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Inc. Interview: Why 'Dilly, Dilly' Ad Campaign Only Works for Bud Light

If someone asked you on the spot to name a beer commercial that you’ve seen in the past few months, what would your answer be? My guess would be that you’d likely mention Bud Light’s viral ‘Dilly Dilly’ campaign.

The commercial really isn’t focused on why you should be drinking Bud Light. Yes, it’s the star of the commercial, but the catchphrase doesn’t really have meaning or have anything to do with the beer. Instead, the ad is focused on driving you to eventually drink more beer. It’s focused on growing the category—not your preference.

Recently,  I was interviewed by Jeff Haden at Inc. Magazine on why ‘Dilly Dilly’ works for Bud Light, and what it can teach you about your own marketing and advertising campaigns. In the article, I break down the differences between brand-level demand and category-level demand (also known as selective vs. primary demand). Take a look at the infographic for a quick recap of the differences:

Selective vs. Primary Demand Strategies

Will Primary Demand Advertising Like ‘Dilly, Dilly’ Work for You?

One thing you’ll notice is that primary demand advertising is often very memorable, using humor and/or emotion to push its target audience toward a general action or broad category. Category-level advertising can often connect with more people because it’s intended to appeal to a broader audience. So should your business attempt a category-level advertising campaign like ‘Dilly, Dilly’?

Not so fast.

Trying to launch your own version of the ‘Dilly Dilly’ campaign could be a potential ROI nightmare. It’s important to understand what this ad was focused on accomplishing, and how approaching growing category-level demand needs to fit with your brand’s story and position in the market.

Most of your marketing efforts are likely focused on building selective demand. Meaning, you’re delivering messages that depict your brand as the best match for the needs of your target market. When you are growing selective demand, you’re building preference.

‘Dilly Dilly’ is not about preference. Because Bud Light is a leader in a well-established category they stand to benefit from growing demand in the overall category. That same campaign likely wouldn’t work as well for a craft brewery.

The Wrong Way to Use Primary Demand Advertising

Remember the Turkish Airlines Super Bowl ad? It’s a gorgeous commercial filled with beautiful scenery, powerful imagery and inspiring voiceover. They made a significant marketing investment for the spot—at least $5 million for the spot, plus production costs, plus the endorsement fee for Dr. Oz. While raising American awareness of the brand is a great ambition, they failed to give people a reason to care about and engage with their brand specifically. Everything displayed in that commercial can be delivered by any airline, any airline can go out and pay a famous celebrity to be their spokesperson, and any airline can “widen your world.” So what benefits does Turkish Airlines offer to travelers that make them truly unique? What makes the Turkish travel experience compelling for consumers? What is their six-second story? The Turkish ad may motivate more people to explore and travel, but there’s nothing in that ad that motivates them to book that next ticket on Turkish Airlines.

So when is the right time to pull the marketing levers needed to grow the category or primary demand? Be sure to check out my interview to learn more.

You may also be interested in my new book, “Marketing, Interrupted,” where I share stories about companies that have transformed traditional marketing approaches. I’ve interviewed and researched marketers, thought leaders, brands, and organizations that are interrupting “marketing as usual.” After all, sometimes the only way to succeed is to go crazy.

Order your copy of “Marketing, Interrupted”  by clicking the button below.

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