An advertising campaign's goal is to build and grow a brand that ultimately results in sales. Companies operating in saturated advertising markets are pushing the edge of new marketing campaign concepts in order to stand out from the competition. In doing so, companies reap both positive and negative effects from their advertising campaigns.
Positive: Falling In Love With the Brand
Companies like Apple and Nike have a strong history of developing brand loyalty; consumers love and therefore advocate for the brands. In fact, this is a primary goal of any corporate advertising campaign. Under the tutelage of Steve Jobs, Apple built more than a brand; it built a consumer culture. At the core of Jobs' success was creating products that resonated with users who just wanted to get something done in an easy and classy way. Early Apple computer advertising omitted technical features and instead spoke in common language about how fast, reliable computers make life easier.
In a different brand arena, Nike not only plays to the fantasies of weekend warriors but its tagline “Just do it,” speaks to anyone trying to overcome obstacles or adversity. It isn't just about sports and running faster; it’s about pursuing any goal with ferocity. In the end, both Apple and Nike have positive brand awareness because consumers feel that using these products actually improves their life.
Positive: Building Public Awareness
Public service announcements are designed to build public awareness of health, safety and social issues. Many companies try to align themselves with community causes by advertising their commitment to those causes. State Farm is an insurance company, of course, but has an entire series of commercials encouraging customers to be "good neighbors" through volunteerism. Budweiser spent millions of dollars on its 2018 Super Bowl commercial that showed real company employees answering the call to help disaster relief by producing and delivering life-saving emergency water. These are examples of companies using their advertising budgets to do more than sell a product or service. Ad campaigns like these build a positive brand awareness that effectively triggers positive emotion among consumers.
Negative: Alienating a Demographic
Some campaigns don’t achieve goals of positive brand awareness and, in fact, alienate consumers. Even big-budget campaigns have insulted or offended target demographics. An example of a giant brand that managed to achieve a viral wave of negative media attention is Pepsi. With Kendall Jenner as the spokesperson, Pepsi set the scene of a street riot. Jenner placates the street protests by giving a police officer a Pepsi. Critics quickly accused Pepsi and Jenner of trivializing riots and the risks to rioters and law enforcement. Companies never intentionally alienate a demographic. But without a series of editorial checks, inappropriate ads are produced and published, creating a potentially irreversible public backlash.
Negative: Confusing Consumers
Some advertising simply confuses consumers. This is most apparent in inexperienced ad campaigns for new brands, but even giant industries aren’t immune. For example, highly regulated industries such as banking and financial services have to include certain information in advertising to comply with federal regulations. Therefore, looking at an ad for new mortgage rates with all the proper disclosures often confuses consumers instead of informing them. Overwhelming consumers with information can quickly lead to consumers tuning out.
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