When done right, a new advertising campaign can boost brand image, increase product awareness and ultimately grow sales. And when an ad campaign successfully engages its audience and boosts product sales, even investors can reap the rewards.
Ads can have even more significant consequences if the new campaign follows a corporate misstep — or downright disaster.
Take Carnival Cruise Lines’ (CCL) new ad campaign that’s set to kick off on Monday. The spots will feature happy customers’ photos and videos from previous cruises with the voice over: “We never forget the moments that matter.”
This campaign is CCL’s first major ad push since an engine room fire aboard the Carnival Triumph in February knocked out power and stranded some 4,000 people without adequate food or working bathrooms. Carnival shares fell by nearly 20% in the weeks following the infamous “poop cruise”.
The ad’s debut also comes days after Carnival’s wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship was finally righted after 20 months stuck off the coast of Italy.
Time will tell whether CCL’s new campaign will reinvigorate the brand and boost shareholders’ fortunes. Here are five companies whose ad campaigns offered a boost at just the right time:
Domino’s (DPZ) “The Pizza Turnaround” is one of the best and boldest ad plays in recent years.
Struggling to inch its stock above $5 a share at the end of 2008, DPZ had a huge image problem rooted in its product quality. Customer feedback about the pizza was brutal, but Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle took those words to heart. Then he changed everything about the pizza and served it back to critics.
Shares have gained almost 500% since February 2010.
When times got tough in the early days of the Great Recession, the iconic E*Trade (ETFC) baby got tougher.
This ad from Super Bowl XLIII in February 2009 gave a much needed shot in the arm to the online brokerage’s flagging fortunes. In the two months following the premiere of this ad, ETFC shares soared by 100%.
But now that the company has cut ties with Grey New York, the ad agency responsible for the sardonic little toddler, the company’s next act bears watching.
Anheuser Busch InBev (BUD), the parent of the Budweiser beer brand, always has had a soft spot for its iconic Clydesdale horses.
Audiences like them too — so it’s not surprising that viewers embraced the company’s 2013 Super Bowl ad “Brotherhood”, which features an adorable foal and his trainer.
Anheuser-Busch shares are up nearly 20% since the ad first aired in February, but the “soft” benefits may be even better: the video went viral, scoring more than 10 million views on YouTube in just four days and launched the Budweiser brand’s presence on Twitter.
There’s a lot more going on at PepsiCo (PEP) besides this innovative Pepsi MAX “Test Drive” ad featuring NASCAR star Jeff Gordon, but this campaign certainly has earned its props — and who can say whether its popularity contributed to the stock’s recent 20% gain year-to-date.
Gordon’s “prank the dealer” video predictably went viral, scoring some 7 million views in its immediate aftermath — as well as spinning up some controversy over whether or not the “test drive” was fake. Whether real or staged, people watched and remembered — and that’s what you want out of great advertising.
Google’s (GOOG) “How It Feels” ad for its Project Glass wearable computer is a good example of creating brand excitement before a product is commercially available.
The ad seeks to give potential customers the feel of the next-generation device. Glass users can shoot and share photos and video, send text messages, post on social media, and initiate commands by voice, or scroll through menus by nodding their head or moving a finger across the device’s frame.
Ironically, though, advertising is explicitly banned from Google “Glassware” (the company’s chic terminology for the device’s apps).
As of this writing, Susan J. Aluise did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.