Thursday, October 13, 2011

Welch Decides Less is More.


After running a very successful campaign featuring food expert Alton Brown, Welch’s 100% Grape Juice has decided to try a different approach.  While Alton’s scientific approach was a big hit with highly-health conscious consumers (sales rose 20% when the campaign ran) it did not resonate with average moms.

Instead, post campaign research showed that most moms were looking for simple solutions to keep their families happy and would tune out if messaging was too complicated and clinical. (Lukovitz, 2011)
I am reminded of a story Malcolm Gladwell told about Sesame Street in his book Blink.  He made the point that children will stick with a story until it begins to bore them.  I remember thinking that it was probably the same with adults.

Do you agree?  Do you watch long form videos on the net, and make it all the way to the end?  Have you ever read all the body copy in a print ad?  Or do you prefer the 140 character limitation of Twitter?

Lukovitz, K. (2011, October 7) Welch’s Simplifies Its Benefits Messaging.  Retrieved October 12, 2011, from


  1. Personally, I deconstruct every single advertisement I see. I read all the fine print, and I study magazine pictures for hours on end trying to come up with similar concepts. I'm not reminiscent of average Americans. They want the "it's magic" explanation and don't stop to think why the hamburger looks so good on TV as opposed to when you actually get it at Burger King. Having recently started a twitter for my side business, I feel very hindered by the "word count." I'm a writer first and a definite talker second. If I'm on a roll, I enjoy the ability to keep going without having to conform to a set of guidelines. I always hated haiku for this reason.

    Pertaining to this campaign, as soon as I saw the product, I remembered back to the campaign that I grew up with:

    Welch's "kids know" campaign featuring various children talking directly to the [mother/buyer] about what what made the juice the preferred choice always spoke directly to me. If you watch the daytime advertising targeted at stay at home moms/dads, these ads are usually very concise, not filled with lots of facts, and skewed toward femininity or children. In short, Alton Brown would be a huge turnoff, while the "cute kid from Lil Rascal's" would resonate with a mother; especially one who forgot to buy juice!

  2. I agree with Josh, I do not think the issue with this ad is with the concise message, but with the overall message found in this advertisement. It might have been successful with health conscious people but it fails to address the family audience; which has always been their core demographic. Alton Brown's commercial is informative but he is not a family man and it is unrealistic to assume he would be able to connect with American families.

    As for the real question, I personally hate the character limitation in Twitter. I had an account for a while but I rarely use it anymore. Twitter obviously has been very successful but the limitations created by the site have also forced people to be more conscientious of their wording and I normally think that a person’s opinion loses its value when written on Twitter. Having said that, I honestly do not believe that most Americans would agree with me and if a company wants to appeal to a wide range of people then a short sweeping argument would probably achieve the best results.

  3. Wait! Most of us tune out if messaging is too complicated or clinical? You don’t say. I find this to be true just as long as I’m is not selling surgical equipment to a doctor of medicine.

    Look, I am no fan of Twitter but I get the 140-character thing. As both a writer and a salesman, I understand that people have short attention spans. We all do. Plus, we’re all really busy and there’s a lot going on in the world, especially in urban areas.

    That’s why agencies whittle the marketing down into tiny, bite-sized pieces of easily digestible information: small enough to cut through the clutter, but big enough to make you buy the butter.

    English professors teach that if you can say the same thing in fifteen words that you can say in three, opt for the latter. This is the golden rule in all writing, actually, even ad writing.

    I feel that Advertising Copywriting is a sort of sales poetry, in a way. Ad writers don’t use big words or long sentences, for the most part. Some do in austere circumstances, but many use minimal language to paint the bigger picture.

    In sales, they teach you to dumb it down. So, instead of using jargon like “5 to 12 megabit per second downloads” a cell phone salesman might say, “blazing fast speeds” when discussing the quickness of a cellular network. The salesman and the copywriter are one in the same.

  4. Actually I agree with this. I am the person who doesn't read through wordy articles all the way down to the end. I've never read all the small letters on the ad. I think simple but impressive ad is more effective. In the same context, that is why Twitter is being preferred and so popular. However, if it's too contracted, it could bring misunderstandings or omitting critical information. In addition, these days it is overflowing with tons of tweets, so an ad could be ignored easily.
    Let me give you an example. When it comes to car commercials, many of car companies try to deliver as many features as they can in short commercials. However, when we see the recent commercial of Volks Wagen, we only can see a kid with Darth Vader mask struggling with moving objects without touching and his father who makes his son feel powerful by using the remote key. What a humorous and impactive ad it is! It is not full of words, but it definitely delivers great image of Volks Wagen. If you want to make your ad effective, make it brilliantly short!

