How Brands Using Social Media Ignite Marketing and Drive Growth: Measurement of Paid Social Media Appears Solid but Are the Metrics for Organic Social Overstated?

The 2015 Warc Prize for Social Strategy is a competition that challenges marketers to demonstrate how effectively they had used social media in their marketing efforts.  In this September 2015 article in the Journal of Advertising Research, Gian M. Fulgoni, co-founder and chairman emeritus of comScore, shares the insights he gained as a judge when he reviewed the finalist case studies submitted by companies worldwide in competition for the Warc Prize for Social Strategy.

Fulgoni commented on his experiences:

“As a judge, I was struck by the creative use of social media and the positive impact it had on many business results. My thoughts can be crystalized into five dimensions—what I call the “Five S’s of Social Marketing”:

-Social as a Supplement to media spend

-Social as a Substitute for media spend

-Social as a Savior

-Social as a Soft Metric of effectiveness

-Social as a Sales Driver.”

The author also discusses the details of some of the winning campaigns from this competition: Coca-Cola, ‘Share-a-Coke US’; Oscar Mayer, ‘Wake Up and Smell the Bacon’; and Chobani Yogurt: ‘#PlainInspiring’.

The case studies for the 2015 Prize for Social Strategy demonstrate that social media has become central to the marketing efforts of many brands and organizations, according to Fulgoni. He also discusses the challenge of isolating and measuring the business results of social media campaigns for both organic and paid forms of social media.

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The Relationship Between Product Placement and the Performance of Movies: Can Brand Promotion in Films Help or Hurt Moviegoers’ Experience?

The authors of this September 2015 article in the Journal of Advertising Research, Reo Song, California State University, Long Beach; Jeffrey Meyer, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio; Kyoungnam Ha, University of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut, studied the relationship between product placement and the performance of movies.

Their study examined how product placements related to the performance of the media context through word of mouth about the movies. The authors analyzed whether advertising in the form of product placements in films impacted consumer enjoyment of the movie, and, in turn, whether the related positive or negative WOM about the film impacted box-office revenues.

The authors investigated the relationship between product placements and the performance of 122 movies released between 2000 and 2007 and found that product placements had both helpful and harmful consequences. This finding elucidates the heretofore unknown relationship between product placements and programming performance.

-Product placements exhibited a positive relationship with movie revenues, but when used in excess the relationship with revenues turned negative.

-The relationship between product placement and the benefits a consumer receives from media programing is robust across movies with different budgets and qualities.

Important managerial implications suggested by this research:

-Both media programmers and advertisers may need to reevaluate the widely assumed negative effects of product placements based on the findings of this study.

-Firms that produce media programing and those that place advertising in such media can enjoy a win–win situation from product placements, especially if those placements involve major brands that are familiar to consumers.

-However, too much of this positive can become negative. As the number of placements passes a saturation point (44, as the current study demonstrated), the relationship with movie performance turns negative. In particular, programing firms that give in to the temptation to allow too many placements may suffer weaker programing performance when holding all other factors constant. The average number of placements in the current sample was 16, suggesting that movie studios might understand both the positive and the potential negative effects of product placements.

-Studios should continue to limit the number of product placements to a reasonable boundary and avoid excessive placements (e.g., more than 50), which generally appear associated with poorer box office performance.

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The Effectiveness of Comparative Versus Non-Comparative Advertising: Do “Strictly” Comparative Ads Hurt Credibility of Non-Professional Service Brands?

A September 2015 Journal of Advertising Research article by Fred Beard, University of Oklahoma, investigated the effectiveness of comparative advertising for a prominent service brand. Chevy’s certified service for automobile maintenance was compared with Ford’s certified service.

Results from this study included:

-The potential for negative outcomes is a strong possibility when prominent non-professional service brands identify one other by name in their campaigns.

-Services advertisers who use strictly comparative advertising are justified in doing so if their target audiences are mainly younger consumers and if claims of believability are not crucial for advertising effectiveness.

-If message or claim believability is critical, non-comparative advertising likely will be more effective than comparative advertising, regardless of target audience age.

The author presented the following guideline for marketers:

Prominent brand advertisers should be wary about using strictly comparative advertising, even that which could be considered low in negativity, and especially if older consumers are the target audience. The possibility that services consumers follow a fourth hierarchy-of-effects process—feel–do–learn—further suggests how serious negative affective and conative consumer responses might be for services advertisers especially.

