Social Media Monitoring

Social Media Monitoring

Measure what you should measure. Focus less on NAVEL GAZING METRICS. DOING the RIGHT THING FIRST, is the best way to approach measurement!

Urs E. Gattiker Prof. Dr. Urs E. Gattiker PremiumModerator

Celebrity Marketing - Anecdotes are not data

What have Jamie Oliver, Cheryl Cole, George Clooney and Beyoncé in common? The all engage in paid-for product endorsements.

But how beneficial is this really for the brand?

Just this week I came across an article in the Financial Times that suggests the ROI is just tremendous.

Lucas, Louise (August 30, 2011) Beaty and the brands. Fiancial Times, p. 8. Retrieved August 31, 2011 from

So I thought I follow up on this and digg a bit deeper to see if this article full of nice quotes and stories can be backed up with some data.
The following quote really got me curious:

"According to The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, J. Sainsbury has reaped a return of £27.25 (44.67) for every £1 it spent on ads starring Jamie Oliver, the celectriby checf and long-time brand ambassador for the supermarket chain. (Lucas, August 30, 2011)"

When you read something like the above you would like to find out where the author - in this case a journalist - got this information from.

It surprised me to find out that the electronic version of this FT article uses and links to the source of the above to an article by a fellow journalist from The Telegraph – Dominic Mills (December 2002). He writes in his article and I quote:

"Virtually every national newspaper carried stories last week about the remarkable success of the Sainsbury's Jamie Oliver advertising campaign.

Could the Essex boy with the mockney vowels really have encouraged shoppers to spend £1.12 billion more than they might have done otherwise, the press asked with barely concealed skepticism (Mills, December 2002)."

Mills, Dominic. (December 10, 2002). Bernardo's does a Jamie Oliver. Telegraph [Online]. . Retrieved August 31, 2011 from

So I take it from there and visit the IPA's website where the association offers one a case study about this advertising campaign and its success for £12. Reading the case study - I am still wondering .....

To explain: The case study lists some numbers and interesting thoughts. Nevertheless, how this success was measured and how the number was arrived at remains vague and many assumptions are made.
This might also explain why Dominic Mills wrote his rather critical piece in The Telegraph December 10, 2002.

Want to have a look, see here:
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. (2002). Sainsbury's: A recipe for success - IPA Effectiveness Awards Case Study 2002. Retrieved August 31, 2011, from

As the above suggests, anecdotes do not represent data confirming a claim. . Neither does a case study that says a few things about numbers without telling you such things as:

1 - could it be possible that using John Doe as the brand's ambassador in the series of TV commercials would have accomplished nearly the same at far lower costs?

2 - how did the advertisers control for the fact that the sale increases could beattributed to the advertising campaign only (what about other things that happened during that time?)?

Put differently, would the ad without the paid-for endorsement by the celebrity have increases sales as much .....?

Truth and greater understanding is not made up of anecdotes and war stories.

WHAT YOU THINK do we really back up our claims with measurement and data that allow us to draw the conclusions we did ... ?

PS. the article in the FT also states:
"Global sales of L’Oréal’s Casting Crème Gloss rose 200 per cent in three months after Ms Cole used the colourant to turn her hair red."

Just to re-cap the FT article

1 - got me to read this:
2 - this critcal piece of journalism got me to go for the case study here:
3 -

The study outlines how Sainsbury tried to test in wave 1 the sensitivities to levels of discounts by sending out 5.1 mio a 5% discount and 700k were sent a 10% discount.

Wave 2 and 3 tested this further including possible differences between loyalty card members and other potential customers.

While wave 1 generated 21mio in sales it also resulted in profit eroding while wave two also created 21mio sales but netural profit and wave 3 - 18mio sales were generated but profit generating.

Whatever you look at with the documentation published in the case study, Jamie Oliver was maybe the public face on the TV ads and brochures.
Attributing the increased sales to him alone without carefully controlling for the effect that discount coupons mailed (e.g., depending on how far you lived away from the store) may have had seems a giant leap of faith.

Needless to say, the case study itself does not attribute much cause of the additional revenue as having come from the celebrity chef Jamie Olivier being the front man of the campaign.

How can a business journalist not take the trouble and read this stuff before putting out the claims stated in a Financial Times article?

Just to make sure, the case study is interesting but leaves many questions open, of course. The conclusions by the FT journalist cannot be drawn from the case study itself.

PS. Disclosure: I got a copy of the case study from the Insitute of Practitioners in Advertising to review the FT claims in detail.

Aldo Gnocchi Aldo Gnocchi

Thanks for your post Urs!

We always have to be critical concerning such figures. With traditional media it is even more unsecure to determine the ROI of Advertisement. The calculation is always based on assumptions.

To determine the ROI of Social Media we still have no standardized model, but we can track and measure specific variables.

How can we determine the buzz that is generated through social media and spread offline? This might be a challenge for us.

How do you measure the ROI of your social media activities?

Aldo Gnocchi wrote:
> Thanks for your post Urs!
> How can we determine the buzz that is generated through social media
> and spread offline? This might be a challenge for us.
> How do you measure the ROI of your social media activities?

Aldo, thanks for asking

ROI of social media is not that easy to calculate but you can always do as follows

- figure out what the key drivers are in your organization
- determine how you measure these key drivers or operators (e.g., customer satisfacation, increas in sales),
- decide how social media could influence these key drivers
- design the metrics ....
- measure

Put differently, I believe e are obsessed with figuring out the financial numbers. Our scorecard.
Nevertheless, we have to focus more on what it takes to score, and how we scored (i.e. what did we do right and what did we do wrong).
What do we need to do to get there and win the game?