DENVER, CO, June 11, 2015 – What is a good example of a company in need of marketing research? That question was posed to college-bound students looking to compete in BuyerSynthesis’ first annual $1000 marketing research scholarship. Entries were judged on creativity and humor, originality and intellectual content.
Bank of America’s Tanked Reputation
The judges carefully considered the three top entries. One focused on Bank of America, which purchased Countrywide Mortgage in 2008. At the time, Countrywide financed approximately 20% of all U.S. mortgages, so this purchase placed B of A front and center for the mortgage crisis. The combined entity wrongly foreclosed on many homes, and in 2012 it was considered to have one of the worst reputations in America. This all led one of our entering students to conclude, “Bank of America will benefit from marketing research help because their company has a horrible public image.” Definitely!
And Bank of America no doubt took this same advice, with Chief Strategist Anne Finucane recently saying, “I think that we had an opportunity to look at everything: our employment practices, our CSR (corporate social responsibility) practices, our products, our services. And in each of those instances, I think we took a hard look, simplified and made it better.”
VEET’s Offensive, Hairy Men
On the humorous yet offensive side of things, another entry highlighted VEET’s 2014 video ad campaign showing women in situations where they might have unwanted body hair. In each ad version, they were shown transformed into large, hairy men. The key message was to use VEET hair removal products or “Risk Dudeness”. Our scholarship entry rightly pointed out, “Sexy Sells but Sexism does not.” Again, VEET must have gotten the memo as it took the ads down shortly after they appeared, and created a Facebook apology. Its campaign may have been built on marketing research findings, but the creative application missed the mark.
Major League Soccer Who?
The winning 2015 BuyerSynthesis Marketing Research Scholarship entry, by Devon Rodriguez of Wellington, FL, combined humor, creativity, a current need and some strategic thinking. He reasoned that Major League Soccer needs marketing research to “rebrand, foster public image, and design effective advertisements.” Because, as Devon put it, “Have you heard of them? No worries…neither has anyone else.”
Devon pointed out that the league currently is perceived to have players moving toward retirement after successful careers elsewhere, leading to a less competitive image than other leagues with a U.S. viewing audience. In fact, he mentioned that Barclay’s Premier League, from the U.K., and Liga BBVA from Spain have a larger presence in the U.S. than our own MLS. Devon also felt the US Men’s National Team’s successes in the FIFA (another organization with some image problems) 2014 World in Brazil should be strategically positioned to benefit the MLS, since most of the players play for both.
Devon Matthew Rodriguez showed design flare; effective, humorous writing; strategic thinking; and an ability to imagine what should go on strategically before a brand’s public image comes to life. For these qualities, we congratulate him on winning the $1000 and wish him well on his college career at the University of Florida and goal to own a marketing firm.
ABOUT BUYERSYNTHESIS: Since 2002, BuyerSynthesis has grown into a boutique marketing research company with a small yet smart team that helps clients grow top-line revenue through better understanding their buyers.
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