Super Bowl Spending- CMO Words of Advice.

Now that the bulk of the Monday Morning Quarterbacking over the ads is winding down (or is it?), we wanted to have a real conversation about the difficult decision to spend huge sums of marketing money like those invested in the Big Game– ’cause not every brand is going to end up with a Budweiser Puppy! So here are a few “pearls of wisdom” from Alan Gellman, CMO at Esurance (of Bryan Cranston and Lindsay Lohan “Sorta You Isn’t You” fame)…

Contemplating making a risky (like, maybe lose-your-job risky?) marketing decisions? Here’s what Alan can share:

 “Being bold to be bold doesn’t usually work out so well.

Be clear on what you’re trying to accomplish. In the case of Esurance, we are a major brand that is significantly outspent by our top competitors, who also have much higher awareness. Advertising in the Super Bowl (was) bold. Doing so in a way that gets the RIGHT attention is critical. We knew we would get attention – read awareness –  by using talent like Bryan Cranston and Lindsay Lohan. But that wasn’t good enough; they were the perfect choices to deliver our message that “sorta you isn’t you,” and that you can get personalized services from Esurance.”

“Be clear on the trade offs.

Esurance is smart and efficient. So we thought very carefully before advertising in such an expensive vehicle. In this case, we decided it was worth it and the response we’ve gotten has shown we made a good choice.” (But you’d better understand what moves you’ll have to make if this doesn’t come through.)

“Don’t be afraid to take risks… but make sure you think through all the likely consequences.

We knew there might be some who disagreed with our choices. But we also believed (correctly) that once people saw the work, it would make sense and would be net positive. No risk means no attention — never a good thing. But devastating when you’re making that kind of investment.”

Clearly the decision paid off well for Esurance. Kudos, Alan! You get a GWH W.T.F. (Winner, Toss-Up, or Flop) WINNER Award!

On the flipside, GW Hoffman Marketing was introduced to one of our fav clients in the past due to a Big Game spot that flopped in a Big Way. We immediately put alternative, more appropriate and understandable grassroots programming into the marketplace within 6 weeks… that rocked their world, and helped change the course of their business.

Reality Check? Super Bowl spending can be a fumble if not played smartly. Lessons from experienced marketers (not #sorta) can make all the difference.

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