Friday, October 29, 2010

Ten brands who took risks

The current issue of the magazine published by the Association of National Advertisers cited "ten big risks brands have taken." The article listed out ten examples of brands who took risks in their marketing practices and campaigns, survived, and profited from the adventure.

Here they are:

1. Eveready pioneers media sponsorships. In the mid-1920's, "The Eveready Hour" was the first broadcast series to be entirely sponsored by one company on radio. Now, brands frequently purchase media sponsorships of one program, be it on radio or TV.

2. American Tobacco spends--millions--on the Lucky Strike brand. In 1929, American Tobacco spent $12.3 million on Lucky Strike, which was an unprecedented amount at the time. The move was made to combat anti-smoking literature being published by the National Confectioners Association. Why did this group target smoking? Lucky Strike's campaign of that time encouraged women to "Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet."

3. Anheuser-Busch sponsors stadiums. In 1953, A-B tried to buy the naming rights to Sportsman's Park, the then current home of the St. Louis Cardinals, so they could call it "Budweiser Stadium." Baseball commissioner Ford Frick balked at the idea but relented when the brewer came back with a second proposed approach--Busch Stadium.

4. Volkswagen Beetle starts creative revolution. During the early 1960s, print advertising was long on text and fantasy. Doyle Dane Bernbach broke from that traditional approach with their work for the VW Beetle. In one iconic ad, DDB used the headline "Think small," accompanied with simple product imagery. The campaign went on to win Advertising Age's "number one ad campaign of the 20th century."

5. Pepsi ignites the cola wars. In 1963, Pepsi founded the "Pepsi Generation" by focusing on the attributes of people who bought Pepsi rather on attributes like taste or price. Thus started the cola wars, which have been raging ever since.

6. Avis uses honesty. Once again DDB was at the forefront of a radical departure from traditional advertising. In another iconic campaign created in the age of Don Draper, DDB and their client realized that the #2 rental car company had to work harder if they were going to ascend to the rung of top brand. Thus was born "We're number two. We have to try harder."

7. Reece's Pieces and branded entertainment. In the early 1980's, Reece's Pieces sold well but did not have the brand loyalty of M&M's. The candymaker made a bold move by allowing their product to be used, in a movie's storyline, as the means to lure an alien creature into a boy's home. The movie? E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial. The result? Sales of Reece's Pieces grew by 65 percent.

8. AOL's carpet-bombing. Before Facebook, Twitter and even broadband, there was AOL and the ubiquity of the company's CD-ROMs and disks which were mailed to homes and businesses. The effort made AOL the number one internet service provider in the world.

9. Doritos and the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl, by earlier in this decade, had become a showcase for advertising creative. But, how to stand out amidst this clutter? Doritos did it, in 2007, by inviting consumers to "Crash the Super Bowl." The brand solicited consumer-generated ads for the Super Bowl, asked the world to vote, and then named a winner who then had their commercial air during the telecast of Super Bowl XLI.

10. Burger King's Subservient Chicken. The challenge? How best to promote Burger King's TenderCrisp sandwich. The solution? Viral media. Ad agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky made their bones on this campaign which was described as creepy, weird and goofy, but which rewarded the fast-food marketer with a loyal band of new, younger consumers. The site logged one million hits on day one, 20 million over the course of the first week, and almost half a billion since it was launched.

What are some other brands which have placed big, risky bets...and won? Comment below and let me know your thoughts.

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