of the deal, GM thought it would be a great vehicle for combining its Opel, Vauxhall and other makes most Americans have never heard of under the Chevrolet nameplate.

Now, one year and a 17 percent sales decline later, Chevrolet is keeping the deal but abandoning Europe – and taking a $700 million to $1 billion write-down in the process. Go figure. Read more →

It’s Too Late To Spend $4 Million On Super Bowl Ad Time

$4 million


Send that armored car back to the bank. It’s too late to spend that $4.5 million burning a hole in your pocket on 30 seconds of Super Bowl advertising time.

As of December 4, Fox’s inventory of commercial time was all sold out, MediaDailyNews reports.

Not only that, but it sold out earlier than last year  – and for even more than last year’s record-high prices.

Earlier and costlier

According to Neil Mulcahy, evp of Fox Sports Sales, the game sold out a full month sooner than last year. “The demand for in-game advertising time for Super Bowl XLVIII is actually greater than the supply,” he said, “which is a terrific problem for us to have.”

Thanks to the law of supply and demand, the commercial time commanded higher prices than ever. Read more →

Ftc Probes Online ‘masquer-ads’

wolf in sheepskin


The Federal Trade Commission’s one-day look into what’s variously called “native advertising” and “sponsored content” – ads and videos deceptively designed to mimic genuine editorial website content  – ended inconclusively December 4.

The repercussions are just beginning.

The FTC’s “Blurred Lines: Advertising or Content” workshop, Advertising Age reported, “focused on whether publishers and advertisers are doing enough to keep consumers from mistaking native ads — which are meant to closely resemble non-sponsored content — [for] the content itself.”

Columnist and former AdAge editor Bob Garfield, wasn’t quite so diplomatic, calling the practice “A conspiracy of deception. A hustle. A racket. A grift.”

Old scam, new problem

Advertising masquerading as editorial content isn’t new to the FTC. They’ve been combating it since 1917, their third year in existence, when they brought a case against a newspaper ad for an electric vacuum cleaner. But today, notes Adweek, “digital media has [sic] put what the FTC once termed ‘masquer-ads’ on steroids.” Read more →

New Ads Drive Consumers To ‘problem Plagued’ – And Away From It


Despite “technical enhancements,” there are still “problems plaguing,” The Hill reported November 30.

Before it could even start functioning (or malfunctioning, as the case may be) the Obamacare website was “suddenly taken down down for 11 hours — just before its long-awaited ­relaunch,” according to the New York Post.

On the front page of the November 30 New Tork Times, the lead story notes that

The website, which the administration promised would “function smoothly” for most people by Nov. 30, remains a work in progress. It is more stable, with many more people able to use it simultaneously than just two weeks ago. But it still suffers sporadic crashes, and large parts of the vital “back end” that processes enrollment data and transactions with insurers remain unbuilt.

And December 1, when CNN medical producer Matt Sloane, tried to demonstrate the new, improved and smoothly functioning website on air, he kept getting error messages.

In the wake of all this, two advertisers released new television commercials – the Obama administration  coaxing more consumers to visit the site (and experience these failures for themselves), and an insurance company offering a helpful way to avoid it. Read more →