Yes, it's been a long time since we spoke here of "sticky."
Sticky is one of the things we all like our advertising to be. (After relevant, of course.)
Sticky means that the advertising sticks in your prospect's mind like a tenacious bug and won't leave.
Like, "Roto-Rooter, that's the name! And away go troubles down the drain!"
Or, "We'll leave the light on for you."
Or, "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight."
Sticky advertising is like a little burrowing worm that spirals down into the gray matter and lives there, probably forever. Take Roto-Rooter. When was the last time that the insidious jingle came into my life? No clue. Maybe once in the last decade.
But it lives there in my brain, occupying space that, for a smarter individual, could have been occupied by the Navier-Stokes Equations or the Second Law Of Thermodynamics.
BUT NO, INSTEAD OF WORLD-CHANGING EQUATIONS, MY BRAIN TRAPS ADVERTISING DOGGEREL
So it goes.
We can all rest assured that your relentless scribe will never be featured in
About the best we can hope for is Radio And Production magazine.
More likely, the local paper's police blotter.
But I digress.
Yes, we're discussing sticky.
But sticky of a different kind.
You may recall last year's bizarre entry into the Super Bowl of advertising, Loctite's twisted little dance of the red fanny packs.
If you'd like to review that commercial to refresh your memory, you may find it here: https://youtu.be/7TjgUwNJ72k
This odd little commercial from Fallon in Minneapolis was widely loved and greatly touted as the winner of the games.
But back then, we asked a question: would the weirdness pay off?
THERE WAS NO WAY TO KNOW IMMEDIATELY
Loctite sunk over $4 million dollars--their typical annual advertising budget--into a single spot buy on Super Sunday.
The goal was to raise awareness of Loctite in a big way.
And Fallon is an advertising agency known not for caprice, but for actual, thoughtful creative strategies that pay off.
So, almost a year later, what was the result?
Is Gorilla Glue still eating Loctite's lunch?
Nobody is talking about it.
AND LOCTITE IS NOT IN THIS YEAR'S SUPER BOWL
Which, for some, would be a sign that the effort wasn't good enough to try it all again.
Of course, the optimist inside you could say that it's just like the goal that we at Slow Burn have for some of our own clients: do such a good job at the outset, that having to advertise becomes unnecessary.
Certainly, we've had clients whose brands become so strong, and whose identities become so indelible, they have to stop advertising because they can no longer handle additional business.
But come on. Loctite?
It's a company with half a billion dollars in sales competing in a vicious market. Of course they have to keep advertising just to maintain their status quo, right?
One might assume.
But still, no definitive answers on how the Super Bowl worked out.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED AND WHY AREN'T WE HEARING ABOUT IT?
My guess is no one is talking for any one of a variety of reasons. And dammit, I gots to know.
Seriously, folks. Your relentless scribe has been relentless in pursuit if these facts.
Sitting in the dark at 4:30AM, bathed in the glow of an LCD screen, scouring the interwebs for some factoid, some nugget, ANYTHING that can prove for the inquisitive among us whether Loctite's fanny pack weirdness paid off.
Finally, as the sun began to climb over the Uintah mountains, turning the dark of night into a faintly gray snowscape of a dawn, there was a glimmer of hope.
It came in the form of a press release about profitability from Loctite's parent company, Henkel--a German corporation with over $17 billion in annual revenue.
The release regards the most recently available report of profitability from the German giant, for 2015 Q3. (Apparently, fourth quarter results are not yet public.)
HOW ART THOU, ADHESIVE TECHNOLOGIES UNIT?
According to the press release, Henkel's "adhesives business, which has suffered from fierce price competition in packaging in the United States..."
"...by 2.3 percent."
A sales increase of 2.3% in Q3?
That seems good.
But what about prior to that?
Well, apparently Q2 experienced a sales increase of 1.7%.
SALES ARE UP--BUT IS THIS ABOUT SUPER-BOWL CAUSE AND EFFECT?
We have absolutely no way of being certain.
But, while we know about Q3 and Q2, what about 2015 Q1?
After all, Q1 is the quarter in which the Super Bowl commercial ran.
Granted, the Super Bowl was at the beginning of February. So the bizarre Loctite message ran after Q1 was almost a third over.
Another press release surfaced, this one regarding Henkel performance in Q1.
It reports, "The Adhesive Technologies business unit likewise posted a solid organic sales increase of 4.1 percent."
HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL!
Again, we have no clue about cause and effect.
And Henkel makes plenty more adhesives than just Loctite. In fact, the Loctite business might be considered little more than a pimple compared to the monstrous blackhead of their other adhesives business.
But it's really difficult to not be impressed by this.
A weird little commercial filled with fanny-pack dancers runs in one of the single-biggest sports broadcasts in the world.
And the subsequent sales performance of Henkel-owned adhesives during the next three quarters, respectively, a) spikes over 4%, b) mellows to a 1.7% sales increase, and then c) bumps up a bit to 2.3%.
THAT'S TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN STICKY STUFF
And it all may or may not be attributable to a $4 million media buy--followed by a relentless shepherding of the brand in social media.
I actually went to check and see if the #WinAtGlue hashtag still had any traction.
And there's a little bit out there.
While it's hardly prolific, the Twittersphere still sees Loctite fans interacting with the brand and flaunting their fanny packs.
Absolutely one of the best posts on Twitter is this:
"I just used @LoctiteGlue to suture a wound (my own), so I think I'm really embodying their slogan of 'Win At Glue.'"
Better is Loctite's reply:
"To #WINATGLUE is a full-body experience. We're glad you're feeling better, champ! ❤ ️ ❤ ️"
LOCTITE HAS DONE A DECENT JOB OF ENGAGING WITH THEIR CUSTOMERS
Which goes back to something we discussed almost a year ago.
For an effort like this to succeed, it requires a full-on commitment.
Go ahead and do big-budget stunt advertising where you spend your entire annual budget.
Just make sure that ad spend isn't going to sink you if it all goes to hell.
Then, think about the opportunities for PR.
A big stunt can generate traction if you understand what about it is interesting and newsworthy.
Enough PR can generate more attention than the actual, paid advertising.
KEY IS REMEMBERING THAT TRADITIONAL MEDIA ADVERTISING DOESN'T LIVE IN A VACUUM
Social media and YouTube need to be a part of the media mix--and they all need to be on-message and on-brand.
And as with the guy who sutured himself using Loctite, continue the conversation with customers--and make sure you direct that conversation.
Ultimately, Loctite's "gamble" was pretty safe.
Had it failed miserably, that single spot would not have sunk the company.
The entire effort was actually calculated, strategic and insightful.
As should your own.
May your gambles in 2016 be equally calculated, strategic and tactical.
Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.