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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Brands that Helped and Hurt Their Relationships With Consumers At the Super Bowl

If we think about the Super Bowl as a way from brands to grow their relationships with their consumers, some brands fared well and others fared poorly.  Let’s look at the winners and losers:

Positive Impact on Consumer Relationships

·         Radio Shack – Relationship Status: Mature/In A Relationship Rut – Radio Shack used brutal honesty by admitting that its relationship with its consumer base is stuck in the 80s. Honesty is always helpful in growing a brand relationship and Radio Shack maximizes it to its fullest. I and many other viewers are now intrigued and now want to visit a Radio Shack!


·         Coca-Cola – Relationship Status: Mature, Yet Still Exciting – Coca-Cola was 2 for 2 with both spots keeping a 125+ year old brand relevant and exciting. The one that is generating the most buzz is “The America The Beautiful” spot that featured the brand’s Americana traditions via a 21st century lens. While controversial, it generated so much talk value that many viewers were tweeting about during Pepsi’s Halftime Show. Moreover, it shows that Coke will never allow its flagship brand to get in a rut with its consumer base


·         Microsoft – Relationship Status: Growth – Microsoft’s spot featuring ex NFL and Lou Gehrig sufferer Steve Gleason shared how technology can aid our lives and takes a cue from Apple in connecting the brand’s functional benefits into an emotional payoff.


·         AT&T BeatsMusic – Relationship Status: Meeting Memorably – AT&T used Ellen Degeneres to drive awareness of its new BeatMusic Unlimited Music Download System. A great mix of both entertainment and explanation, the spot intrigue me enough to find out more about the new service.


Negative Impact on Consumer Relationships

·         Butterfinger Cups – Relationship Status: Butterfinger (Mature/In A Relationship Rut), Cups (Meeting Memorably) – Butterfinger decided to introduce its new Butterfinger Cups spot by using odd three-some type imagery that ended up coming off as weird and borderline uncomfortable. As a consumer, do I really want to meet this new brand under this type of cloud?


·         Chrysler 200 – Relationship Status: Chrysler (Mature/Relationship Rut), 200 (Meeting Memorably) – Chrysler decided to use Bob Dylan and spend 1:55 out of its 2 minute buy preaching the strength, determination, and capability of the American auto worker before finally showing a brief visual of the new 200. I really thought it was an ad for the American Automobile Association vs. a particular brand. The ad breaks a cardinal rule,  unless you are the category leader, never discuss the category.


·         Oilos Greek Yogurt – Relationship Status: Growth – In another sexual innuendo, Dannon’s Oikos combines the reuniting of the cast of Full House with a not so subtle sexual joke involving yogurt on John Stamos’ pants. It spent too much effort and time on an overplayed joke and out of date TV series and not enough time trying to romance the consumer.


·         SodaStream – Relationship Status: Meet Memorably – Beyond showing me Scarlett Johanson demonstrating how SodaStream worked, the ad did nothing to convince me that it was going to be any better than the soft drinks that are available out there. After seeing the ad, I have no idea what SodaStream offers that is going to make we want to take the time or deal with the mess that I am going to make to create a homemade softdrink.


Tim Halloran is author of Romancing the Brand: How Brands Create Strong, Intimate Relationships with Consumers (Feb. 3, Jossey-Bass) and president of Atlanta-based Brand Illumination.  With over 20 years of strategic consumer brand management and new product experience, he has built and directed some of the world’s largest brands, and now counsels businesses on ways to improve the relationships between their brands and consumers.    .

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