Friday, June 9, 2017

Online vs offline advertising - Adidas vs GM (who was right?)

In 2012, General Motors pulled its 10 Million Dollars online ads from Facebook admitting online advertising does not work.
Recently in 2017, Adidas just did the reverse, eliminating all TV advertising and focusing on online exclusively.
There are several layers to read the above.
First the simplistic ones:
Either one of the two brands will hit a wall very soon for not understanding where the market is today.
In 5 years the market has changed so much that TV advertising is now irrelevant.
Adidas is trying to grow its online sales which are now only 6% of its total sales and is doing it the wrong way.
But as I said, these are the simplistic answers.
The answer that lies behind this dichotomy is the target audience.
Adidas Superstar was the per Dollar top selling sneakers in the US in 2016. No points for guessing which age bracket made it so. It is the same audience for whom retroism s cool, for whom the past is always seen in rosy spectacles, who rely on apps to know where they are instead of asking for directions, who complete their Superstar with flea market finds and salvation army tops all infused with the limited edition drop from Bathing Ape. Oh and they move from one place to another by catching an Uber (and no, these people do not care about the scandals plaguing the company).
Yes, you guessed it - the millennials.
Now, let us take the example of General Motors,, GM for short.
Well if you live in West Virginia, Montana, or Washington State, likelihood is that you have an SUV or a truck. You read about it in a specialized magazine, saw it at your neighbor's, passed by the dealership to get acquainted with it (or simply to be a tire kicker) or perhaps knew about it from the GM pages still available on Facebook and read the raving reviews the satisfied users already posted. Yes, GM still has online Facebook pages it's the ads that didn't work - big difference.
If you belong to the category above, likelihood is that you are an older person, looking for a versatile car, one that includes family as well, your main source of information is Fox News and you belong to a more mature demographic.
So rushing to judgement that TV is dead because of Adidas or that online is worthless because of GM is just an easy reading of a more complex situation. Each is trying to chase its consumer wherever it may be. As the Ziab travel ad above (dating back to 2002) puts it so brilliantly, "we chase the new customer.. After satisfying the old one".