Hello business owners. Look at your advertising campaign. Now look at the Old Spice campaign. Now back at your campaign. Now back at Old Spice. Sadly, there’s only one person who’s the “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” who can show you how to “Smell like a Man, Man.” It’s the Old Spice guy.

We were introduced to him back in 2010, when he transformed the Old Spice brand and invigorated their bottom line. This campaign became one of the fastest growing and most popular interactive advertising campaigns in history, garnering a reported 107% increase in sales. It’s now 2015 and the Old Spice guy is still making appearances — and still occasionally riding a white horse.

With the ole Old Spice guy having a commercial lifespan of five years, you might be wondering if that’s the standard length of an advertising campaign. The answer is a resounding — not necessarily.

After all the “Most Interesting Man in the World” (aka the Dos Equis guy) has been around and living vicariously through himself since 2006. But Volvo’s epic stunt campaign, most notably the “Epic Split” featuring Jean Claude Van Damme, ran for a considerably shorter period of time.

Veering away from the theme of exaggerated masculinity, charities, on the other hand, often opt for annual campaigns that keep their non-profit organizations top of mind and their community appeals fresh and relevant. This is also the case for organizations that are in competitive markets or perhaps for companies that carry seasonal products or services.

Some campaigns have the reach and resonance to survive decades, while others, for many reasons, do not. There’s no specific science that can pinpoint the exact moment when an advertising campaign needs to be revitalized, because advertising is a fluid, on-going process that’s affected by a range of factors. Some of these include:

  • The nature of the specific product or service you’re advertising.
  • Your existing brand perception and product lifespan, which we’ll discuss in greater detail later.
  • The mediums and frequency that you’re advertising with.
  • The duration of your existing campaign.
  • The reception of your campaign within your target audience.
  • Your overall goals and expectations.
  • Your budget.

Sound complicated? That’s where expert advice can come in handy. After all, prematurely refreshing a campaign isn’t the best idea. Building brand equity takes time. The longer an advertising campaign remains in play, the more opportunity it has to penetrate the consumer audience.

While not set in stone, there’s an old marketing adage called ‘The Rule of Seven.’ Based on the frequency and duration of your advertising, the rule basically says that prospects need to see or hear your marketing message at least seven times before they take action and buy from you. So while you may have been sick of the Geico Gecko, he was still in the process of building and solidifying brand equity.

On the flip side, waiting too long to refresh your campaign can result in consumer fatigue. Our world is a fickle one, and buyers are often looking for the next best thing. It’s during moments of complacency when a competitor can swoop in with a bigger, better offer and take some of your market share.

So what’s a business owner or marketer to do? Before you refer to your Magic 8 ball, you might want to do some market research and access where you’re at in your product lifespan. What’s a product lifespan? Well, it was a theory introduced in the 1950s to outline the four product life stages. A very (very) condensed version of this theory can be explained as follows:

  • Introduction: This is when a new product/company/service is introduced into the marketplace. At this point, there’s little to no brand equity, so all marketing efforts must be focused on building awareness, product education and establishing familiarity with the target consumer. If you’re at this stage, staying the course of your existing advertising campaign (provided it has relevance and reach with your target audience) is likely the best idea.
  • Growth: As customers become more familiar and comfortable with your products and services, messaging becomes more familiar and brand equity increases. At this stage, your brand is still building momentum and, if performing according to expectations, your advertising campaign should likely remain consistent.
  • Maturity: At this stage, your brand equity is firmly established within your target audience. Maintaining brand loyalty becomes the next marketing challenge. Depending on market research and analysis of existing campaign performance, there may be opportunities to revamp the advertising campaign before consumer fatigue sets in.
  • Decline/Fatigue. If a brand is not revitalized, brand equity can begin to weaken as resonance begins to wane. If you haven’t already revamped your advertising campaign, now may be the best time to take action.

Although no small task, with vigilance, research and market analysis (and a firm understanding of your brand), it can be easier to determine if your advertising campaign has run its course. If you’re still scratching your head, give us a call or drop us a line. We’d be glad to help.

Photo credit: Proctor & Gamble