Why CMOs keep getting fired.

The Kelly Award winners book came out last week, with a lot of nice ads, including a bitchin’ campaign for Oral B dental floss. An ad which I doubt ever ran except maybe once in Dental Floss Gazette because nobody, not even BBDO, can talk P&G into buying a 2-page spread to advertise dental floss. Without a word of body copy.

But I digress. All award shows have fake ads. But this award, like the Effie, is supposed to be tied to business results. Which is a bigger opportunity to game the system than submitting ads that never ran.

The “Results” for the Oral B campaign, just to pick one example, were described this way:

Exceeded awareness goals.

When did awareness become a business goal for a 100-year-old brand?

Here’s another squishily soft result, for Liberty Mutual’s “Responsibility” campaign:

Improved attitudes toward brand by 9%.

I love this campaign. It actually manages to find common ground between the needs of the insurer and the needs of the insured, which is no easy feat. And it’s beautifully executed (the TV and online even more than the print). But “improved attitudes toward brand by 9%”? That’s a pretty low performance bar since you’re starting from 0% approval. (It’s insurance, remember?)

Speaking of low bars, Duncan Donuts’ campaign to launch a new line of Smoothies purportedly boosted weekly sales 250%. Pretty impressive result until you reflect upon the fact that this is a new product introduction. So the weekly sales results prior to launch were…zero.

I wouldn’t want to explain these kinds of results to my CEO if he or she had half a brain.
Is it any wonder CMOs have the life expectancy of a mayfly?

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