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Creative Strategy

I was drawn to advertising and marketing because it allowed me to combine right and left brain ways of thinking by being strategically creative. Companies don't pay for advertising because it's art. It is there to serve a purpose. No matter how pretty or entertaining the end product is, if it isn't accomplishing a sales goal, it isn't successful, especially in today's volatile market. Now more than ever in this crazy economy, companies need justification before spending the big ad bucks that they will be getting a return on their investment.

The Budweiser frogs were a cute, gimmicky campaign that had staying power in the hearts and minds of America. They were voted the No. 1 favorite commercial, according to Video Storyboard Tests. But the ads didn't give any reason as to why to drinking Budweiser was better than any other brand. And they mainly appealed to younger viewers who couldn't even buy alcohol. So did those amphibians help sell beer? Nope. Did it increase their brand image? The jury's still out. Half the viewers thought it was incredibly irresponsible to be associating cartoons with liquor that almost seemed directed to minors and the other half was so liquored up during the Super Bowl that they found the talking frogs quite amusing.

So then why did the campaign last so many years? Quite simply, it was the mid-90's, they didn't have the technology we do today to do the in-depth analysis of sales increases vs. ad spend vs. cost of impressions, conversion rates, and ultimately cost per lead. It wasn't realized until many years later that even though they were advertising much more, sales were not rising at even close to the same level.

The first step in any project needs to be an evaluation of the goals, or the who, what, where, when and why. What are you trying to accomplish with this media piece- increased leads, increased sales, brand awareness? Who are you trying to reach with a clear demographic/psychographic analysis of your customer. What medium provides the best channel to reach this person? And then finally, the what is the best messaging to communicate that your product is different and better?

Often with a bad economy, marketing and ad budgets are the first to get cut. What companies need to understand though is that now, more than ever is the most important time to keep your brand top of mind and make sure the advertising is as targeted as possible, and focus the dollars on sales and lead generating activities. The more aggressive your advertising is, the more staying power you will have in the minds of your key customers.

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