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Bad Data Diary- Mars Declined Candy Cameo in E.T.

 Join us as we analyze memorably misinformed business decisions in our “Bad Data Series.” We’ll explore the many ways the wrong social analytics solution, offering inaccurate insight, could result in brands misunderstanding potential market opportunities. And missing out on category-defining moments in time.

Mars is the second in our series. We’ll share what happens when brands don’t fully vet an opportunity and miss out on something amazing.

Product Placement Priority Mars Missed

Product placement in movies has been around as long as movies, for the most part. It has been tracked back 100 years ago to 1919. In “The Garage – a short 25 minutes comedy starring Buster Keaton and Roscoe Arbuckle,” we see a super clear (and roundly criticized) bit of product placement. There’s a ZEROLENE oil as well as a Red Crown Gasoline advertisement evident:

first film with product placements in it

Nowadays, product placement in movies and tv shows has become a given – and something harshly criticized when overdone.

But it still works on a subliminal level. Or at least, that’s the thinking. And subliminal or not, and whether they actually work on not (which is questionable), Reese’s Pieces experienced a major uplift in sales after its partnership with E.T.

“Hershey’s agreed to spend $1 million on promoting E.T. for the ability to use the extra-terrestrial being in their advertising. It has been reported that Reese’s Pieces saw a 65% jump in profits only two weeks after the movie premier.”

Reese's Pieces in ET, the opportunity Mars missed

Reasons for the Disconnect

And this was an opportunity that Mars missed out on. One that seems almost unbelievable in hindsight. But, as Snopes points out – the candy maker could’ve made this error in judgment for any number of reasons:

  • They may have already met their marketing budget for the year.
  • Or maybe they were approached by someone who wasn’t Spielberg. And they were unimpressed by the person making the offer, or with the offer itself.
  • But it could have just been a complete undervaluation of the potential of the film. And that’s were social analytics would come in (today).

This was back in 1982, before we had all of this amazing online data to offer real-time consumer insight, of course. So not having this intel available back then to inform their decision, makes the mistake a lot more understandable.

But there are companies today making similar mistakes. And they’re mistakes that have little excuse to not be based on readily available (and super accurate) social insight. Let’s see how it looks and what Mars would’ve been capable of, had they had Next Generation AI-powered analytics informing them ahead of making this fateful decision!

How Social Analytics Could’ve Helped Mars

Social media analytics offers insight around a wide array of data points. It tells businesses everything they could possibly need to know about their consumers. This is possible because NetBase’s advanced social analytics capabilities capture structured and unstructured data sources from social media platforms, review sites, forums, blogs, news sites, CRM data and so much more. And then it aggregates and analyzes it, creating a complete consumer picture to inform strategy.

NetBase’s advanced social analytics capabilities capture structured and unstructured data sources to inform insight

Brands are able to make important decisions around marketing campaigns and partnerships, which is super relevant here. And they’re also able to understand how to best engage with consumers, where they are in the purchase funnel and how to move that needle to transform potential into actual clients. It all depends on where they are in the customer journey!

One way this could be done is through exploring category demographics.

Audience Demographics

Mars could have reviewed the age breakdown of its audience for this particular product (or its candy as a whole). With it, they would have understood that, yes – maybe its youngish crowd would be likely to watch an adorable alien movie.

For example, here we see the demographics around “Christmas List,” with all ages weighing in. And can see the percentage of various age ranges for this topic:

Age demographics Mars could use today when making ET-type decisions

Or looking again at demographics, but focusing on interests, Mars could have seen that its audience was trending fairly high for movies or other related activities. And that, undoubtedly, would have encouraged them to explore the potential partnership a bit more in-depth.

Again, using our “Christmas List” topic example (as the season is almost upon us!), we see “shopping” trending rather high, and some interesting others, including Literature.

Audience interests that could inform Mars' strategy today

Moving beyond general to specific, we can see what, exactly, this Christmas List audience is saying about literature. Much like Mars would have seen what its audience was saying about its candy in the context of going to the movies:

moving from general to specific with audience insight

And demographics are far from the only insight to explore here. There’s also the social analytics index to consider, and geographical data as well.

Understanding What & Where

This enables brands to see which terms, #hashtags, emojis and things are being talked about the most, as compared to overall online conversation:

Using social analytics index to see whata terms, hashtags and more an audience is talking about

And knowing what is being said is great – but having insight around where in the world the conversation is happening is even better!

And coupled with the mind-blowing intel from above (and there’s always something revealed as brands explore), there’s AI Studio’s automated theme discovery to tap into:

AI Studio automated theme discovery

Being able to click into the data and explore what the insight reported is based on, is a key differentiator for NetBase. We do this because it proves our commitment to providing transparent, best-in-class accuracy. And the results speak for themselves, which is something brands need in this fast-paced marketing age.

Because there are just so many consequences brands face when they’re using bad data. Don’t miss out on the next E.T. opportunity. It happens.

In our first post in the series, we discussed Blockbuster’s ill-advised decision to not buy Netflix and its resulting demise. Be sure to check that one out too – and check back for more in our Bad Data Diaries series in the coming weeks.

If you’d like a demo of the many ways NetBase helps brands avoid bad data disasters, please reach out. We’re happy to show you the amazing things our solution can do!

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