5 Award Winning TV Ad Campaigns

This post is the second installment of our greatest marketing campaigns assignment. This week the media type is television and I’ve curated some of the most sappy, touching, and impactful recent ads that I could find. I’ve had an emotional week, for many reasons, and couldn’t help but be drawn to this gut-wrenching genre. I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed analyzing them. Word of caution: grab a box of tissues.

 

“How else could I bring you all together?”

how else could I bring you together

Objective: EDEKA is one of the larger super market corporations in Germany. When people come together during the holidays, they need to cook meals and shop in the grocery store. This ad reminds people of the relationships that really matter and a lovely side effect of having family parties is the need to go food shopping.

Target Market: Anyone who feels guilty for not visiting their family enough. And anyone who might be feeling lonely around the holidays.

Action: Don’t wait for a funeral announcement to bring your family together. Celebrate and love one another, now.

Value Proposition: Come together as a family over the holidays and you will share much more than a meal.

 

“It can wait”

it can wait

Objective: This ad shows the complex yet mundane worlds of the many characters within a neighborhood. The uneventfulness of the majority of the film builds suspense for “something” to happen. That something is a crash when a mom glances at her phone and enters the oncoming lane, smashing into a truck.

Target Market: This ad speaks to everyone. It shows how a simple action can cause tremendous trauma to the entire neighborhood.

Action: AT&T wants to remind customers to not post, glance, email, search, or text while driving.

Value Proposition: If you refrain from using your phone for complex tasks in the car you can keep your eyes and your full attention on actually driving. You will prevent accidents, injury, and maybe even death.

 

“Astronauts Welcome”

astronauts welcome

Objective: This beautiful ad humanizes the refugee crisis. While many countries won’t allow for refugees, this ad shows the imaginative young mind of a girl journeying to a new life, with a father who indulges her imagination to make the journey less scary.

Target Market: This ad aims to win the hearts and minds of people who may not see refugees as “worthy” or as people (the same as they are).

Action: This story told by a little refugee girl persuades the audience to look at her as any other child in their own lives.

Value Proposition: If you open your heart to the journey, the story, and the humanity of refugees, you might find yourself making different decisions about welcoming them to your country, town, or community.

 

“Hello Beautiful”

hello beautiful

Objective: We watch as two women go through their daily lives while learning sign language. By the end of the commercial, we learn that the two women are married and are adopting a child who is deaf. Wells Fargo has helped them prepare their finances for the day that “two becomes three”.

Target Market: Anyone who has attempted to get their finances in order as their family grew and changed.

Action: It’s not just about preparing mentally, learning a new language, or prepping your home. Consult with Wells Fargo on the big changes in your life.

Value Proposition: Wells Fargo will help you plan your financial future. They can help you through the big changes in life, like adopting a child.

 

“Roles Change. Without us noticing.”

roles change

Objective: Inform the viewer that there are resources for those who find themselves in a role reversal with taking care of their aging parents. The ad uses a sense of nostalgia to compel us to look into how AARP can help.

Target Market: This ad targets the sandwich generation. Anyone who may be caring for an aging parent and still be raising a young family of their own would be interested by this tactic.

Action: Let AARP help you find the resources you need to care for those that you love, in your new-found role as caregiver.

Value Proposition: There is help and support for those who may not have ever seen themselves as a caregiver or for someone struggling with their new “role”.

 

*All photos are still shots of the television ads referenced in this post.

 

5 Award Winning Radio Ad Campaigns

This week our Strategic Marketing class is evaluating award-winning radio ads. When I started my research, I didn’t have a theme in mind for the ads I would choose to evaluate. I simply picked out the ads that resonated with me as a consumer. From the five I chose, you’ll find the common thread is that this consumer prefers: funny, absurd, shocking, and/or slightly off-color advertising tactics. Here are my top 5 picks and a brief evaluation of each:

“Are you in good hands?”

Objective: Show the absurdity of the incidents, accidents, and delinquency of others to persuade you to buy a better insurance product when the inevitable “Mayhem” strikes.

Target Market: Anyone who has ever been driving along and been distracted by something while driving (great house, an elk). Or anyone who has been affected by a distracted driver (someone using their dating ap while driving).

Action: Accidents happen; distracted drivers happen. You need Allstate insurance to make sure you are not left with a huge bill if something happens to you.

Value Proposition: Allstate has your back when mayhem strikes on the road. You can rest easy knowing you have Allstate rather than some “cut-rate” other insurance.

 

“Why Tecate beats other brewers.”

