Broadcast advertising, began as a proposed method of selling radio sets, and has since became generally accepted as an integral component of most media vehicles. Even though an estimated 63% of Americans believe that they are exposed to far too much advertising, it is overlooked as a necessary element of entertainment.
( http://www.cabrillo.edu/~dambrosini/50Web/home50.htm (12/26/2006)) Big businesses have engaged in national advertising campaigns for decades now and the consistent result is the demonstration of acutely increased sales and company prestige. Indeed, many of these campaigns ring in our heads for years, sometimes our entire life spans.
Who could forget the little old lady that was roused from her shell of antiquity to pronounce “Where’s the Beef”? This strategically humor-lead campaign was initiated in the early 1980’s and quickly traveled cross-country from mouth to ear to mouth. As intended, the result was also millions of Wendy’s hamburgers being pushed into those same mouths. When an advertising campaign is initiated by a company, its obvious intent is to increase sales. Upon closer analysis, it becomes evident that there are many byproducts generated that can be as or more profound than the said sales increase.
When the marketing strategy employed is well-founded, a company can jump from survival mode to the realm of the super-successful. The company can actually enter the collective consciousness of the society itself. As with the “Where’s the Beef” campaign, the message enters into an infinitely more potent means of transference: word of mouth. It can be said that even the best-planned marketing strategies all have one common goal that to the advertising executives outweighs all other goals. There must be differentiation applied to understand that the goal is not to get some people talking, rather, it is get the masses talking. This “talk” does so much more than increase the sales of the intended item in the short run.
If a company is to have any success in its campaign, it must begin with a well-thought strategy. Consideration of demographics is one key. The intended audience must be determined, located and targeted. The message strategy is also of integral importance to the overall success of the effort. Message strategy is simply the intended message to be delivered by the advertising campaign. Sometimes message strategy development can be a multi-faceted undertaking, say in the case of AIDS education for society in general. There are many different races, financial constraints, educational availability, and other issues to consider when deciding the intended message. In our example, Wendy’s simply desired to make you laugh while they told you to “Eat our meaty hamburgers.”.
Another prime consideration in all business endeavors is available finance. Advertising has become one of the highest costs to business entities in this modern world of saturated markets and cut-throat dealings. If a business is going to be able to remain profitable, at least one thing must happen: people have to talk about it. If an advertising campaign fails to produce this element, it is a bust and that is final. The question then becomes:
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How little can be invested to induce X amount of word-of-mouth? Advertisers invest billions of dollars annually to create “buzzes” about their products/services. A company
can certainly spend several million dollars for a multi-faceted, broad-based campaign utilizing numerous media vehicles. A thirty second spot with a single insertion during the 2005 Superbowl cost advertisers $2.5 million. (http://www.aef.com/on_campus/classroom/class_syllabi/data/1568 (12/26/2006)) Media budgets are a serious concern for all levels of business. It may be less of a risk for a corporation already experiencing massive success to advertise, but is nonetheless still of priority concern. It is good to remember that a highly successful advertising campaign can catapult sales and force a business into exponential growth patterns. The amount spent by Wendy’s for the “where’s the beef” campaign for instance, was negligible in comparison to its returns. Wendy’s sales volume, and therefore franchise expansion and stock values skyrocketed.( http://www.wendys.com/ (12/26/2006))
When a budget for the advertising campaign is determined, it is time to develop an appropriate strategy for the endeavor itself. This step in the process will determine precisely how the message will be delivered to the public. Few products/services possess universal appeal; the ability to please everyone simultaneously. Certainly there are far too numerous conflictions between individual tastes. Decisions must then be made as to whom the campaign will target. This of course is case dependent, and must consider an infinitely large set of potential variables; product/service type, income, race, transportation costs, and the list goes on. The campaign strategy must strive to consider every possible variable and situation before the actual expending of revenue. Once launched into motion, the campaign will expose itself as successful or not, hopefully generating explosive word-of-mouth and growing into a blissful monster for the company executives and shareholders. Wendy’s again had little problem in the determining of their target audience. It was of course previously defined. They just needed a way to get in front of their competitors, and they did so, at least for a time, by getting in the front of their targeted audience’s minds. By the use of various word spreading vehicles such as television, radio, magazines, newspapers, billboards, and more, Wendy’s set into motion a buzz-generating word-of-mouth goliath that had everyone from construction workers to presidential candidates proclaiming: “Where’s the beef?”. (http://www.wendys.com/ (12/26/2006)) That is a great example of effectively combined marketing and media strategies.
