Musings from the WSJ CMO Editor Dinner in New York City
What happens when you get a bunch of marketers in a room, couple of days before the Super Bowl weekend? Inadvertently the discussion centers around TV commercials.
I recently attended the CMO Dinner event in NYC, organized by the Wall Street Journal. This event was attended by CMOs and marketing leaders from diverse set of industries – Banking, Media, Healthcare, CPG, Startup cos etc. – all focused on helping their companies improve its market positioning. Given that Super Bowl was around the corner, not surprisingly, Super Bowl commercials was the hot topic of discussion throughout the night.
As marketers, it is very hard in today’s age of diminishing attention span and instant gratification to continuously engage their audience with the brand. Because of this, marketeers must work twice as hard to deliver a brand narrative that can stand out from the rest. This is especially difficult for the big brands whose ads we’ve seen hundreds of times. Super Bowl is still one of the most coveted events for Marketers to build awareness for their products and services among a wide audience, while also trying to generate buzz in the hope of their ads going viral so they may receive additional exposure.
Companies spend millions of dollars to roll out an impactful ad – one that will be remembered by generations. This trend was started by none other than Apple, which used the 1984 Super Bowl to introduce their Macintosh line of computers. For this reason, the marketeers spend the better part of their year planning their Super Bowl campaigns, conducting research, testing their pilot with a sample set that covers a broad demographic in order to get it right.
Brands of late are also taking a stand on current events that affect the society and launching commercials that voice their position. But few seem to be getting it right. Some in our group recalled a popular food & beverage brand’s public snafu few years back when the company received a huge backlash on its commercial for trivializing “Black Lives Matter”. On the flip side, one of the more appreciated advertisement was that of a Big Shoe company featuring an NFL player who was sidelined by the league for protesting.
There is a general agreement that brands that show more compassion, use humor, inspire and tell a relatable story will be able to create an authentic and emotional connection with their audience. On Monday, post Super Bowl, the verdict will be out on social media on brands that managed to create a buzz and those which failed to capture the viewer’s imagination. For CMOs of brands that fail to make an impact, it will take few months of self-introspection and many iterations on the drawing board in an attempt to redeem themselves.
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Digant R. Shah., VP, Digital Customer Experience at TechMahindra
Digant is Vice-President Digital Customer Experience at Tech Mahindra and Head of Phygital & Emerging Tech at Mad*Pow. With 20+ years of experience in global technology sector, focused on driving business transformation in the digital age, Digant has demonstrated a natural aptitude for developing partnerships, formulating differentiated GTM strategies, curating high performance teams and advising Fortune 500 clients on their transformation journeys.