Who Won the Advertising Olympics
AnnaLisa is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
So like a billion other people I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games but I was watching for the benefit of the Foolish readers. What I won’t do for you people. Like the Super Bowl in terms of advertising impact, the ads are carefully chosen (for the most part) and are an indication into the soul of publicly traded companies and what they most want the public to see in them.
The biggest ad money comes out for the opening ceremonies and of course medal finals but they are competing with the stunning production orchestrated by Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle, which featured a stunt double for Queen Elizabeth parachuting into the stadium, as well as my favorite: the dancing doctors, nurses and child patients from London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital celebrating the British National Health Service. (Somehow, I can’t imagine a similar dance routine with American health insurers’ cost containment officers twirling while they deny coverage to the tykes with preexisting conditions.)
Who Came in Last
Among the most forgettable, Pizza Hut ran a stale ad for the $10 pizza deal. Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM) really, is that the best you could do with shareholders’ money? And the auto companies featured their predictable car commercials. Don Draper, where are you? You always wanted a car company client. General Motors ran a somewhat schizophrenic series going from a cute-funny for the Chevy Cruze, then the standard high-end production values in a Cadillac ad, only to switch back to the more middle American values Chevy runs deep commercials narrated by Tim Allen. Rinse and repeat. Over and over.
Other also rans were Anheuser Busch InBev SA/NV, which had a flat Budweiser commercial of a concert. I guess they’re saving all the good stuff for the Super Bowl.
Who Really Tugged the Heart Strings
The most powerful in the inspirational category was a tie between the AT&T (NYSE: T) US swimmer “Luck didn’t get me to London. I swam here” commercial, which was beautiful and graphic with great production values, and the series of Visa (NYSE: V) commercials narrated by the inimitable Morgan Freeman. Some notable runners up were the Nike campaign "Greatness is for all of us," but one of the best was from Chobani yogurt, a privately held New York company that put together a 60-second history of the company and its pull-together, barn-raising kind of roots. Also of note were some of the Procter & Gamble ads where little kids morph into Olympic athletes as rapidly aging Mom beams. Touching yet somewhat unsettling at the same time.
Who Pulled off Funny-Cute
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) was the hands down winner here for its Apple Genius campaign in which an Apple genius comes to the rescue of a Mac user in surprising situations like the neighbor who asked Apple genius for his help making a photo card for his wife going into labor. Apple genius saves the day and gets them to the hospital. This campaign is very telling for Apple as it emphasizes a great feature of Apple products, especially the Mac, which is the availability of those geniuses. Kudos, Apple.
McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) gets the silver for its cute campaign of regular people coaching Olympic athletes for their If They Win You Win campaign sweepstakes at the restaurants. AT&T also ran a funny-cute of an American athlete running as he listens to a book on his phone and he still gets coverage wherever he goes.
But what does this all mean for the stocks? Obviously Apple is trying to promote its Mac division. Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft’s entries were forgettable. It’s like they weren’t even trying. Visa and AT&T are showing class and distinction in their ads. And while plenty of major companies like GE, Coca Cola, Dow Chemical, British Petroleum, Target, Wal-Mart and TD Ameritrade ran ads, the ones I featured are the ones who seemed like they were trying to really win the hearts and minds of the viewers. And the ones who used their advertising budgets to their best advantage.
leglamp has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and McDonald's. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, General Motors Company, McDonald's, The Procter & Gamble Company, Visa, and Yum! Brands. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.