With billions of dollars being spent in the United States alone every year for advertising, it follows that it is necessary to have in place methods of measuring the effectiveness of any given campaign or it’s individual or grouped components. These media measures have been developed and continue to be honed through the years into a more exact science. The desired extent of their development would be when a company could employ this “science” to accurately predict the outcome of a given hypothetical advertising campaign, in other words, eliminate the risks involved. With the infinitely diversified aspects of human society, it is not probable to tame such chaotic theory.
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There will remain inherit risks in advertising as well as in all business endeavors. So the media measuring devices and algorithms will also remain in development. Common
media measuring includes techniques to determine the percentages of viewers/listeners/readers who are actually receiving exposure to the ads; how many of them are responding favorably to the ads; which components of the campaign are meeting projection, and which are not. The overall measure of a campaign impact on its target is known as its GRP, or Gross Ratings Points. These points are representative of a
response percentage. In example, one television rating point symbolizes the fact that at one given minute in time, one percent of viewers in a surveyed area were exposed to the desired media platform. These points are normally relevant to specific targeted demographics rather than households in general. Of course, the more money spent, and the better strategies for exposure will be the primary factors for determining the success of any given campaign. When all of the techniques available for concluding the effectiveness of an advertising campaign are considered simultaneously, key information will present itself. What is done with this data is paramount to the future marketing strategies for a given company. In the example of Wendy’s “Where’s the beef?” campaign, obvious media measures such as soaring sales and skyrocketing stock value are really all of the measures necessary to judge the effectiveness of the campaign as a smashing success.
The budget and strategy for marketing campaigns are the pillars that support growth and prosperity for companies. Founded in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio, Wendy’s longed to find its unique niche in the always saturated fast food market. After a nice beginning with expansive growth, the sales volume seemed to stagnate and began to slide backwards. (http://www.wendys.com/ (12/26/2006)) It was the brilliant marketing strategy employed by campaign creator Joe Sedelmaier that sent Wendy’s into everyday American pop culture, and hence into its sustained position today as one of the planet’s most successful fast food restaurant chains. When the elderly actress demanded the location of the beef, she initiated the true birthday of a giant. Although dropped from the campaign in 1985 for claiming she had “found the beef “in an advertisement for Prego spaghetti sauce, Clara Peller had already set the ball into motion for Wendy’s. She was then replaced by the founder of Wendy’s himself, Dave Thomas. Having mass public appeal as well, he went on to raise Wendy’s further up the prestige ladder with an onslaught of national advertising that would last until his death year of 2002. He had appeared in 652 commercial advertisements, more than any other person in the history of television.
This ongoing advertising philosophy instills a sense of knowing, of family if you will, in the society’s collective consciousness. This sounds heavy, but that is exactly the intent: to enter into the very fabric of a society. Create word-of-mouth advertising to a high enough self-sustaining degree and there would no longer be a need to advertise your product/service. The saturation of most markets within capitalistic societies wholly guarantees that most companies will never experience such a status. Even giants like Coca Cola and Pepsi can’t just sit back and rely on their past advertising efforts to sustain
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their livelihoods. They must consistently continue to strive for the development and implementation of more efficient marketing strategies and budgeting abilities to meet their desires for sustained existence and growth.
The “Where’s the beef” campaign initiated by Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers chain is notably one of the most recognizable advertising campaigns in American history.
In the future, there will be new, fresh, and modernly-relevant advertising campaigns that will overshadow and eventually wipe “Where’s the beef” from our minds. Until then, let us continue to gleefully delight in the memories of a marketing strategy that brought millions of smiles, and millions of juicy burgers consumed.
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 23 August 2006
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 23 August 2006