I heard some good business news on TV recently. Since good news is a bit of a novelty, it certainly stands out as memorable these days. Volkswagen reported that it delivered 8.16 million vehicles to customers in 2011, a 14.3% increase over the previous year. That got me thinking. What was the ad that all of America was talking about after the Super Bowl last February? The mini Darth Vader spot for the VW Passat. I'm not saying a six year old kid in the big helmet used the force to sell all those cars, but there is no denying that TV spot increased awareness and created buzz just as great advertising does. I submit to you that there is a connection.
Several years ago I attended the American Advertising Federation National Conference in Louisville, KY. One of the panel discussions featured the Creative Director from major New York ad agency, who had recently worked on the groundbreaking "Natural Beauty" campaign for Dove. That campaign has helped Dove increase sales and boost market share. It also brought a lot of notoriety to the agency because of the truckload of awards it won. The panelist/Creative Director pointed out that it's not surprising to him that the same work that generated results for the client brought accolades to the agency. The great work gets noticed.
Closer to home, the Upper James River Water Trail is a highly successful tourism initiative in Botetourt County, Virginia. We worked with the Office of Tourism to develop a brand identity, website, brochure and ad campaign that has become perhaps the most award-winning project we've ever created. Increased use of the river brings people to Botetourt County to shop in stores, dine in restaurants, stay in hotels and camp in campgrounds, but perhaps the type of business that most accurately reflects the success of the Water Trail is that of the outfitters who run canoe, kayak and tubing trips on the river. One outfitter that we spoke to is very pleased. The Upper James website and ad campaign launched in early Spring of 2010. That season this outfitter experienced a 15% increase over the previous year. In the 2011 season they experienced a second year of extraordinary growth, this time a 20% increase.
What do these three anecdotes teach us? Top quality creative work is effective. It moves the needle on increased sales and visitation and that means an ROI for the client. It really is that simple, folks.