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brands & branding

What Brands Did in 2020

  • INSIGHTS STUDIOS

In this presentation, Paul Donato, CRO of the ARF, covered findings from the seminal year of the “What Brands Did in 2020” (Brands 2020) project. This project will go on for at least the next two years or until the effects of 2020 are no longer felt. ARF researchers in the Brands 2020 study used IRI and NCS data, Kantar Ad Insights, NCS sales and Nielsen Ad Intel data, between 2017 and 2021. The IRI data was a very deep dive but across three categories: salty snacks, pasta sauce and personal care products. The NCS data was shallower but across 10 broad categories. Using all these data, ARF researchers looked at share of media, media spend and share of market before and after March 2020 (Covid) and before and after March of 2021 (start of inflation).

Several previous studies agree that decreasing advertising during a recession can hurt sales during and after the period of economic contraction, whereas increasing advertising can increase sales, market share and earnings. An IPA study from the UK during the 2008 recession found that those that “went dark” tended to lose excess share of voice, the impact of which could take five years to recover. This UK study also showed a linear relationship between both ROI and an uplift in revenue as a function of advertising during a recession. The Brands 2020 study found more nuanced findings.

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Does Anthropomorphism Help or Hurt Brands Entering Foreign Markets?

  • JOURNAL OF ADVERTISING RESEARCH

Talking M&Ms, Mr. Peanut, the Michelin Man and the Pillsbury Doughboy are among the most popular anthropomorphic product characters, many of which we remember since childhood. A new study asks: How can a brand that uses this popular communication strategy avoid the negative impact of consumer ethnocentrism—the belief that buying foreign products is wrong—when entering foreign markets?

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A Different Perspective on “Diversity”

While most marketers’ attention is focused on Gen Z and increasing diversity in ad creative, depictions of older adults are rarely part of that diversity. A new study concludes that bias in advertising prevents many brands from motivating a large, affluent consumer group.

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ATTENTION METRICS: Moving from Laboratory to Field Applications

On September 12, the ARF and Adelaide co-hosted an event to deepen understanding around how attention metrics work, how to utilize them and the nuances of their application to media and advertising quality measurement. Attention Economy experts from Adelaide, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the ARF, The Attention Council, Havas Media Group, OMD USA, Realeyes and TVision hosted shared presentations and held focused discussions on how attention metrics can optimize the match between media placement and consumer targets, improve creative testing and overall campaign outcomes, and more.

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Conversations with “Great Minds”

Two 2022 ARF Great Mind Award recipients, Martin Renaud, winner of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Award and Dr. Duane Varan, winner of the Erwin Ephron Demystification Award, shared insights on how research should be used to improve marketing. 

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How to Use Genders in Advertising

Casey Hobgood, Associate Strategy Director at We Are Social US, argues that “…brands are still failing to address the whole spectrum of gender identities in their market research, campaigns and products.”

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Bots Don’t Buy

A marketing analyst finds that bots cause several problems for digital advertising and suggests a solution. 

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Q&A with Mondelez’s Jonathan Halvorson

As part of the WARC x Ogilvy “Image to Impact” report, Jonathan Halvorson – Global VP – Consumer Experience, Mondelez International – spoke about navigating media fragmentation, balancing the art and science of marketing and why authentic purpose can make an impact.

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