Beyonce and Bernie: The Importance of Brands and Offers, Illustrated.

Has anyone said to you recently that advertising doesn’t work? If not, you must not be speaking to anyone outside the business.

In my experience, EVERYONE outside of advertising seems to think it doesn’t work or it doesn’t work on ‘them.’ You know….those people that apparently either don’t consume anything or think every single one of their purchases is entirely the result of their own rational thought. I wonder what those folks think of the Red Lobster ‘’Beyonce Bounce’’ over the past few days?

 Image result for beyonce

The New Hampshire primary is another good example of how well ‘’advertising’’ works. Trump is arguably one of the most widely known name brands in America and his offer – ‘’Making America Great Again’’- is clearly compelling, despite lacking substance. On the other hand, Senator Bernie Sanders is not yet as widely known as Trump but Bernie’s offer –‘’Medicare for all, free college education, reducing income inequality’’- is appearing to be just as compelling as Trump’s offer.


In marketing circles we tend to talk a lot about brands and the Beyonce example definitely shows the strength of brands. But many of us think a lot less about the offer. In print advertising in particular, the brand is still very important but a strong offer can really overcome brand attribute weakness (just like Bernie has, to date, overcome his weaker brand with a strong offer.)

 Image result for bernie sanders

Among the holiday advertisers we had for 2015, the advertiser with the best offer (a low price per unit and a lot of add-ons) outperformed the advertiser with the weakest offer (no discount and a widely available free item.) The advertiser with the stronger offer also has a stronger brand but the difference between the two offers was too great to be accounted for by strength of brand alone. On the basis of sales per thousand of circulation (SPM), the stronger offer did 450 times better than the weak offer.


Brands matter but offers make the phone and cash register ring!

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