burning benjamins in the street

I have said numerous times to stunned colleagues and clients, I’d rather burn $100 bills in the street than spend money on Facebook advertising – at least I could guarantee I’d know where the money was going and it would make an impact.

Despite my money-burning, attention-getting statement, I have had tremendous success with digital advertising, facebook included. However, digital advertising is not a replacement for mass media by any stretch of the imagination.  Facebook does play a role, albeit a very small, local, targeted role.

The key is micro-targeting and local-to-local. I have found that the smaller the geographic limit, the more effective the campaign. For example, a local business advertising to its local town. The main problem is that is not even remotely scalable. Impossible for national brands.  Like P&G.

“As we all chased the Holy Grail of digital, self-included, we were relinquishing too much control—blinded by shiny objects, overwhelmed by big data, and ceding power to algorithms,” Marc Pritchard, P&G’s chief brand officer.

wasted emotions

There are a lot of ways to evoke strong emotions during a commercial. Go for the laugh. Aim for collective pride. Or a sense of loss. Fear. Surprise. Joy. Executed well, the brand will soar like my hometown Eagles. But there is huge risk if one fumbles. So what should have Dodge Ram done when they evoked the serious emotional lever of a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of its delivery? Well, off the top of my head, they should have focused on attaching that emotion to the brand, not the product. As one example, highlighting how the employees and the brand support the Day of Service through volunteerism and donations (here you can safely introduce the product – maybe showing Ram pickups delivering supplies to AmeriCorp volunteers?). Essentially, it was missing any effort to connect the emotion to brand and its core culture. That is assuming their core culture is something less superficial than how many trucks can they sell today.