In the wake of the Boston Red Sox World Series Championship (god, how I love to put all those words together!), talk soon turned from Josh Beckett's pitching guts and Jon Papelbon's dancing butt to... tacos and furniture?
Yep, and it got me to wondering, "Which marketing campaign was the most effective, Jordan's Furniture or Taco Bell?"
At the eBrew the other night, I floated the question. There was enthusiastic support for both campaigns--especially Taco Bell's in-game buzz--but no real consensus. I checked the pulse of the the blogosphere, I've found this, and this, and this. Now, I'll take a look at it from a few different perspectives one-by-one, and see who's "got game," so to speak.
Game 1. Consumer Benefit
This one's a no-brainer. For the consumer, clearly, a free couch or mattress is a hell of a lot better than a free 79-cent taco. You could buy as much furniture as you wanted, but you couldn't even pick which kind of taco you wanted! And you had to pick them up on Tuesday between 2 and 5PM. Jordan's takes game 1 handily.
Game 2. Creativity
The idea of giving away furniture if the home team wins the World Series is quantum-leaps more creative than giving away free food if a player steals a base. Last year, you may recall Taco Bell did the same promotion, but the trigger was if home run happened hit a smallish target in the bleachers. (It didn't happen. No taco for you!) For the record, there has been a stolen base in every Fall Classic since 1990, so they dramatically increased the odds this year. For comparison, the Vegas odds for the Sox winning were anywhere from 6-1 to 10-1 at the beginning of the season. Jordan's campaign took lots of planning (beginning before the season even started) and more than a little (pardon the pun) balls. The Taco Bell campaign seemed just, well, gimmicky. Jordan's takes a 2-0 lead.
Game 3. Buzz Factor
Let's face it, both buzzed through the roof. Jordan's "Monster Deal" made national news (Bloomberg, USAToday, ABCNews, etc.). But Taco Bell got on-air promo--ballplayers were actually talking about it in the dugout, followed by a not-so-coincidental cut to the TB CEO sitting in the stands. Personally, I'd prefer less shilling and more Schilling in my World Series, thankyouverymuch. But the on-air buzz, positive media coverage, and the next-day water-cooler buzz combine to give Game 3 to Taco Bell.
Game 4. Cost.
We're still not sure how much it cost Jordan's (or parent Berkshire Hathaway) in total, but the insurance policy was reportedly $20 million. Further, there are concerns that the rebates might be taxable and require 1099s for customers (although this seems unlikely); other reports worry that the total rebate-eligible sales may exceed the $20m policy. Taco Bell, OTOH, was a bargain-basement score. According to Ad Age: "Advertising buy: $5.6 million. Potential giveaway cost: under $1 million. Publicity value: priceless." Game 4 goes to Taco Bell.
Game 5. Execution
Jordan's campaign was highly integrated and well executed. Taco Bell's seemed a bit slapped together. As one expert noted in Advertising Age, "I felt that it was pretty flat-footed and also extremely expected at this point," said Jon Maurice, senior partner at interactive marketing agency Drive. "I don't know how many of these we've seen, but it's kind of like, 'Insert quick-service- restaurant brand here.'" He added that Fox's treatment was "heavy-handed" and Mr. Savage's performance left much to be desired. Conversely, Eliot's a natural; his TV persona and years of creative marketing experience are the stuff of New England legend. And Game 5 goes to Jordan's.
Game 6. Overall Impact
Jordan's was effectively leveraging a long-standing sponsorship of the Boston Red Sox, and in doing so took the relationship to a whole 'nother level. Jordan's campaign started with their announcement during Spring Training and ran all year long on NESN, the Red Sox cable network. The TV advertising spots were updated throughout the season, and there were broadcaster voiceovers and on-screen graphics during each game. The Taco Bell campaign really only lasted the duration of the World Series itself, and the Sox made quick work of the overmatched Rox, further minimizing the effect. And in its gushing over Taco Bell campaign, Advertising Age gave little ol' Jordan's props in the end. For overall impact, give Game 6 to Jordan's... And that's it, it's all over! Jordan's Furniture wins, 4 games to 2, the World Series of Buzz 2007!
(At least, that's what I think. How 'bout you? Comment me below.)