Clients get the work they deserve, according to Oscar Mayer senior advertising and marketing director Tom Bick. So when he was faced with the challenge of justifying the higher cost of his company’s bacon, he stepped back and let his digital marketing partner do what it does best.
“The issue we have is that our bacon sells for about a dollar more per pound than our competition and people are asking ‘Why a dollar more? Is it worth a dollar more? And what’s the substantiation behind that?’” he said.
Bick came to 360i with research showing that shoppers look at bacon’s color, cut, consistency and cure before making a decision, much like they do with jewelry or diamonds.
“When they saw that, they just took that and ran with it and they came up with the brilliant idea of ‘Say it With Bacon,’” Bick said.
The 2014 Effie Award winning campaign parodies engagement ring ads, featuring women giving bacon to the special men in their lives. It then turns to one of Oscar Mayer’s bacon gurus, who discusses at length what sets his brand apart from the rest.
In conjunction with the commercial, Oscar Mayer sold special Father’s Day bacon gift packages, hoping to spur conversation on social media. It worked.
The first gifts were gone within minutes on the first day, and sold out every day after that. Oscar Mayer saw a 53 percent increase in branded bacon conversations. The effort moved bacon, too. Despite a 7.7 percent drop in overall bacon sales, Oscar Mayer brand saw a 3.3 percent increase. Bick was elated.
“Bottom line, marketing effectiveness means we’re selling product, but it’s so much more,” Bick said. “You can sell product in a pedestrian manner or you can sell it in a brilliant fashion, and so for me marketing effectiveness goes beyond ROIs. It goes beyond just moving cases at retail.”
So how can marketers get back work that goes beyond?
“You have to set the environment for your partners, for the agency, to go out and do what they do best, which is swing for the fences,” Bick said. “Address the brief, but give them enough latitude to really do what they do well, which is bring creative firepower.”
“If it’s not in the top 10 percent, it’s probably not worth talking about anything else. It’s not worth talking about the ROIs and the studies because average is failure, in my opinion. Swing for the fences. Be brilliant. Be brave,” Bick said.
Bick, who spent 12 years with Miller Brewing, said the beer industry’s fast-moving, high-image ads are an excellent source of inspiration. One campaign that caught his eye was Dos Equis’ most interesting man in the world, which was not only fun to watch, but drove customers to buy the product.
And while good advertising is important, Bick said companies should always have an eye on the message they want to deliver and how it will affect the brand long-term.
“It’s about enduring, engaging stories, big ideas, platforms that connect people to the human condition,’ Bick said. “It takes a little soul searching and clear understanding of the industry you’re in.”
An important part of that, Bick said, is knowing a product’s rightful place in consumers’ homes.
“Once you identify that and you engage with that idea in a compelling manner, in elegant storytelling and not selfish advertising, I think you have at least a chance to build an enduring brand.”
Watch the interview: