When companies advertise, they typically do it for one reason: encouraging people to use their brand. The ambiguous, ‘use’ could be in the form of buying something, talking about them or typically think of them in a different light. Most often, these ads are simply platforms where companies encourage customers to buy. We’re becoming accustomed to tuning “salesy” ads out and attentive to advocacy-related ads. I observed a well-timed commercial by Verizon regarding text-message safety and driving. They made it a point that they are advertising to dissuade mobile phone users to stop driving.
This commercial aired on national television networks:
In this ad, Verizon makes a concerted effort to inform people of a simple message: “PLEASE DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE.”
How can their marketing department justify dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars, (possibly millions), on these media buys? Further, how do they justify the deployment of billboards across America … there has to be hundreds of metropolitan cities that are getting these. And there’s absolutely no call to action, except inaction.
It’s because it’s the right thing to do.
Verizon may be experiencing a challenging time competing in the marketplace next to AT&T (sporting the iPhone entitlement) and Sprint (sporting the ‘fastest’ network, allegedly). Their branding has always been strong around customer service, the human side behind the service — you know, the ‘network’. This reiterates Verizon’s consumer advocacy branding by innocently suggesting drivers to safely drive and not text simultaneously.
I won’t bullshit you, though. This marketing campaign is purely for PR, branding, brand recognition and to limit pending regulatory/legal sanctions on the industry. Every large company does the similar tactics in order to spin the public perception of their industry or brand. But, I feel this one though is genuine and authentic in how Verizon pulled it off.
Doing the right thing is the best investment a company can make. Even if it doesn’t generate one cent of revenue. (I imagine, this will help people consider Verizon as a “caring” company, more than the likes of Sprint or AT&T, and extend LTV of subscribers, and possible enroll more.) Timing is everything, and with the holidays coming up, consumers are dropping stacks for their family [this strategic intent is validated in the press release]. When they think of entering a contract with a mobile phone provider, which one ‘cares’ about them more? Verizon.
Branding is tough to monetize, let alone track effectively. It’s very opposite in nature with how funnel-marketing works and must be tracked in unique ways. For instance, the buzz, brand mentions, general site traffic, referring traffic, search engine phrases, etc. I hold trust that this campaign by Verizon will pay off in the end; even if it means no significant profits.
It seems like the COO was completely on-board with the idea; he was quoted extensively in the press release by Verizon. This was probably the work of a solid marketing exec, their team and the support of the leadership in the company. I could think of a million reasons to shoot down this idea, but I can only think of one to move forward on it. It’s the right thing to do.
Nice job, Verizon, for scoring points with this campaign. Hopefully, people will limit their texting during driving with your efforts.
What do you think?