Advertising in the age of social media

Today's ad campaign has messages, platforms, social media

In a recent presentation, as a joke, but to make a point about the new power enjoyed by individuals and consumers, I attempted to demonstrate what the Volkswagon of the 1960s would be up against if they were marketing today in the age of social media.

The anti-brand fan group is growing in popularity

Not only would the agency, the once great Doyle Dane Bernbach have had to expand the print ad (above left) into a micro-site (or Facebook app), YouTube channel, and Twitter feed, in all likelihood they’d have had to deal with the fact that not everyone was as fond of the ad as its creators. I refer, of course, to the wives noted in the headline, presented not as co-decision makers but as nothing more than a reflection of their husbands’ good judgment and wisdom. No doubt their anger would be expressed in a rapidly populating fan page condemning the sexist (by today’s terms anyway) message.

Well wouldn’t you know it, not two days after debuting this contrived case study, this appeared: a video response to Dodge Charger’s Superbowl ad, title Man’s Last Stand. Featuring lines equally as clever as those in the original spot — I will catch you staring at my breasts but pretend not to notice. I will put my career on hold to raise your children. I will watch TV shows where fat, stupid, unattractive men have beautiful wives. — the spoof was created and uploaded by McKenzie Fegan, apparently working on her own.

Will it dampen Dodge Charger sales? Probably not. Will it inspire looks of scorn from certain women when their date shows up driving one? In all likelihood the original Superbowl commercial already accomplished that. In fact you could argue that based on the type of guy Dodge appears to be “targeting” whatever attention this video generates is a good thing, reinforcing the brand’s desired image. You could even go a step further and argue that Dodge and its agency Weiden and Kennedy would have been smart to inspire the creation of this and similar opposing messages in order to generate buzz and call further attention to the original spot. Alas it turns out they’re not quite that clever or surreptitious.

Either way, McKenzie’s minute of brilliance is a vivid reminder that while some things (i.e. the battle of the sexes) never change, others (i.e. the ways in which consumers find to express and distribute their opinions) definitely do. So whether you view the new consumer controlled media environment as an opportunity for expression that brands should encourage, or a liability that they should try and limit, one thing’s for sure. You can’t market anymore, you can’t create campaigns or ads or messages without taking into consideration that you’re surrounded not by an audience, but by a community of creators.

What do you think? Should Dodge start posting links to the Women’s Last Stand video?  Or duck.

Links:  Full script for Women’s Last Stand, MacKenzie’s parody of Dodge’s Superbowl ad

26 comments
music
music

thank for sharing
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Tracy
Tracy

This is freakin brilliant. Kudos to McKenzie Fegan. If she's not working somewhere, someone needs to hire her NOW. And I love the idea of an entire channel dedicated to the other side of the coin. Too bad the agency didn't capitalize on that angle.

Awesome post!

Jimmy Gilmore
Jimmy Gilmore

Interesting reading through the comments here.

I looked at the sentiment data the next day after the Dodge ad ran and it wasn't great. I posted about it here: http://ow.ly/19bsV

I like the idea of the call and response. Embracing McKenzie's spot seems like a viable option – paying for media and running it back to back may even make sense.

I know some folks who worked on Porsche at Goody and they claim embracing the female audience was crucial to improving sales. Not pandering, but acknowledging them.

I don't know about anyone else here, but my wife and I don't make car purchasing decisions in a vacuum.

Thanks for another provocative discussion.
.-= Jimmy Gilmore´s last blog ..Social Media good energy vs hippie crystals and social media posers =-.

Lara Lopez
Lara Lopez

too funny, I think the 'emasculation' of men in the Dodge commercial pokes fun how the times have changed and the tables have turned - and the women's video response reinforces just that.

Spencer
Spencer

I think the problem with advertising now is it's too geared towards women and advertisers have forgotten how to speak to men. The people that make ads like the think men are indecisive little children who can't decide on things for themselves.

