Why Maserati’s Super Bowl Advert, “Strike” Was Really Public Relations.

Did you see Maserati’s first TV advert?  What did you think?  I’ve watched it… I don’t know how many times and every time I watch it I’m impressed.  Very impressed.  Many people didn’t understand it when it ran.  Most hadn’t heard of the Marque, let alone the Ghibli brand. Questions and analysis about the advert quickly spread on Twitter.  What was the 90 second spot all about?

Most Super Bowl adverts use humour or celebrity. Most are showy.  This one was like watching a trailer for a movie – I keep thinking the Will Smith movie ‘After Earth’ should have done something similar.  But the Maserati advert wasn’t really an advert, it was a public relations tactic.  A masterpiece.  It was the start of rebuilding relationships with customers that had purchased the ill-fated Ghibli of the 1980s; customers of other four-door sedans who secretly wanted an Italian sports sedan, but couldn’t afford the $140,000 for a Quattreporte.  Strike was about saying we’ve watched and learned; we’ve listened; and now we’re back.

UPDATE: The company reported that it closed 2014 with its best year ever in North America, with sales growth of 169%.  It sold 13,411 vehicles in the year; 12,844 of them after the Super Bowl spot ran.  Assuming an average of 100,000 per vehicle [the Ghibli starts at $67,000 with the Quattroporte costing between $108 and $140,000] that’s revenues somewhere in the region of a $1.2bn on an estimated $20m [space plus spot production] investment in public relations.

How much should I pay for PR?

Imagine you walk in to a store and see a jacket or top you like; or you walk on to the lot of an auto dealership looking for a new car. There’s no price on either item so you ask the price. “What’s your budget” the sales person asks.

That’s how most PR agencies cost publicity programs. It’s not how we do it.

To find out how much it costs to get started with a PR program for your small business or startup, check out http://thinkdifferently.ca/what-it-costs

Engage Brain. Open Mouth. Not the other way around

This advice greeted me every time I walked in to a broadcast studio – and served me well over the years.  It’s also good advice for small businesses and startups starting public relations, marketing and social media activity.

Too often organizations rush to do something rather than spending time planning it.  The result is, often, failure to deliver the desired outcomes and – occasionally – embarrassment.

Watch more THINK PR Espresso

Evaluating PR and marketing effort

Evaluating the effectiveness of any communications program is essential – but too often agencies say it’s intangible – citing awareness and thought-leadership. In reality, if you know what success looks like before you start and create a campaign designed to achieve it, it’s easy to measure whether something is working.

Here are a few tips:

  • Set small, and tangible outcomes, as well as long-term goals. It enables you to understand what needs to happen to get to the destination and evaluate whether your strategy and tactics are moving you towards the ultimate outcome.
  • Break activity in to four parts: audience, message, timing and delivery mechanism. It makes it easier to evaluate what’s working and what’s not – and make changes to improve the effectiveness of campaigns.
  • Monitor progress – regularly. It enables you to make changes if you’re not getting the desired outcomes.
  • Don’t be afraid to make changes. Monitor activity every 30 days and ask yourself which activities you need to continue, which you need to stop [because they’re not adding value] and come up with new ideas that will help improve the effectiveness of the effort.

If you have a question about this, or have a question of your own you’d like answering then please get in touch. We’ll be happy to do what we can to help.

When should I start to think about public relations?

This is a question we get asked frequently by entrepreneurs, so we thought we’d make it the topic of today’s THINK PR Espresso.  Timing is an important part of effective public relations and getting it wrong could have a significant impact on your chances of successfully growing your business.

Here’s a presentation that I gave late last year that explains more about when an entrepreneur should start thinking about public relations and what they should focus on