Objective: Use humor and the tease of almost hearing a dozen curse words on the radio to sell their beer. They claim brewmasters all over the world are angry that Tecate is already brewing bold flavor that can’t be outdone. 2014 was a big year for micro-brewery growth and the larger beer producers like Tecate had to stay relevant.

Target Market: Beer lovers who may have been considering buying other brands.

Action: Let us shock you with our “almost crude” language. Don’t spend your money on craft beer. Tecate has had great flavor for many years and brewers all over the world know it!

Value Proposition: Go ahead and buy the inexpensive beer with the “dangerously” bold flavor. No other brewery can match the flavor, and the brewmasters are threatened by the perfection that is Tecate.

 

“Reasons why you need a dumpster.”

  • Link to radio ad: https://aef.com/ad-campaigns/estate/
  • Firm: Creative Services Group/iHeartMedia
    Company: Cooper Disposal
  • Title: Estate
    Air Date: 2016
  • Awards: Radio Mercury Award 2016

Objective: Inform potential customers that Cooper has a solution to your garbage problem. Cooper will come to you!

Target Market: Anyone who has inherited a mess. Particularly targeting the sandwich generation who has little time for an involved clean-up.

Action: Rent the dumpster. Cooper will drop it off and pick it up from your site. All you have to do is fill it up and reap the rewards of your inheritance.

Value Proposition: The ad uses humor and a song that gives a sense of urgency to shed light on a real problem that many families face each year. The issue of simplifying the process of sorting the good stuff from the “broken treadmill and shamrock sofa” can be a major headache when inheriting an estate.

 

“So anyway….”

Objective: Translate the idea that Quickrete dries really fast into a metaphor where the narrator tells a very abbreviated story with only two to four plot points for a topic that should be vastly more complex.

Target Market: Consumers with a use for Quickrete in their home or business projects.

Action: Buy this brand because it is really easy and fast.

Value Proposition: This brand is the fastest setting concrete. It will save you time.

 

“Here Kitty, Kitty”

Objective: Demonstrate the absurd things and services you might be able to afford should you become rich. Illustrate that you would be a much better steward of your money, should you win the lottery.

Target Market: Anyone in the listening audiences who has ever said, “if I won the lottery, I would….”.

Action: Play the New York lottery because you would obviously make better decisions with your winnings. Buy a ticket.

Value Proposition: What do you have to lose by buying a lotto ticket? If you win, you can’t be any more eccentric than the guy who pays a grown man to impersonate his dead cat.

 

Blog feature image: Box-Sisters-Radio-Teddy-Bear, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

You Can be Pokey or You Can be Gumby Riding Pokey* Into the Sunset; Your Choice

ENT 630 Wk 6-Reactions to It’s a Jungle in There

A colleague of mine teaches a class on resiliency, and I’ve been a participant in both his full-length session and several mini sessions for work groups or leadership teams from across our organization.

He starts the class with a tale of two leaders: Don and Donna. He tells the group about the differing mornings that Don and Donna have had before arriving at work. Don, woke up 15 minutes late, he had a fight with his teenage daughter and spilled coffee on both his pants and his handouts for his first presentation of the day. Donna wakes up 30 minutes early, she exercises and meets a friend for lattes before carpooling with her friend to the office.  My colleague then asks the class, “Which leader will feel better and have a more productive day?”. The class usually responds with varying answers, ultimately agreeing that Donna will obviously have the better day. It’s at this point that my colleague drops a truth bomb.

The truth is, it depends. The major concept that catches participants by surprise each time he delivers his content is CHOICE. Most of us would rather have a magic wand or someone else to blame than to be told that our own happiness and success depends on our personal choice. How dare you put this back on me, teacher guy!

And yet, that’s the truth. None of us choose what happens to us in our lives, in our businesses, or in our entrepreneurial pursuits. What we do choose is how we react. We can choose accountability over a victim mentality. We can choose to not let spilled coffee define our day. We can even be like Steven Schussler in chapter 19 of “It’s a Jungle in There.” He tells a reporter (and means it) that he has never had a bad day in his whole life, while a utility crew dug a 25-foot hole in the street to cut off the gas line to his home, once and for all.

Resiliency isn’t about putting on rose-colored glasses, sugar coating the situation, or any other overly positive analogy that you can think of. Resilience is the capacity to be resourceful and creative, to make choices, and to take effective action no matter what is going on– Definition provided by the Mission Health Center for Leadership & Professional Development.

As individuals, when we are resilient, we are making a conscious choice instead of letting the world and all its forces just happen to us. And while this may seem like a “fluffy” concept, one that might be told to you by a woman smelling of patchouli at the Asheville drum circle, the concept of resilience has been extended to and accepted by the business community.

