Continuing the theme from our last post, our next example will be an example of direct competitive advertising, specifically this fits in the category of comparative advertising. This Blue Buffalo commercial is focused on highlighting the differences between their dog food and that of Iams.
I’m always on the lookout for current content that can be used to illustrate the concepts discussed in my marketing classes. Students especially enjoy video clips so when I can find commercials or other video clips that fit with class content that feels like a home run. Advertising is often taught at this time in the semester so our next few blog posts will focus on current advertisements that illustrate the various forms of advertising covered in Chapter 15 of Essentials of Marketing.
This post covers pioneering advertising. As we explain in the textbook, pioneering advertising is more focused on creating primary (or category) demand rather than selective demand. This is most applicable in the earliest stages of the product life cycle and helps educate customers about the existence and potential value of a product they might be unaware of. This advertisement for Google Home does a great job of illustrating that concept. It doesn’t talk about advantages versus competing products, instead it focuses on various uses of the product.
Social media is great but the platforms have to find some way of generating revenue. The primary mechanism has been advertising revenue but those platforms are always on the lookout for additional opportunities. According to USA Today article, “Picture this, entrepreneurs: Selling via Instagram“, Instagram has been experimenting with a sales platform. This new feature allows followers of a company to buy a product if they see it in a company’s feed. The article states that 200 million users visit at least one business profile each day so there’s a lot of potential traffic to capitalize on.
A class exercise could be to ask your students to read this article before coming to class and then in class have them develop an Instagram plan for their favorite retailer. They could choose a clothing boutique, a bike shop, an electronics store, etc.
The measure of your impact in social media is often the number of followers or views that you have. The theory being that better, more interesting, or more popular individuals and content will naturally draw a larger follower base than those of lesser interest. However, it seems that everywhere you turn there are individuals willing to venture into ethical grey areas to get ahead. The New York Times wrote this lengthy but fascinating article titled The Follower Factory.
The article covers a number of topics including social identity theft and the practice of buying Likes, followers, YouTube views, and more. The article states that nearly 15% of Twitter’s reported active users are actually automated accounts designed to simulate real people. Facebook disclosed that they have up to 60 million automated accounts. The range of people buying these fake accounts is staggering. Professional athletes, politicians, entertainers, TED speakers, and church pastors are just a small sampling of the customers knowingly buying fake followers to boost their social media status. These accounts are also used to support overseas governments, promote products and services, and promote pornography. Some of these accounts are auto-generated but many of them are duplicates of actual people making it look like those individuals are the ones promoting those views, products, or services.
The article also discusses the incentives many companies put in place that unintentionally encourage people to participate in this activity. Overall it is a very interesting article and could lead to a rich class discussion.
I really enjoy these Marketoonist cartoons because they can succinctly capture great marketing concepts and students never object to discussing a cartoon.
Another Super Bowl has come and gone and it’s actually impressive how many people mention the advertisements as a major draw for watching the game. If you want to make a splash, you need to come up with a creative, funny, or heartwarming ad to have a shot at making the list of “top Super Bowl ads”. At $5M for a 30 second commercial, companies are making a big bet on the value of these novel ads but are they actually worth it? I didn’t watch this year’s Super Bowl so I asked my students which ads were worth taking a look at and it was interesting to hear how they referenced the ads and what they took away from them. Some companies did a great job of entertaining and associating their brand or value proposition. In particular, the Tide series of commercials seemed to do a great job. The design was creative and funny but they also reinforced the brand name and value proposition numerous times. Amazon also created an amusing ad that entertained but also informed viewers about the capabilities of their Alexa-powered devices. In contrast, several students said they thought the commercial “where Eli Manning dances” was also pretty good but when I asked what the ad was about, who was the ad for, and what message should we take away they all scratched their heads. The commercial was clearly amusing and entertaining but the message and even the brand being advertised (NFL) was obscure and not memorable.
Are Super Bowl ads worth the price tag? If so, which objectives can they best satisfy (pioneering, competitive, or reminding)?