Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Why advertise?

Why do companies like McDonalds and Nike still spend millions of dollars every year on advertising?

Everyone knows McDonalds, right? The golden arches, the Fry Guys, Ronald, the Cheeseburgler, I'm lovin' it, Smiling Mr. Kroc?

And Nike - Just do it, Swoosh, kick some butt, image is everything, Be Like Mike, Why Sport? and of course the brilliant Streaker ad

But the reality is, some of these slogans, despite having bombarded us our entire lives, become forgettable, and an enormous amount of maintenance is required to keep those brand names top of mind.

Take Reebok. When was the last time you saw a Reebok ad? Sure they had an amazing campaign a few years ago with Terry Tate

This ad generated almost 2 million hits to the Reebok website in one week after the ad aired on the superbowl, and 500,000 more hits a week for 2 months afterward. Terry Tate became a cult phenomenon, sequels were made, 900,000 people registered on the site, and Terry made appearances on talk shows, cut the ribbon for the Boston Marathon. and rang the bell to close the stock market on Dec. 31, 2003. At his pinnacle - Terry Tate was taking on Nike directly in a great response to their Streaker ad.

But in a couple of years, Terry Tate, like the beloved Cheeseburgler will be nothing but a relic from the past.

Because people are fickle, forgetful and bombarded with thousands of messages a day. How many people remember the Image is Everything campaign from Nike with Andre Aggassi that brought scorn and derision from journalists and athletes alike in the 80s, or that Kroc actually was the face of McDonalds long before Ronald.

You've got to keep advertising to stay alive.

Adidas has really beefed up its advertising. The beautiful Hello Tomorrow ad for the inelligent shoe won a gold at the lions. It was directed by superstar director Spike Jonze (Beastie Boys - Sabotage video, Being John Malkovich) with the voice of Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It is a part of their high impact Impossible Is Nothing campaign that hit the ground running in 2004 featuring boxing's greatest Muhammad Ali, long-distance runner Haile Gebrselassie, football icon David Beckham and NBA star Tracy McGrady, and a bunch of basketball guys I don't know (not a fan). Needless to say, Adidas won something like 5 lions this year, and sure enough - they have bought out Reebok in a $3.8 billion dollar deal.


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