It's fun being at Sherpa because we often get to see new study data before anyone else. This week, Anderson Analytics pre-released their new GenX2Z College Brand Study results to us exclusively. (See link below to three charts from the study.)
They track which brands, ads and Web sites college students name as their "favorite." Results:
o Web: MySpace unexpectedly leapfrogged to number one, past FaceBook and YouTube.
o Brands: Nike is the most beloved brand for the second year in a row. Coke plummeted from number two in 2005 to 15 in 2006. Express and Apple each moved up substantially from the bottom to the middle of the top 15 pack.
o TV ads: The most popular commercials -- Geico, Miller, CitiBank, Volkswagen -- were all chosen by students because they were the funniest. Humorous creative equals a home run in the college crowd.
Or does it?
Thing is, humor doesn't equal loyalty. 2005's most beloved Web site CollegeHumor.com was demoted to number four this year.
Humor also doesn't equal purchasing. None of the top brands named by students produce humorous ads. (And, according to MarketingSherpa's own 2005 study of IT professionals' reactions to online ads, they loved to click on humorous banners but it didn't affect their ultimate buying decision.)
Last week I was considering this data when I ran across USA Today's most recent Ad Track report.
As you may know, the weekly report conducted in partnership with Harris Interactive, asks more than 3,500 adult consumers whether they like a TV ad or not ... and if they think it's effective.
Last week's study was about Hyundai's Sonata ads. Reportedly, consumers thought these ads were 55% less effective than other ads on TV.
Here's the thing, consumers are buying 44% more Sonatas this year compared to last year. USA Today's reporter was mystified by this.
Thing is, the ads and marketing creative consumers like -- or what they think is really funny -- is not always (or sometimes ever) going to be the ad that moves the purchase needle. Plus, of course, the ad your own marketing team likes the most won't necessarily be the winner either.
No one's gut -- neither your creative team's nor end consumers' -- can tell you which ads will really work. Only testing can.
Which, pretty much sums up my entire marketing philosophy. Got any data of your own on what people like versus what really works? Post it to this blog's comments below ...
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