… well Ford’s did related to their American Idol sponsorship/placement based on a recent study by Martin Lindstrom which looks at brain function. This finding is highlighted in the CMO Strategy column on Adage.
Martin describes that both Coca-Cola and AT&T increased brand equity but Ford brand equity declined and Lindstrom infers that this is due to poor context of the placement (or that it was inorganic and maybe forced into the show storyline) on the popular TV show American Idol.
I agree with the research finding, how could you not. Maybe that is the point. It is good to have some proof in an area that is more art than science.
I had a client last year that was trying to formalize their product placement strategy and measurement. Through analyzing their data that spanned from traditional recall and brand studies to sales, CMG Partners came to roughly the same conclusion that organic placements perform better.
In addition, we found that the placements for placement sake under-perform placements coupled with advertising in the spots following an in-show placement. Further, this effect was even more impactful if the ad was related to the show not just a random 30 or 60 second spot.
Finally, as the research and my work points out the secret, in addition to how a placement is executed, is selecting the right placement/sponsorship. Below are criteria I would recommend marketers use:
- Brand Linkage/Strategic Fit: Is the property consistent with the brand essence? Does it deliver opportunities that are consistent with its objectives and strategic approach?
- Target Fit/Relevance: Is the property relevant with key consumer segments?
- Relationship Building: Does activation of the property provide means of delivering added value and interaction between the brand and its customers?
- Drives Sales: Can the association deliver opportunities that help drive sales or loyalty?
- Exclusiveness: Does the property provide an opportunity for exclusive/”only from” content?
- Activation: Can the property be activated across multiple elements of the marketing mix to generate necessary customer excitement in order to accomplish the marketing objectives?
- Scope and Scale: Does the association deliver global vs. national vs. regional scope or scale? Does this align with your marketing and brand strategy?
- Cost/Efficiency: Can this association deliver against those objectives at a reasonable/appropriate cost?
- Sustainable Equity: Does the property provide a multi-year or multi-event marketing and relationship-building platform vs. a one-off event?
For some comic relief, I was telling a colleague about this post and she sent me this 30 Rock product placement clip. Thanks Meghan!