Saucy Ads Don't Build Brands

What is advertising? It is communication with a target market with end goals of building a brand advancing a business. Any investment in advertising should be undertaken with this basic concept in mind. Or, if you a prefer a what-advertising-is-not definition, simply reference a recent commercial by Ragu. Unilever's spaghetti sauce brand is running a campaign called "Long Day of Childhood." One of the spots shows a boy coming into his house after school calling "mom, mom." He finds her and realizes why she did not answer: Mom is "busy" in the bedroom. Although we do not see what the boy sees, his face says it all! See the commercial below.

The commercial is a YouTube hit with more than 1.4 million views. Ragu has three other commercials from the same campaign posted on its YouTube page, none of which have more than 100,000 views. Unfortunately for Ragu, views of a humorous commercial will not translate into more customers. Although Ragu is the market leader in spaghetti sauces, its market share has slipped. Brand awareness is not an issue, so what Ragu needs is to connect with consumers in ways that make Ragu more relevant in their lives. While some adults may be able to relate to the boy in the commercial, does the spot draw people closer to the Ragu brand? Probably not.

Thanks for the laugh, Ragu. I like a brand that does not take itself too seriously. Ultimately, brand marketers will be evaluated on whether their efforts resulted in higher sales and profits. I am not convinced this campaign will make that happen.

Ad Age - "Ragu Explains the Ad Where the Kid Walks in on His Parents"

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