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 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7c75949c-ce3b-11e0-99ec-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1WcOv8dyA
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 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/2836057/Barnardos-does-a-Jamie-Oliver.html
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 http://www.ipa.co.uk/UserAccount/AccessDenied.aspx?contentid=7120&redirect=/DisplayContent.aspx&monetised=True
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."