PWC, one of the world’s leading business consultants, defines resilience (in the business context) as “the ability of an organization to recognize, rapidly respond to and recover from changes in the environment and their resulting risks. Resilience allows businesses to seize the opportunities hidden within those risk events.”

Even if you feel like Schussler was a little out of touch by saying he’s never had a bad day, recognize and appreciate the sentiment behind his statement. Developing our own individual resiliency and resiliency within our businesses might be the most effective and accountable thing we do all week.

*That is a picture of my Gumby and Pokey figurines that can be found in the window of my office. My boss gave them to me. Most days I choose to be helpful and flexible like Gumby (shown holding a “sandwich sword”).

Just What the Shark Tank Ordered: Market Yourself

ENT 630: Wk 5-Reactions to It’s a Jungle in There

Every time I’ve ever watched the show, Shark Tank, I’ve actually watched no less than four episodes in a row. Curse you CNBC Prime! Stop luring me in with your savvy investors, entrepreneurial sob stories, and brilliant business ideas. In spite of the manufactured drama, I have learned a lot of helpful tips for entrepreneurs and investors by watching this campy show.

One of the questions the “Sharks” ask entrepreneurs quite frequently is, “are you doing THIS (insert business venture) full time?”. Typically, they ask this question to measure the entrepreneur’s commitment to the company, level of comfort with risk, and generally to see if the person is “all in.” I’ve even seen Kevin O’Leary turn down adorable kids with thriving businesses because school takes up too much of their time and he would rather invest in an entrepreneur, founder, or CEO who can devote all of their waking hours to the business.

This concept of investors only investing in the company if they believe in the entrepreneur behind the company is not unique. We all might roll our eyes at Kevin O’Leary, but Schussler in his book, It’s a Jungle in There, echoes this same exact sentiment in chapter 15: Marketing Yourself to Market Your Product. He says, investors often ask him, “How invested are you in your idea?” (p. 110) Schussler says it’s easy to say “I’m invested 100%”, but when you show them, you are invested by your actions they can’t help but be convinced. Not everyone has to turn their home into a rainforest café prototype or spend millions of dollars mocking up restaurant concepts in a Minneapolis warehouse. There are easy, no-brainer things you can do to show how serious and dedicated you are to your ideas when meeting with investors. Schussler has strong ideas about sending the right message to investors through:

  1. Physical appearance- wear a suit
  2. Hand Shakes– know the right balance
  3. Body Language- act interested; nod your head up and down, etc.
  4. & Business Cards- convey your concept through the item you leave behind

Don’t forget, not all meetings are scheduled. You might meet an investor at a party, on an airplane, or in the elevator. Always be ready to impress. Make an impression by making the person laugh or tell a story. Stories stick with people and leave an impression. And finally, if you are at a point in your entrepreneurial journey that you can quit your day job, you are approximately 50%* more likely to make a deal on Shark Tank if you are “all-in.”

*success odds calculated purely from my “expertise” in binge-watching Shark Tank. Not statistically valid.

No Back Stock! – A Lesson in Sales & Marketing

ENT 630- Wk 4-reactions to It’s a Jungle in There

My first Human Resources role was with Target. I was a store side Executive Team Leader of HR. Store side, meant I also had retail responsibilities beyond managing schedules, payroll, benefits, etc. I had to know the business of the store: sales actuals vs. forecast, merchandising, front end, softlines, hardlines, and logistics. I very distinctly remember walking the floor with a visiting District Team Leader (DTL), he said, “show me the back room”. Our entourage of corporate visitors and store leaders pushed through the doors of the back room. I remember our DTL taking a handheld scanner from a stock room clerk and climbing a ladder. What we didn’t know is that he had noticed an item was empty from the shelves while walking the floor and had quickly looked up the back stock location on the hand held. As he climbed down the ladder with the items in hand, he said, “our guests can’t buy things from the backroom”.

He was right, from that day forward, when I was in charge I added “outs” to my personal check list and could be heard over the walkie-talkie coaching our mid-day replenishment team.

More importantly, our DTL’s words still ring in my ears from an entrepreneurial standpoint. When I read chapter twelve of Schussler’s book, the title reminded me of my DTL’s words. The chapter title is: “Marketing: Customers Won’t Buy What They Don’t Know Exists”.

In a large retail chain, it was as simple as keeping items pushed to the floor. We couldn’t make sales from an empty shelf. For an entrepreneur, the process is more complicated. For an entrepreneur, we must market twice without the power of the big red bulls eye behind us. Schussler had to market his ideas to investors long before he worried about direct marketing to customers. And there is a lesson here: entrepreneurs have to empty out the proverbial backroom and put everything they have out there for their investors and customers.

Holding back can mean missing a sale. The back room doesn’t clean itself out, just like ideas and products don’t market themselves. It’s worth writing a formal marketing plan around how you want to get your name out to the customer. Customers can’t buy what you are selling unless they know your product and/or company exists.

Big Picture Thinkers and the Details

ENT 630: Wk 3- Entrepreneurs run the risk of micro-managing if they focus too much on the details.

Like most entrepreneurs I consider myself a big picture thinker. In fact, I used to say things like, “don’t bother me with details”. In Steven Shussler’s book, It’s a Jungle in There, he says, “the truly successful entrepreneur has to have what has been called the ‘helicopter view’: the ability to gain enough mental altitude to see the big picture while retaining the ability to descend, hover, and see the details, too” (p.61). This is a very descriptive analogy for the flexibility needed to both dream up a concept and execute the vision. I agree with this balance between the big picture and detailed execution. And also, I have seen leaders who “crash their helicopter” when hovering too low. While this section of the book is talking about “Product”, for many of us the product of our labor is knowledge or service through consulting. While Shussler is speaking of product, my mind jumps ahead to the section on people.

Well intentioned business owners and leaders can run the risk of stifling their teams by micromanaging day-to-day work. Should we set high expectations? Yes. Should we all pick up trash if we see it in our work environment? Yes. Should we write detailed work instructions and plan-o-grams for every project? No!

I strongly believe that as a leader, it’s my job to both liberate the means and define the ends of a project and let my team fill in the details. Their path to success is dependent on their ability to use their unique blend of strengths in accomplishing the goal. As I mature as a leader, I have grown to see that my desire to be delightfully oblivious to details (once trusted to someone else) is not because I don’t care. Rather, I care deeply and I do have an ability to “hover low” and see every single step. My team members neither grow nor develop if I “hover”.

While I agree that an entrepreneur needs to be aware and attentive to the details of their business, that awareness should be controlled as to not impede or micro-manage the work of others. There is a strong business case for a strengths based approach.

To the entrepreneur who is still managing their business alone: it is your job to worry about the micro and the macro. For the small business owners and entrepreneurs with teammates or direct reports: it’s your job to learn the strengths of your team and give up a little control of the details if you want your team to be engaged and successful.


“As we look into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”– Bill Gates

 

 

Superman in a Barrel

ENT (630): Wk 2: What are you willing to risk for your ideas?

In his book, “It’s a Jungle in There”, Steven Schussler, serial entrepreneur and founder of the Rainforest Café, speaks candidly about his tolerance for risk.  On a scale of 1 to 10 he’s a 15 on his propensity toward high risk ventures.  As a young man he was repeatedly turned down for jobs in his desired field of radio and TV advertising. Steven decided to dress as superman and have himself delivered in a barrel to his “would-be-boss’s” office. The picture he paints is quite hilarious and you should read it for yourself. Spoiler alert: he gets the job.

While vivid and funny, this scenario brings up big questions for an entrepreneur. We ask ourselves: what am I willing to risk for this venture? For this idea? For a chance at success? For the answers, we must search our souls (and/or study our own cognitive bias) and decide what we are comfortable with.

For the bigger question of: how do I begin to analyze this risk? The good news is, there are resources to guide you. Well respected analysts publish articles on risk, business strategies, and entrepreneurial endeavors on a regular basis.

The word risk implies a certain amount of assumption. However, not all assumptions are healthy or accurate. Four great risk assumption “don’ts” are outlined by Scott D. Anthony for HBR. Here are the big four flawed assumptions and how they relate to Steven Schussler’s Superman approach:

  1. Assuming that taking action is the biggest risk. – Steven had more to gain from donning the superman suit than to stay in his dead-end job and keep getting turned down in interviews.
  2. Believing that good entrepreneurs seek out risk. – Steven didn’t try to find the hardest path possible. He tried many traditional avenues like sending out his resume, calling stations, and interviewing for positions before pulling his superman stunt.
  3. Celebrating failure to encourage risk taking. – Steven never celebrated an uncalculated failure because he didn’t take one. He did his homework on his “would-be-boss”, had interviewed with the man several times before, and knew he had a sense of humor.
  4. Thinking that rewarding success will boost risk-taking. – This assumption doesn’t fit Steven’s superman scenario, but it does fit a later anecdote in the book where Steven starts a side business and is fired for calling in sick to his day job. His risk taking was boosted by his failure rather than his success.

Avoiding these common four assumptions is a great starting place for gauging entrepreneurial risk.  Combine these “don’ts” with extensive research and an awareness of your own cognitive biases and you will be well on your way to setting realistic expectations for the risk you will assume in your next venture.