Think about the target. If you are offended by this commercial then it's because it wasn't meant for you. Not every product is for every person, and therefore an ad does not need to speak to all people.
.-= Spencer´s last blog ..Zoning Hearing on Proposed Bank in Conshohocken =-.

Tyler Hayes
Tyler Hayes

Maybe it's just me, but the Superbowl commercial was not a battle of the sexes thing to me.

Actually, now that I think about it, it's ridiculous that I didn't notice that. To me, it was more of a emasculated guy vs. stereotypical manly guy thing. That also might be because I read the Ad Age review of the commercial first before having seen it, which put it in a different light.

As lazy journalists say, "Interesting."
.-= Tyler Hayes´s last blog ..Still Here =-.

Bridget Dunne
Bridget Dunne

So funny love this post. marketing purposes aside, these two videos show the comical stereotypical relationship between a man and a women.

Departmental Seminar2

Bruce DeBoer
Bruce DeBoer

Hilarious - You can ask my wife, I turned to her when I saw the original Dodge ad and said, "whoa, that'll get some push back. I don't care what car you're selling, you're still selling to women."

Jeff Norton
Jeff Norton

Hey, really great article. Interesting new information and it left me wanting to comment (hope you read these).

I love very few car commercials, but I love the Dodge spot. They got Michael C. Hall from Dexter for the voiceover for crissakes!!

This spot is impossibly well-aligned with their target: right attitude, right casting, right audience, right car.

So: respond, or don't respond? I pick door #3 which is: Blow the situation up even further by cutting a new Dodge commercial in response. Fight fire with gas. They have a limited amount of time to stay relevant, and timely. Gun it. A man in a Dodge Charger would.
.-= Jeff Norton´s last blog ..vandenoyl: RT @iheartquotes: "I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you." ~ Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist) | via @idashling =-.

Jeff Shattuck
Jeff Shattuck

One of the best little bits of marketing wisdom I've picked up is "you can convene but not control". Dodge has convened, now roll with it!

Jeff
.-= Jeff Shattuck´s last blog ..Off-topic: how Gallo helped free me from the shackles of wine branding. =-.

Rich Nadworny
Rich Nadworny

Well, yes, creating a fake fan page as a brand lightening rod might have been a smart marketing tactic, but not very honest perhaps.

The bigger question is: What does Dodge stand for? If it's the car for insecure men, or insensitive meatheads, what's wrong with that, if it's true and it resonates?

To make an ad that pisses people off and then say "sorry, no harm intended" shows a brand that that you can't really trust. Isn't that really what all of these smart marketing tactics are supposed to do?

Of course, if a key element of Dodge's customer base is women, or if women are driving more of Dodge's car buying decisions, it makes you wonder what the agency was really up to.

Sam Ellison
Sam Ellison

I think they need to embrace this. Absolutely. It's incredible well done.

Here's what they shouldn't do: tie it in with the Dodge Caravan.

Christopher Baccus
Christopher Baccus

Interesting article and thank you for sharing the Dodge commercial spoof. You can tell when an ad is resonating when people start mocking it. This can be a good thing or bad thing. I think in Dodge's case it's both since most of the automotive press and enthusiasts are mostly in favor of the Dodge ad. Of course, some people are also offended by it, though I'd guess it's a mild offense.

I do want to add that Dodge and Wieden+Kennedy actually did make a companion ad. It's not exactly in the same expression as Man's Last Stand, but it does show Dodge Chargers are the perfect cars for a woman's self-expression. Here is the companion ad that was released on Dodge's YouTube channel the day of the Super Bowl (not sure if it is running on TV or ever will): http://automarketingblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/dodge-challenger-good-for-getting-away.html

Chris
.-= Christopher Baccus´s last blog ..Dodge Super Bowl Spoof: Woman's Last Stand =-.

James
James

Embracing the varying responses also gives them a chance to respond themselves and guide the overall back and forth.

