Wednesday, June 4

Advertising Surprise: Welch's Grape Juice

In Feb., the Welch's Grape Juice ad campaign featuring a Peel 'n Taste sample inside PEOPLE magazine prompted Folio to wonder about sensory overload, gave one chemist pause, and sparked several to call the concept a “poorly executed idea.” In other words, most thought the First Flavor strip was worth a chuckle and nothing more.

A new study conducted by independent researcher GfK Starch Communications now suggests that if anyone should be laughing, it might be Welch's and First Flavor.

• The ad received as much recognition as an 8-page insert.
• The ad received the top branding score in that edition.
• The ad was the second most noticed, behind the inside front cover and gatefold.
• 59 percent of those who tried the flavor strip were more likely to buy the product, compared to 25 percent who did not try the sample.
• 88 percent of those who tried the strip, which was protected by foil, liked the taste.

"Readers saw our ad, some even tasted the flavor strip of our Welch's 100% grape juice and, most importantly, were more likely to purchase our delicious product as a result," said Christopher Heye, vice president of marketing at Welch's.

This just goes to show that my longtime friend and agency client, Jeff Rogers, vice president of Evolution, was spot on during a recent strategy session. After the new account asked why so many companies reject marketing recommendations, he had one simple answer.

“Too many marketing decisions are based on reasons that begin, ‘I like...'” he said.

It’s also the reason I resigned an account this week for the first time in two years. After noting that every marketing decision was ultimately based upon what the client “liked” or, worse, what was liked by a random passersby, it was time to wish him the best.

Much like those who first commented on the Welch’s ad, it’s always easy to provide a guess. But for the rest of us, the better decision-making process relies on test and measure. After all, who cares if you like it if the results demonstrate success?

In fact, I suspect that until more companies focus on outcomes as opposed to what they like, their advertising and marketing will continue to be one big guessing game with random hits and misses that reinforce invalid conclusions.

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