  5. I think that every approach has its niche, and when it comes to advertising being laconic usually pays off. Twitter scares me and I hate the idea of limiting my no doubt fascinating thoughts, but most consumers are not looking for verbosity. Alton Brown's scientific explanations clearly resonated with a certain community, but it's completely understandable why they were lost on the average mother (which is not to say that mothers can't be health-conscious consumers interested in science! But if a woman who is the target of this advertising is in charge of the family's grocery shopping, she likely doesn't have time to stop and dissect every ad).

    If I were a mother juggling food shopping, choosing nutritious food for my children, and more likely than not, a job - which, of course, begs the question of where the fathers are and why they are not aiding with the food purchasing, but that's a different discussion - I would very much appreciate an advertisement that very simply broke down for me why something is healthful ("100% juice" sounds good enough) while providing me with consumer insight like pointing out that kids love it too.

    -Anya Bochman

  6. Personally I really dont watch long videos till the end unless there's something that's very exciting. For me an Ad should be short, sweet and right on point. It saves time and gets the message across. However the Ad should provide all relevant information about the product and not be misleading.

    For print ads I do read the fine print when the ad seems to be too good to be true. Most of the times the fine print is the deal breaker. There is always a condition which makes the offer "fizz-less."

    I agree with the ad reference Ji mentioned above the ad is simply great and delivers a great message.

    So in all, the ad should be appealing to the consumers and making them want to try out the product. After all that's the whole purpose.

  7. Personally, I don't am not one to read the whole ad or listen to the whole commercial. I rarely even read a whole newspaper article (which is probably why I get most of my news from twitter). I prefer just to hear the gist or read the boldface...if that interests me, MAYBE I'll read the rest or pay attention to the whole ad...but I'd probably just skim it. If it ever came a time when I was interested in that product, I'd seek out the information myself and then pay attention.

    When doing advertising, whether in print or on TV, the viewer is usually only passively absorbing your ad. I believe one's short term memory span is only about 8 seconds before going on to doing something else, switching thoughts, or looking away. Keeping this in mind, maybe its just better to get to the point.

    - Catherine D.

  8. I very much agree with Galdwell's assertion. I am always telling my friends that I have the attention span of a 5 year old because if I am not immediately drawn in by something I tend to zone out and not pay attention. In terms of advertising I almost never stop to look at ads unless there is something interesting/innovative about the product or the ad itself or if there is a celebrity I particularly like otherwise I just keep flipping until I reach an article I find interesting. I just recently got a twitter but I have always looked at other peoples tweets because I like how concise they are. In a few mins I can look at many different yet important thoughts.

    Going back to the Welch's advertisement I agree with what has already been discussed by the people above me. I have seen this tv ad and always felt it was too sciencey for a tv ad. I can see how many working mothers might find the add confusing or get lost in the jargon.

  9. Since I am a student of marketing and advertising, I do usually read an entire print ad or SOMETIMES watch an entire ad video on the internet for the sole purpose of learning. I wouldn't usually watch the video or read the entire ad if it didn't interest me. Both children and adults alike don't want to pay attention to something that doesn't interest them. Why should they?

    I think short, concise, straight to the point messages makes it easier for businesses to get their points across not only because of peoples attention spans but also because everyone seems to be extremely busy nowadays and they don't have the time to read or watch something in full.

    I also question why Welch's 100% Grape Juice decided to target the average mom after running a successful campaign. If their sales grew by 20% why wouldn't they keep on the same track and try to increase their sales even more by targeting the highly-helth conscious consumer if it is already working for them?

  10. Print Ads...I travel on foot, more than surfing and communicationg, on the web. Print ads are every where, always grab my attention. I read the entire print, before judging the ad. Twitter, never that. Since a child, i've been an addict for Welch's. It's a great 100% juice, with a lite taste of wine. My mother kept it on the shelf. Today, it's still my favorite grape juice. Todays Moms, may not agree with the price. Watching Welch's video ad, may not be worth it.

  11. In the advertising business a catchy phrase will always catch my eye. If I am interested in it I will give it more attention. There have been instances where I have read the entire body copy in a print ad. This is usually where they give you the details you might need for instance certain terms that might apply.

    Susan D

  12. In an age where attention spans are low and on-demand information is expected, advertisements must be able to cater to their audience's new needs. Like the children Gladwell refers to, I can also have a very low attention span and get bored with material on television, in print, and online. Ads with a clear and concise message will always have my attention over any ad that takes more effort to experience, regardless of it's media.

    Ben K.