The idea of a call-and-response campaign is a great framework for all sorts of marketing executions. It's wonderfully human too, just ask anyone who's sang a round in a pub can attest.
.-= James´s last blog ..How the Brands are Stacking up in 2010 Olympic Advertising =-.

Dion Hughes
Dion Hughes

the appropriately neanderthal thing to do would be to embrace. it helps their (dodge) quasi-argument. great post... and thanks for the catfoa pres last week. nice illustration of today's complexity.
.-= Dion Hughes´s last blog ..For once, an inspiring Super Bowl =-.

edward boches
edward boches

Jimmy:
No doubt. I fact more often women influence the decision. Though if that's the case, women could buy her husband a Charger as a sympathy response to all the trials and tribulations the poor fellow must endure. ;-)

edward boches
edward boches

Talk to most women. They think that marketers totally neglect them. Other than Moms. Talk to single women, older women, middle aged divorced women. Hope they don't read your comment or you're in deep shit for lack of awareness. :-)

Tyler Hayes
Tyler Hayes

Very true. Although I'd still like to see another male response ad on par with McKenzie's. To me, they feel off kilter with each other. Considering the Dodge ad had fairly strict boundaries (i.e. family friendly, no swearing, no truly sex-related comments, etc.), it would be funny to see a guy do a response that had the same emotional punch and wasn't restricted in what it could talk about, just like McKenzie's.
.-= Tyler Hayes´s last blog ..Still Here =-.

edward boches
edward boches

Eh, what does Ad Age know? ;-) It may be as you suggest, but once McKenzie pulled the gloves off and posted her piece, obviously reflecting what women thought of the spot and the guy in it (maybe the car and brand, too) it became just that. In a fun sort of way.

edward boches
edward boches

I am with you, Jeff. (And yes I read all comments and respond to most, if not all, that call for it. I liked the spot. Funny, great writing, provocative. Of course it would offend some women. That was half the point. So as my post suggests we can look at all of these "situations" from two perspectives: opportunity to stimulate conversation and word of mouth that creates buzz for our brand; or fear and resist it because we're threatened by the loss of control. Personally, I am in the former camp. For Dodge this is a great opportunity. I would pour on the gas. What do they have to lose? The spot has already offended some women. To show up and apologize is the antithesis of the positioning. Even that nod to women in the spot Christopher mentions above is a bit compromising. Either you believe what you say or you don't.

edward boches
edward boches

Agree, though my "fake fan page" was to imply that this would really happen. If Dodge actually did inspire the opposing view, not doubt it would have been revealed as all part of the fun. What they should be doing now is shouting "bring it on."

Christopher Baccus
Christopher Baccus

I agree it is a weak response, but still it was a response. They did plan for some push back and I agree with you it was a "wimpy" reply.

I had this thought in my Super Bowl automotive ad review article that was published the Monday after the game. It follows some of what McKenzie did with her "Woman's Last Stand", but I added the bonus of getting a perfect female answer to the male Dexter or so I think:

"Women staring blankly at the camera with voiceover by Weed’s star Mary-Louise Parker saying, “I will get the kids ready for school, kiss you goodbye and rush to get ready for my job. I will pretend to understand why you care if a team wins a game. I will fake an orgasm this weekend.” Oh wait, maybe this concept does work. Now what car would go roaring down the highway in the female gender version? BMW Z4 sDrive 35i with a manual transmission to beat the pants off that automatic only offered Dodge Charger."

Anyway, thanks for the discussion and an interesting read. Great comments here too.

edward boches
edward boches

Weak at best. And if done as a response, then wimpy, too. Why not stick with some conviction to the original message and milk the rivalry for everything it's worth.

edward boches
edward boches

Ah yes. If I were the agency I'd be kicking myself for not thinking of such an idea as part of the campaign. The potential controversy and resulting conversation, used as a marketing tactic, could have been very very cool. If they're smart, they're all over it, embracing it, debating it, linking to it, stimulating customers and prospects to engage in the battle.

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