Getting Mean About Advertising

Who doesn't remember the 1979 Coke commercial featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers 'Mean Joe Greene'? Yeah, the one where he guzzles a Coke and in appreciation (instead of a major burp) tosses the kid his game jersey to the line of 'Hey kid, catch'. Oh how this delighted TV viewing audiences for what seemed like forever. The commercial won all kind of awards and is noted as one of the most popular television commercials of all time.

So how successful was this commercial? The creative guys and ad agencies would all quickly thump their chests and proclaim this a heart warming moment where 'football giant makes happiest day of small boy's life.' And in the center of the spotlight is our favorite soft drink brand - Coke. Ahh. How nice. Hey, I'm not knocking it. This remains a fantastic commercial memory.

But did you know Coke jerked that commercial off the air the moment it failed to produce additional sales? They didn't keep it aired just to satisfy consumer fluffiness. No sir. Instead, they took a business approach and determined based on measurement and ROI that the commercial had run its course in driving additional revenue for Coke. Sergio Zyman - then Chief Marketing Officer for Coke - now head of Zyman Group - pulled the plug.

How many of us would have been that bold? How many of us have been guilty of wasteful marketing spending?

Think about that. Unless your marketing dollars - - whether advertising or other - - are tied to new business and additional revenue, it's probably a really good idea to scrutinize what those dollars are accomplishing for you.

Marketing is an investment. And, investments are supposed to yield favorable returns. Mean Joe Greene turned 'softee' in that famous Coke commercial for just a few seconds. In reality, it was the Coca Cola Company who avoided the trap and made the right business decision to move on.

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