Monday, February 7, 2022

The Interdependence of Advertising, Storytelling, and Branding

Over the last 13 years, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege to meet a variety of amazing marketing, leadership, and customer experience experts. One of these experts is Angela Jeffrey from Dallas, Texas. Angela read my post following last year’s Super Bowl and contacted me. We recently discussed marketing and advertising, and highlights follow below Angela’s bio.

Angela Jeffrey is an internationally known speaker and national award-winning veteran of public relations, advertising, and marketing. She has been a teacher and leader in the use of metrics to measure communications impact for over 20 years, especially at the intersection of PR and Advertising. She is responsible for all marketing efforts at Advertising Benchmark Index (ABX) and for projects that involve PR or social media measurement. Prior to joining ABX, Angela was Strategy Director at Salience Insight (now CARMA), a global provider of PR effectiveness measurement. Previously, she was a Vice President at Surveillance Data, Inc., an international analytics powerhouse specializing in predictive modeling. She continued as a key leader upon the sale of her division to VMS and helped develop Vantage with Gary Getto (President of ABX), the first platform to measure the combined impact of PR and Advertising. Connect and follow on LinkedIn at, and visit ABX’s website at and ABX’s Blog at

QUESTION: In February 2021, I wrote a Blog post about the Super Bowl ads and referenced one of your company’s posts (that you wrote) from 2020. (Links are included below.) What is it about Super Bowl advertising that attracts so much attention from the media, football fans, and people around the world?

(My post:
(Angela's post:

As Michael Wolfe, CEO of Bottom-Line Analytics, wrote, the attraction and value of Super-Bowl advertising has always been its huge audience and high ratings.  But with the cost of a Super Bowl ad in 2020 reaching $58,000 per million impressions, coupled with a declining audience, one wonders if it’s worth it.

Apparently, it is, if for no other reason than the good will and PR hoopla that surrounds each Super Bowl advertiser. In the article, Wolfe discovered that the impact a Super Bowl ad has isn’t just during the game, but actually spikes ad effectiveness for the brand well beyond in some kind of halo benefit.  

Judging the creative effectiveness of Super Bowl ads has become a national sport, especially with the media and social media. Super Bowl is likely the only time of year ads are viewed with eagerness and judgement. It’s a game unto itself.

Finally, one more reason why brands buy into the Super Bowl is to showcase how much they support women. Female presence in Super Bowl ads has risen enormously over the past five years.

QUESTION: What brands do you think are doing a good job with their advertising and/or marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic? Please share examples.

Our company measured 1,451 television and video ads since Covid began in the spring of 2020. In April 2020, ABX found that ads with COVID-related content performed better than non-COVID-related ads by a full +175%. Gratitude for first responders played well at the beginning of the crisis and continues to this day. Consumers would be wise to seek out brands that have made commitments to protecting them through cleanliness, social distancing, and wearing masks.

McDonald’s achieved the highest ABX Index of any Covid-related ads starting in the Spring of 2020 and continuing through the present. It’s a simple ad showing a McDonald’s worker changing signage text to convey the message that “Through May 5, we’ll be feeding First Responders and Healthcare Workers Thank You Meals, for free.”

Subway used that same type of strategy, focused on food donations for those in need.

Like McDonald’s and Subway, Amazon’s advertising has had remarkable staying power since Spring of 2020 until now. Amazon’s ad focuses on the exceptional work of its employees to help others through the pandemic, this time with a female pilot.

QUESTION: According to Laura Holloway, Founder and Chief of The Storyteller Agency (@StorytellerAgcy on Twitter), “Storytelling is our obligation to the next generation. If all we are doing is marketing, we are doing a disservice, and not only to our profession, but to our children, and their children. Give something of meaning to your audience by inspiring, engaging, and educating them with story. Stop marketing. Start storytelling.” What does this quote mean to you?

I’d like to invite Gary Getto, President of ABX, to comment.

Gary Getto: The best ads are “problem-solution.” If a client elevates the problem, painting a clear enough picture, he has established the first part of the story. The product, then, becomes the hero. My thoughts are based on measuring 250,000 TV, video, radio, print, FSI and OOH ads in 14 countries.

The brand has to be the hero of your story. Too often, we tell a story that isn’t related to a category or a customer need, and then mention the brand too late, perhaps, in an effort of appearing subtle. When that happens, customers don’t know who the ad is for and get angry at the brand. Bottom line, don’t get so overwhelmed in storytelling that you are unable to create an ad that works.

TWEET THIS: The brand has to be the hero of your story. –Gary Getto, President @ABXindex #BrandStorytelling #BrandExperience #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: If you could predict the future, what marketing trend, marketing buzzword, or social platform will we be talking about a year from now?

Gary Getto, President of ABX, offered a surprising answer to this question: “Faith.” When the world is falling apart, and the problems just keep piling on, people rely on faith, or on others with faith. This is not predicting any particular kind of faith, but it would likely be based on principles, such as, truth and honesty, and would encourage treating others well. We will see this trend intensify.

QUESTION: My favorite marketing quote is from Walter Landor: “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.” What does this quote mean to you?

Gary Getto: Brands are created in everything the product does, from conception to build-out to delivery to customer service and to the entire relationship. It is the whole gestalt, which ultimately makes you experience far beyond just what the brand or product provides. It’s everything about your experience interfacing with the product.

TWEET THIS: Brands are created in everything the product does, from conception to build-out to delivery to customer service and to the entire relationship. –Gary Getto, President @ABXindex #BrandExperience #DebbieLaskeysBlog

My thanks to Angela for sharing her insights – and also Gary’s insights.

Coming up next week here on my Blog: my annual review of the Super Bowl ads. Which brand are you most looking forward to?

Image Credit: Dustin Humes via Wordswag app.

1 comment:

  1. Debbie - this is a marvelous blog, so well done with your insightful questions! Thank you for including in your story! We will be tweeting out your links and we hope our responses have been helpful to others. You are a wonderful writer. All the best, Angie Jeffrey


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