Promotional Era example


Marketing strategy in the promotional era

Today most firms operate in line with the marketing concept or the societal marketing concept. However, if we go back in time, firms tended to operate with a sales and/or promotional focus.

This video highlights Crocker Bank from 1970. It is taken from a documentary on the advertising industry entitled Art & Copy. If you have an interest in the advertising industry as your career, then I would suggest that the full documentary is very well worth viewing.

The video concentrates on the ad agency that put together the campaign. As you will see the campaign became “too successful” in a number of ways. You may also notice a famous song “we’ve only just begun” that has since become a classic and was written for the television commercial.

An overview of the Crocker Bank ad campaign

This particular TV commercial is a good example of what we call the “big idea” in advertising. The Crocker Bank ad was built around an emotional central theme of helping young people get started and succeed in life. The images were very emotional and a lot of young couples (and their parents) would have identified with it quite strongly. The fact that the jingle/support song became a smash hit and very popular throughout the country, would have certainly helped build that emotional impact as well.

It important to keep in mind that at time in the banking industry, banks were not overly open and flexible – not like today, where they are far more marketing oriented. And as becomes apparent in the quick video with Hal Riney, it is clear that Crocker Bank had no marketing integration either.

Their advertising department appeared to operate completely independently of the firm’s overall strategy. This is demonstrated by there being no suitable products, application processes, or supportive staff being put in place. In other words, the entire strategy was built around this TV commercial only.

Consistent with this “advertising as an independent area” approach, the Crocker Bank TV commercial appear to have a very good insight to the needs and motivations of the target market, yet this information was not shared and executed in other parts of overall marketing strategy.

Unlike integrated marketing communications today, we see no real concept of internal marketing. In fact, we get the impression that existing sales and branch staff would not overly pleased to deal with large numbers of young people. These sales people would have had a significant role to play in the overall success or failure of any promotional campaign.

When you consider the lack of integration with strategy and the reluctance of key sales staff (due to no internal marketing), it is clear that the advertising message was completely inconsistent with the offering and direction of the firm at that time.

Therefore, this TV commercial and related discussion on Art & Copy stand is a great example of the old era of advertising (the forerunner of marketing) being an isolated an independent part of the organization.

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