I once sat at an award show table with a client, actually several clients. On my left sat the president of a major not-for-profit and his VP marketing, who was from the private sector. Both brilliant and dynamic human beings. On my right sat their board chair, who was a distinguished lady who didn’t work (lady who lunches?) but was married to a very successful bank senior executive. She was also a lawyer by training. Lethal combination at the dinner table, finance and law. We were there to accept an award for best business results in our category, and she turned to me during the keynote speech and drawled, “You can’t really prove that advertising affects the bottom line, now can you?”
Yes, I wanted to throttle her… But she wasn’t totally wrong. You can’t prove the causal link between advertising and business results, infallibly.
However, you can show correlation and of course you can apply common sense. If Apple didn’t know that advertising worked, you would never have seen an iPod ad when it first came out. And this from a company whose products “sell themselves”, according to some.
The other day, our client Plan Canada informed us that in December, as a result of the 15,000 e-signatures acquired by the advertising and social media activities of Because I am a Girl, Minister Ambrose of the Canadian Federal Government and the CEO of Plan Canada went down to the U.N. and successfully lobbied for the creation of an International Day of the Girl Child, starting on October 11, 2012. It was unanimously approved by the U.N. The creation of a United Nations “Day” can take a decade or more. They did it in less than two years, with one trip to New York. In other words, one Canadian organization, with an advertising and social media agency, created the leverage that made a miracle happen and is, in the process, changing the world. So how do you like them apples, madame chairman?