Ever since Cinderella we’ve loved a makeover story. Re-casting someone who’s struggling as a diamond in the rough and then bringing out their shine is an enduring type of story, even a life affirming journey.
It’s no surprise then, that makeovers make good telly. Whether it’s a person being made to look 10 years younger or good naked, a house in disrepair being architected, or even a rusty vintage car getting back on the road, the narrative is compelling and the end result uplifting. Perhaps it’s because all of us feel like a diamond in the rough sometimes.
Really great marketing campaigns are like that too. I read 30 IPA award entries this summer, each one a story of marketers taking a struggling business and changing the way it looks. And in many of these cases, it worked. The changes might have been skin deep, but they made a meaningful difference to business outcomes.
The marketing effectiveness “reveal”
At the end of the TV makeover show, you get the reveal. Where she gets the final look in the mirror or the photo shoot. Where the house is finished, cushions and all. Where the once rusty car roars off down a picturesque road.
Econometricians like me are present for the marketing reveal a lot. Did attitudes to the brand change? Did people search the product out more often? And the big one: did the money spent pay back?
More often than not I am looking at an ordinary campaign that no-one expects to enter into the awards. So, as I was reading through the reveals for this year’s entries, I started thinking about how potential winners are different.
And they are different. I obviously can’t share any details from this year’s entries, but in our own database of past projects it’s clear. Awards entries are a collection of campaigns with higher than usual payback.