Advertisers Might Benefit From Some Rest

by , Nov 16, 2012, 4:04 PM
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Puma obviously is not the biggest spender in the athletic footwear category. But the company’s global brand chief Adam Petrick isn’t complaining. At least with TV, he believes less can be more.

When he spoke at an industry event this week, he seemed to say that taking time off may be a smart move because when Puma does launch a TV ad, it gets attention. There can be an “I’ve missed you” effect

Obviously, the approach wouldn’t work with less-iconic and well-known brands, where the challenge is to introduce themselves. And Puma’s brand would tend to generate more welcome advertising than, say, paper towels.

It has built-in advantages other brands can only dream of. Plus, it’s overall marketing budget can’t be that skimpy considering it has one of the world’s most popular athletes, sprinter Usain Bolt, as an endorser.

But maybe a better way to cut through the clutter in today’s environment is not to try and overpower it with so many ads, but pick spots. Take vacations, come back with top-notch creative and then go away again.

Google is one advertiser now at the point where it can take that tack. How about something like Mello Yellow or Pringles?

Looks like even Procter & Gamble, which has taken the opposite approach for years, may be considering it. Sure, Tide ads keep the brand top of mind, but when was the last time a message really cut through?

Ad Age reported that P&G Global Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard said the company has had periods with “too many ads on air” and that has “diluted the core-benefit communication of the brand." He may have been referring to too many different creative messages versus sheer weight, but he might consider going on a diet, as it were.

Puma competitor Nike actually does a good job with spacing. Its ads are appealing, yes, but it seems to have found a nice balance. It seems to come out strong at the beginning of a season and then return during the playoffs.

While the debate will continue whether it makes sense for a brand with a limited budget to spend so much on a single Super Bowl spot instead of spreading the money out, Puma is the type of advertiser that might do well with a spot in the big game, say, every third year. If it takes advantage of Usain Bolt’s endearing personality, that might benefit it for a good long run.

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