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Marketing and Comms
Marketers Cleverly Crafting Brand Messaging to Broaden Appeal of Better Products

As Super Bowl XLIX shapes up to kick off on Sunday, NBC is selling 30-second spots for $4.4-4.5 million, and 95 percent of in-game ad inventory is already sold on what has become digital advertising’s biggest day.

By leveraging a massive event such as the Super Bowl, which last year set a record as the most-watched American television program in history with an average audience of 111.5 million viewers, more marketers are betting millions on shifting those viewers’ perception and understanding of sustainability with their carefully crafted ads.

Seizing the opportunity to move the needle on ‘natural’ is fast-food chain Carl's Jr's 60-second "all natural" burger ad featuring former Guess model Charlotte McKinney channeling Kate Upton, walking naked through a farmers’ market using giant onions, melons and tomatoes as ‘censors.’

Teased on YouTube, the ad officially debuts during the Super Bowl on Feb.1.

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Another ad that will air during the big game, for BMW’s all-electric i3, debuted earlier this month on NBC’s “Today.”

“Newfangled Idea” first takes us back to 1994 when “Today” hosts Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel asked, "What is Internet, anyway?," then jumps to the present and the challenge of explaining electric mobility.

Better food as a larger story began seeping into mainstream messaging in 2011, thanks in large part to Chipotle and its somber “Back to the Start” clip, which touched on the issues inherent in industrial agriculture. The burrito chain one-upped itself in 2013 with “The Scarecrow,” a dark, 3-1/2-minute film showing "a dystopian fantasy world" in which all food production is controlled by an evil fictional industrial complex called Crow Foods.

Chipotle has continued to release engaging media portraying the evils of industrial ag and the value of thoughtfully and humanely raised food, but more recent productions, such as last year’s comedy mini-series “Farmed and Dangerous” convey the points with a lighter tone.

Other food brands that have successfully used humor to convey the benefits of their “natural” offerings include Applegate — whose “Mooscles” ads challenge the contents of one of America’s favorite foods — and Long John Silver’s, which rebranded in 2014 with a new tagline, “Think fish,” and a series of spots that touted “fish sustainably harvested from the wildest place on earth” while poking fun at some of the issues with eating conventionally raised livestock.

As more marketers marry cleaner, better products with humor and heart, hopefully more consumers will begin to equate triple-bottom-line value with the best value.


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