On Super Bowl Sunday, I was interviewed by CNN International to talk about this year’s crop of Super Bowl commercials.
Before being picked up by the car from CNN, I had an email dialogue with Dr. Reshma Shah who is a marketing professor at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. (She’s also my co-author on How to Make Money with Social Media.)
I figured if anybody could share some light on the value of a Super Bowl commercial, it would be Dr. Shah.
Here’s what she shared with me via email on two topics — brand authenticity and ad campaigns, as well as social media and the impact of branding:
1) Brand Authenticity and Ad Campaigns
I teach the Dove case study and spots from their Campaign for Real Beauty – which has several parts to it – aired on the Super Bowl a number of times.
Despite their good intentions to get people to start thinking differently about beauty and what is beautiful (because only 2% of the world’s women think they are beautiful) Dove’s efforts were criticized. Why? Because Unilever, the parent company, also markets the AXE brand. Axe’s brand positioning is based on the objectification of women to sell product.
In the end, the Super Bowl campaign didn’t help Dove sell more soap. Worse yet, social media exposed a huge contradiction in their approach questioning their real motives.
Today, an estimated 80 percent of American women feel dissatisfied with their bodies and 81 percent of 10-year-old girls are afraid of becoming “fat.” Can a series of ad campaigns really change institutionalized body hatred or people’s deep rooted beliefs and behaviors around domestic abuse?
These companies and brands have to walk the walk 100% of the time or run the risk that people find them to be nothing more than emperors with no clothes on.
2) Social Media and the Impact on Branding
Not long ago, a Nielsen study showed that trust in advertising was in decline. Between 2009 and 2012, global trust in TV advertising declined from 71% to just 47% worldwide.
Fueled by social media, trust in peer opinions is rising at the same time that trust in advertising is falling. Nielsen reports that the most trusted source of recommendations (close to 90%) is a recommendation from somebody a customer knows personally.
While this number has always been high, it’s never been higher on an absolute or relative basis. A recent McKinsey study also noted that, unlike advertising, word-of-mouth is the only source of influence that remains critical at all stages of the sales cycle for most goods and services.
In the word-of-mouth era, customers do not always repeat what you say to them, but they do talk about the experiences that they are having with your brand. Brands that are at the heart of experiences that matter to their customers can earn their loyalty, their trust, and their recommendations.
In fact, this “customer experience effect” is so powerful that recent research by Forrester showed that customer’s perceived “quality of the customer experience” was the single best predictor of future purchase intent (0.71 correlation) and of likelihood to recommend (0.65 correlation).
As you can see from what Dr. Shah wrote above, there’s a lot of good data about the impact advertising and word-of-mouth has on the brands we love.
With all that in mind, here’s the segment on the Super Bowl ads from my appearance on CNN International where I reference some of Dr. Shah’s perspectives.
Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, an Atlanta-based advertising agency and digital marketing firm that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.