One of the most difficult questions in advertising is deciding when to move to a new campaign.
Creating great advertising is a huge challenge. Companies spend millions of dollars identifying, producing and testing advertising ideas every year. Despite this, many ad campaigns miss the mark. Creating good advertising is much harder than it looks.
Changing to a new campaign, then, is a big and risky move.
The problem is that campaigns can wear out. Advertising effectiveness declines with time; people quickly tune out spots that are overused. It isn’t always clear, however, when it is time to move on.
So if you are a Super Bowl advertiser, do you stick with a proven campaign or move to something fresh and new?
This year, E-Trade is sticking with a good thing. In 2008 and 2009, the company advertised on the Super Bowl using talking babies. The 2008 spots featured one and the 2009 spot included two. E-Trade did well; the firm was one of the top advertisers in the Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review both years.
Is E-Trade making a smart decision? I think so. The talking baby campaign is distinctive and flexible. It also has strong linkage; after two years people will quickly connect talking babies on the Super Bowl and E-Trade.
In general, people give up on strong campaigns all too soon. CareerBuilder.com made a very questionable decision in 2007, when the company moved away from its breakthrough chimps advertising campaign. CareerBuilder has struggled to replicate the success of the chimps. Some folks at the company are still hoping the chimps will be back one day.
E-Trade is sticking with a winner and that makes very good sense.
– Tim Calkins