Strategy Roundup | 3.12.21

Marty X. Mercado

This week we bring you brand hits, misses, and plenty more in between. Grab some cookies before they’re gone forever!

The year of the pandemic brings new relevance to old brands and interesting behavioral indicators

The 6th annual Prophet Brand Relevancy Index is out, and while it brings some familiar and expected names, some brands have captured the public’s attention in a year spent at home.

Prophet Brand Relevance Survey 2021

Apple continues to keep its place at the top, while healthcare research organizations like Johns Hopkins University & Medicine (8th) and The Mayo Clinic (4th) make their debuts. Those two brands may not necessarily feel relevant in normal times, but it stands to reason that in a year when people have been clamoring for healthcare news and innovation, they gain relevance.

What’s even more interesting is the drop-off of entertainment and streaming brands. Netflix, Disney, and Pixar drop out of the top 10, while brands like Peloton (2nd), KitchenAid (3rd), Lego (5th), Costco (6th), and PlayStation (9th) are at all time highs. While this isn’t anywhere near an indicator of streaming entertainment, it is likely a result of people finding more active forms of entertainment like exercising, cooking, or playing in addition to passively watching the entirety of The Office for the 13th time this year.

Speaking of Lego, they are seeing historic growth

Lego has quietly evolved its brand from a childhood favorite to collector’s item to geek culture to now a relevant global brand that doesn’t need to rely on nostalgia.

Lego Baby Yoda

Partnerships with entertainment properties like Star Wars, Nintendo, and Batman have kept the brand relevant, while their expansion into the Chinese market and investment in e-commerce have made them one of the few brands to see significant growth in 2020 (over 20% growth in sales).

The pandemic has forced Lego to close its stores and the experience that comes with it, leaving families and kids craving for that experience at home. Lego continues to show the world that this old pile of bricks still has some new tricks up its sleeve, and that even in an increasingly digital world, a tactile and educational experience can still bring joy to families all over the world.

Just don’t step on one!

Burger King leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths

I’m sure many of you reading this have seen Burger King’s recent gaffe on International Women’s Day. While their marketing teams can be given the benefit of the doubt, they had to learn the hard way that tackling serious issues may not be the best way to clickbait an ad — especially when you are trying to promote a good cause.

Burger King on the New York Times

What’s worse is that they placed a full-page ad on the New York Times with the same headline, with the payoff being a grand total of a $50,000 investment in scholarships for women. Our friends in the media department may help in letting you know how those numbers may not totally add up.

Google goes on a cookie diet… sort of

Cookie Monster

Here’s our media team’s take: The push for privacy has shaken up the advertising industry this year in more ways than one, and we don’t expect it to slow down. Google’s most recent announcement to stop selling ads based on a user’s individual browsing history is the next step in their assurance that user’s security and privacy is a top priority for the tech giant. While these features provide users with personalized, more relevant digital advertising, it comes at the cost of choice alongside their data. The idea is to force marketers to develop ways to target their audience’s interests, without encroaching on their personal data. However, this change will likely affect smaller advertisers in a bigger way because they won’t have the access to the third-party data needed to reach their audiences with limited dollars to spend.

Despite this step, these changes won’t apply to mobile devices or 1st party data in the initial launch, so the effect on marketer’s advertising direct to its consumers will likely be relatively unaffected at first, especially when utilizing Google owned properties such as YouTube. What we do know for sure is that the user will gain more and more control of the usage of their data as lawmakers build legislation surrounding online privacy.

Last but not least, Disney+ investment in the future brings back an old tradition

This week, Disney announced that they have surpassed 100 million subscribers for Disney+. While boasting a massive catalogue of old favorites, Disney has also found instant hits in their new original programming.

Disney/Marvel’s WandaVision

WandaVision was a massive hit dwarfing Netflix’s Bridgerton’s numbers with about a third of the user-base. What is most interesting about this success is that Disney decided not to lean into the binge-watching model that other streaming services have found success with. Instead, they went back to the weekly episodic format seen on OTT television with the benefit of being commercial free compared to their terrestrial TV counterparts and relatively more accessible compared to HBO and Showtime’s premium offerings.

The success of the show has also brought back the age-old tradition of water cooler talk at the level we have not seen since the old NBC Must-See-TV Thursdays. While there are few water coolers to congregate around (for many reasons), Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube have been filled with conversations and theories (who is Señor Scratchy?!) that fill the 7-day gap between episodes. I’m sure they are hoping that Falcon and the Winter Soldier can carry on the momentum as they expand their original programming.

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