3 Brands Supporting Causes To Build Positive Brand Equity

Are brands becom­ing more sen­si­tive to the seri­ous issues con­sumers are fac­ing?

Miriam Tremelling By Miriam Tremelling from Ace Metrix. Join the discussion » 0 comments

In a day when news head­lines are rou­tine­ly filled with sto­ries of strife and chaos with­in our com­mu­ni­ties, have brands become more sen­si­tive in their mes­sag­ing? Seems like it. And it’s work­ing for con­sumers. In look­ing at the top ads of Q3, as rat­ed by Ace Metrix,  and in review­ing some of the most mea­sur­ably suc­cess­ful ads of 2015, the themes of cause and pos­i­tiv­i­ty reign supreme with view­ers.

The sil­ly slap­stick com­e­dy vignette that has got­ten head­lines in the past has seem­ing­ly tak­en a back seat to what view­ers are respond­ing to this year. Many brands are get­ting seri­ous, and the ones that are doing it right are sup­port­ing impor­tant caus­es to buoy brand equi­ty, as well as high­light­ing pos­i­tiv­i­ty – sto­ries and themes that, frankly, put a smile on the faces of con­sumers.

Fur­ther indi­ca­tion of this trend comes from recent Super Bowl ads. If we con­sid­er the Super Bowl is a micro­cosm of the state of over­all adver­tis­ing, it has cer­tain­ly been mov­ing in the direc­tion of uplift­ing, sen­ti­men­tal, and cause aware­ness. Some of the most talked-about exe­cu­tions of this this year are these ads from the Super Bowl: McDonald’s “Pay with Lovin’”, Coke’s “Make it Hap­py”, and Always’ “Like a Girl.”

Cause Ads That Created a Stir

How did these themes play out in Q3? Here are three such ads that won in very dif­fer­ent ways – one through grab­bing atten­tion, one through like­abil­i­ty, and one for chang­ing per­cep­tion. Con­sumers placed each of these ads on the list of the Top Ads of Q3 from Ace Metrix.

1. AT&T

AT&T’s “Acci­dent” ad, part of its “It Can Wait Cam­paign” with BBDO, was one of the three most atten­tion-grab­bing ads of Q3.

The ad rewinds a shock­ing car acci­dent scene set in motion by a mom (only) glanc­ing at her cell phone while telling her child about how peo­ple like the pic­ture she post­ed. This dra­mat­ic cau­tion­ary tale against tex­ting and dri­ving scored 19 per­cent above the cor­po­rate brand­ing cat­e­go­ry norm for grab­bing atten­tion.

In one of the 387 option­al view­er com­ments that Ace Metrix gath­ered, one view­er said, “This ad was atten­tion grab­bing. It strikes home see­ing the small girl in the back seat and the dis­cus­sion of dis­tract­ed dri­ving.”

2. Dick’s Sporting Goods

Dick’s Sport­ing Goods, which has recent­ly won acclaim for its work pro­mot­ing the “every day ath­lete” with agency Anom­aly, pro­duced one of the three most per­cep­tion-chang­ing ads of Q3 with its one-minute “Sports Mat­ter” spot, a mov­ing por­tray­al about how sports can change the lives of kids in need told through the sto­ry of a par­ent­less boy who takes part in its Harlem Lacrosse and Lead­er­ship pro­gram.

Ace Metrix mea­sured this ad to be 16 per­cent over the retail norm for chang­ing per­cep­tion.

In anoth­er ver­ba­tim response, a view­er com­ment­ed, “Every­thing in this ad was eye open­ing. I had no idea Dick’s Sport­ing Goods had a foun­da­tion to help youth/teens. It made me feel good that such a large cor­po­ra­tion is out there help­ing young kids make good deci­sions in their lives.”

3. Intel

Intel’s ad, “Shub­ham Baner­jee & Intel Edi­son” part of its “Meet the Mak­ers” cam­paign, fea­tures the sto­ry of an 8th grade boy who invent­ed a braille print­er using Intel Edi­son tech­nol­o­gy to give the blind a low-cost way to read.

This ad, which aired exclu­sive­ly online, was one of the three most like­able ads of Q3 and scored 25 per­cent above the norm for lik­a­bil­i­ty in the cor­po­rate brand­ing cat­e­go­ry.

Accord­ing to one of the 463 option­al view­er com­ments, “That was one of the best ads I’ve ever seen. Excel­lent images and very inspi­ra­tional. It was a lit­tle longer than most ads but very engag­ing. When I am cap­ti­vat­ed I don’t the notice the length of an ad. Excel­lent cause and mes­sage. Thank you.”

What This Means for Brands

While adver­tis­ing is trend­ing more towards heart­felt mes­sages, the right kind of humor can still be a win­ning for­mu­la. If we look back to this year’s Ace Metrix Super Bowl rank­ings, Snick­ers “Brady Bunch” was tied for sec­ond place (and one of the most talked about Super Bowl ads), with two Dori­tos humor ads also in the top 10.

Con­sumers also like to know that the large cor­po­ra­tions they sup­port are giv­ing back in mean­ing­ful ways, and broad­cast­ing that mes­sage, how­ev­er self-serv­ing it may seem, can indeed go a long way for a brand.

Sto­ries that inspire, when done right, can help brands break through and make ever-so-impor­tant emo­tion­al con­nec­tions with their audi­ence.

Miriam Tremelling

Written by Miriam Tremelling

Senior Manager, Marketing, Ace Metrix

Miriam serves as senior marketing manager at Ace Metrix where she is responsible for developing compelling stories that articulate Ace Metrix's value proposition. Prior to joining Ace Metrix, Miriam worked at Conversant, Twelvefold Media and CBS Interactive.

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