Are Olympic Advertisers Getting Sufficient Bang for Their Buck?

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By: Michael Goodman, Senior Director of Analytics, Mercury Media Boston

CEOs, corporate boards, and Wall Street all evaluate a company’s performance based on three main metrics – revenue, profit, and margin. Yet marketers often focus on metrics like awareness, recall, persuasion and engagement. While these metrics are certainly useful, in the end, isn’t the job of advertising to drive leads or sell product? Shouldn’t this be the success criteria upon which all ad campaigns are measured?

According to Alan Wurtzel, President, Research and Media Development, NBC Universal, auto ads that ran during the Vancouver Olympics opening ceremonies saw brand recall increase 41% over like ads that ran during more typical TV programming. The auto ads also saw message recall increase 67% in the Olympics opening ceremonies, and likability increased 49%. These are all meaningful statistics, but did these auto manufacturers sell more cars?

GM and Chrysler are not in the financial straits they are in because their brand recall was low. Their problem was that they did not sell enough cars to pay their bills. Now, as these auto companies get their manufacturing processes under control, they must convince disillusioned consumers to give them a second, or maybe even a third, chance. To succeed, GM and Chrysler need spots that show consumers the benefits of owning one of their vehicles. In short, these auto manufacturers need ads that will generate consumer action.

McDonalds got it right with their Olympic ads promoting their new sweet chili dipping sauce.  These ads are extending the McDonalds brand while simultaneously driving consumers to retail with a limited time offer. Best of all, McDonalds need only look at unit sales to know if their ads were a success.

Marketers need to ask themselves if their advertising directly enhances their company’s bottom line.  If the answer is no, or they are not sure, then they should find out exactly why. To learn more about how to make your advertising perform better, read “The Power of Television,” the first installment of Mercury Media’s TV Perspectives series of white papers exploring innovations in cross-platform advertising, with a focus on direct response television.  A copy of my white paper is available for download here.


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