Chapter 14

Where and How Do You Offer Your Product?

Just a few years ago, a single company won the International Automotive Show Advertisement of the Year; winner of the Time magazine ad of the year; winner of the USA Today award; Rolling Stone's ad of the year; and countless other accolades. That company was . . . Nissan!

The result of all these awards and all this recognition? Nissan's sales dropped 3 percent. Their direct competition posted 7 percent gains, and the industry as a whole was up 3 percent. Yet Nissan cut 18 percent of their work force and the company president left to take up a job elsewhere.

A great campaign? It must be if the critics said so—right? Except for one thing: Awards are not worth a damn if the campaign doesn't sell product.

For instance, Pizza Hut paid the Russian Space Agency $1.25 million to put its logo on a Proton rocket taking materials to the Russian Space Station. A great gimmick? Absolutely. Great marketing? Doubtful, depending on how well it was leveraged at retail. The only true measure is whether it resulted directly or indirectly in additional product sales.

In many instances, the quest to simply be different for the sake of it—or to be the pioneer of a new marketing concept—overshadows sound marketing and communication logic. Why is it that marketers increasingly seem to believe they have to go to extremes? Increasing sales is not about increasing brand awareness, whether it is already 99 percent or 9 percent, nor is it about differentiating ...

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