Industry Insights
by: Lois Fearne
May 15, 2024
3 min read

The Marketing Pulse: May 2024

Explore the marketing takeaways from this month’s top campaigns across the UK and US, including Apple’s “Crush” ad, McDonald’s Mental Health initiative, and KFC’s summer campaign.

In the fast-paced marketing world, staying ahead requires more than just keeping up—it requires leading the pack with campaigns that truly resonate.

Welcome back to The Marketing Pulse, where we leverage the OnePulse platform to deliver real-time consumer insights from the United Kingdom and the United States. Let’s decode the latest ads and learn what works in today’s dynamic market.

Apple: “Crush”

Apple’s latest “Crush” ad for its thinnest iPad sparked mixed reactions from Pulsers and creative professionals globally.

  • Balance innovation with tradition: With a near-even split in perceptions (26% positive vs. 28% negative), marketers must balance the excitement of innovation with the familiarity of tradition. Highlighting new products as enhancements rather than replacements can improve reception.

  • Emotional intelligence is key: The ad’s depiction of transforming traditional creative tools into a modern iPad Pro evoked strong emotions, from sadness to disapproval. Understanding your audience’s emotional landscape is crucial. Prioritise emotional resonance to deepen connection and engagement.

McDonald’s x Leo Burnett x Ready10: “The Meal”

For Mental Health Awareness Week, McDonald’s removed the iconic smiles from its Happy Meal boxes to encourage families to discuss varying emotions.

  • Authenticity and long-term commitment are critical: 42% of Pulsers see McDonald’s as more responsible due to this campaign. Yet, nearly one-third still view the effort as promotional. Genuine engagement in social issues is essential, with 1 in 3 Pulsers believing genuine involvement in social issues requires sustained commitment, not a one-off marketing campaign.

  • Communication enhances impact: The subtle change in the Happy Meal box design led 34% to feel it was too understated without the accompanying video ad. Pair subtle messages with clear communication to ensure your audience grasps and engages with your campaign.

Other marketing learnings this month (…so far!)

  • KFC’s recent campaign embraced stereotypes of a British … wet, soggy summer… to promote its Ultimate BBQ Burger. 32% of Brits say stereotypes in ads enhance the ad by making it more relatable.

  • Budweiser Brazil has transformed songs that mention its brand into targeted ads on Spotify, seamlessly integrating them into the listening experience without disrupting it. 28% are open to more brands doing the same…  if it’s done well.

  • Heineken is investing £39m in more than 600 of its pubs in the UK, a move it says will bring 62 back from the dead. 54% of Brits are likelier to visit a new pub knowing it has the backing of a major brand like Heineken.

Stay tuned for more reactions to ads and marketing takeaways dropping this May!

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