There is an old expression that “any press is good press.” It has a couple of corollaries – “as long as they spell my name right” being one. I’d like to examine that in light of the most talked about ad of last night’s Super Bowl, Puppymonkeybaby.” This was a bizarre ad for a new flavor of soda and featured three lovable things – a puppy, a monkey, and a baby – mashed up into a strange creature. I’m sure you’ve seen the ad by now.
According to iSpot.tv:
Mountain Dew dominated Super Bowl winning 1st place for the top performing commercial on game-day with its weirdly unmistakable “Puppymonkeybaby” ad. Even with so many ads, this unique spot captured nearly 13% of the big game’s Digital Share of Voice, generating over 244k social actions and a total social volume of over 272mm impressions and more than 2.25mm organic video views on game day.
No question that the ad made an impression. It finished, however, towards the bottom of the USA Today ad meter rankings (almost 20,000 pre-registered people weigh in) and, more importantly, lit up social media with comments ranging from humorous (adopt your puppymonkeybaby from a shelter) to the negative (I’ve never felt so uncomfortable watching a commercial) to the frightened (I don’t even know what #puppymonkeybaby was supposed to be advertising. All I know is the fear.) Generally, the comments were negative.
So is any press – or our 2016 version of press – social media – good press? I don’t think so. Any brand that thinks just getting their name out there is following a terribly misguided strategy. Huge amounts of press for the wrong reasons can kill a brand. The folks at the Stanford Graduate School of Business put out a study that said in some cases negative publicity can increase sales when a product or company is relatively unknown, simply because it stimulates product awareness. Their thinking is that the negative impression fades over time and increased awareness may remain. Given how most people research today using search engines, you can be very sure the negative impression will remain too.
Any press isn’t good press. I won’t be buying the soda and I’m not buying that the negative impression made by the ad is a good thing. You?