With the Super Bowl not too far in the rear-view mirror, and basketball’s March Madness in full swing, B2C marketers break out the checkbook for new TV campaigns integrated with broader marketing communications efforts. We’ve seen everything from babies talking stock options to houses made from beer cans. But the overarching question remains: do the campaigns work?
The Council’s work on marketing communications has always stressed the primacy of client-side creative brief writing. Many heads of advertising will tell us they can ascertain the relative success of a campaign in advance simply by reading the creative brief sent to the agency. Our research shows that the best briefs contain three can’t-miss elements:
1. A precise target audience beyond demographics, including behavior and psychographic traits
2. A core insight that synthesizes the motivations behind consumer behavior (or non-behavior, as the case may be)
3. A single communications task that will move the audience from their current attitude/behavior to the desired attitude/behavior.
Knowing these, it’s difficult not to look at odd-ball television ads and reverse engineer them back to the brief that started it all, wondering if the ad’s ‘success’ will merely win it a Cleo or truly accomplish the communications task. Given the marketing and advertising know-how of this blog’s readers, I’d like to start a series designed to get your take on exactly these types of ads, using the key elements of a creative brief as grading criteria. The first ad that came to mind is Old Spice’s ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ video that debuted on YouTube in February, made it to television shortly thereafter, and now has nearly six million YouTube views.
The ad is deliberately provocative, and at times, utterly illogical. The actor is speaking directly to females in the commercial, yet the target audience – as stated publicly by Procter & Gamble over the past few years – is teenage males. This audience overlaps tremendously with Unilever’s hyper-sexualized Axe brand. Perhaps the distinction between the two is the addition of the female secondary audience and the impact of that audience on the teenage male purchaser.
So I ask of our readers: does the campaign work? What is the insight behind the campaign that makes it distinct from Axe? Does the associated campaign have a single communications task? Hone your responses by adding a comment above; I’ll add further MLC perspective as the comments expand.There’s no right answer, but this type of thinking can sharpen your saw for the creative briefs you write – ensuring that catchy campaigns also translate to business results.