For the last week, The Atlantic Business has been running a special series on advertising, with a dozen articles and essays on creating ads, judging ads, shopping with our smartphones, and understanding the surprising marketing motives in the entertainment industry. If you missed our coverage, get the highlights here.
Answer: Yes. Ask the folks who designed Axe's campaign around dorky guys covering themselves with body spray to attract hot girls.
The campaign was an instant hit, and Axe quickly became the No. 1 male brand in the total antiperspirant/deodorant category, earning Unilever $71 million in sales in 2006 ($50 million more than its closest rival, Tag) and $186 million (excluding Walmart sales) in 2007, an increase of 14 percent from a year earlier -- which was leagues ahead of its nearest rival. What's more, sales of the brand's other products shot up as well, because body sprays are often used as a "training fragrance," and if a young male cottons to a brand, he's more likely to buy other products from the same company (what we in the industry call "the halo effect").
However, the brand's early success soon began to backﬁre. The problem was, the ads had worked too well in persuading the Insecure Novices and Enthusiastic Novices to buy the product. Geeks and dorks everywhere were now buying Axe by the caseload, and it was hurting the brand's image. Eventually (in the United States, at least), to most high-school and college-age males, Axe had essentially become the brand for pathetic losers and, not surprisingly, sales took a huge hit.
Answer: No. Movies are in the TV business. In 2007, worldwide MPAA studio receipts totaled $43 billion. U.S. box
office accounted for less than 10 percent of that haul. The world's
multiplexes accounted for a little more than 10 percent. "The other 80
percent now came from the ubiquitous couch potato who was
viewing his movies at home via DVDs, Blu-rays, pay-per-view, a digital
recorder, cable channels, or even network television," Edward Jay Epstein wrote.