The author notes that the results of the study were limited to comparative advertising in print media.

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Do Price Promotions Help or Hurt Premium-Product Brands? The Impact of Different Price-Promotion Types on Sales and Brand Perception

The September 2015 issue of the Journal of Advertising Research presents a study which examined various types of price promotions. The authors, Felix Zoellner, BMW Group, and Tobias Schaefers, TU Dortmund University, combined the sales data of German premium automobile brands with a consumer-behavior analysis. The goal was to analyze the impact of different types of promotions on sales and on the perception of a premium-product brand.  The research distinguished between direct versus indirect-price reductions and marketers’ use of a “precondition,” for example, promotions offering free gifts, trade-in incentives, or loyalty-program benefits.

The authors demonstrated that:

-Different price-promotion types have different influences on sales and brand perception in the premium automotive market.

-Direct-price reduction has the strongest positive impact on sales numbers.

-Price-promotion types with which the customer is not familiar may be harmful for the brand.

-Promotion types that are well-known among customers should be preferred to minimize a premium brand’s image and prestige deterioration.

-Combining the sales and brand-perception impact, “direct-price reduction without a precondition” appeared to be the ideal price-promotion type for premium products, as it had the strongest positive influence on sales and no negative impact on brand image and prestige.

-Management should focus on price-promotions with direct-price reductions that are also familiar to the customer.


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Can Multiple New-Product Messages Attract Different Consumer Segments?  Gaming Advertisements’ Interaction with Targets Affects Brand Attitudes and Purchase Intentions

This article, from the September 2015 issue of the Journal of Advertising Research, analyzes the challenge of launching marketing messages when advertisers want to address two different customer segments for one product offering, where one of the segments is a primary target, and the other is a secondary target.  Frank Alpert, University of Queensland, and M. Kim Saxton, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, provide insights on whether video-game marketers should leverage different messages for different target segments for the same product.  Their research addressed these questions in the context of print advertisements.

Among their conclusions:

-Two consumer segments can be targeted with the same product as long as advertisements are created to target each segment.

-Advertisements should be released for the primary target first. Then, a complementary advertisement can be launched to attract the secondary segment while reinforcing why the primary target should be interested.

-There is negative backlash when one segment sees its dedicated advertisement, followed by an advertisement for the other segment.

-Yet, perceptions of the product are enhanced if the segment sees the two advertisements as interacting to provide more information.

-Further, this enhancement happened not only from internal processes but also because the advertisements interacted.

The authors provide additional information on their research hypotheses, methodology, results and conclusions, as well as the implications for marketers.


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What Motivates Consumers to Re-Tweet Brand Content? The Impact of Information, Emotion, and Traceability on Pass-Along Behavior

This article from the September 2015 issue of the Journal of Advertising Research analyzes the cues that influence pass-along behavior (re-Tweeting) of brand messages on Twitter.  Theo Araujo, Peter Neijens, and Rens Vliegenthart, all from the University of Amsterdam, analyzed 19,343 global brand messages over a three-year period, and found that rich information content about the brand and its products were predictors of higher levels of re-Tweeting. Especially effective were product details and links to a brand’s website, social network sites, and photos or videos.

In addition, the authors found that although emotional cues did not influence re-Tweeting on their own, they reinforced the effects of informational cues and traceability cues (hashtags) when combined in the same message.

This article also provides a literature review on the subject, methodology for the study, a presentation of the results, a discussion of the results and findings, managerial implications, limitations and recommendations for future research.


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Advertising Appeals By Country

Research for a CPG category in the Journal of Advertising Research suggests that emotional messaging is more effective in wealthier countries. The authors propose that: Read more »

Benchmarks for Sales Performance

A paper in the Journal of Advertising Research proposes sales and advertising build benchmarks which can be used to estimate long-term performance. The author notes that these methods are not meant to replace comprehensive marketing mix modeling, but they can serve as simpler, faster way of gauging whether a product is on-track to meet its full-year target. Read more »

How Agencies Use Social Media to Test Ad Campaigns

An article in the latest issue of the Journal of Advertising Research suggests that “agencies primarily use social media as a tool for understanding consumers and igniting insight, not as a means of testing creative ideas.” Other findings from a Delphi panel of advertising practitioners: Read more »