#15 Halo Effects the Holy Grail of Marketing

One of the holy grails of marketing is our desire to manipulate halo effects for advantage. But what is a halo effect? Like Wikipedia, the source of all truths in the 21st century, says, it is the tendency for positive impressions of a person, company, brand or product in one area to influence one’s opinion or feelings in other areas positively. It stretches beyond marketing, in the field of psychology and religion, where apparently the term has its roots.

In advertising, the halo effect is the expectation of an set of attributes known in one field to influence consumer opinion and behavior in another area. Halo effects are the reason why we invest our budgets in celebrities advertising and famous songs soundtracks, or even why we decide to sponsor sporting events despite a consistent negative return on our investment (more on that in a future post).

One of the advantages of having precise measurements of advertising sales impact at Mars is our ability to prove that halo effects exist and have an impact at the point of purchase. Your most recognized product in the brand range will, in case of a great advertising campaign, halo into the less known products – i.e. drive more sales of the products you don’t explicitly advertise. The summit of halo effects is total category halo. Incredibly challenging to execute and plan for, but delivering an excellent kick for multiple brands in the category. The more your brand commands the category, the larger the benefit you are reaping.

As with every other advertising trick, there is no magic bullet. Advertising is a mix of art and science. However, a good recipe of potential success when desiring halo impact is to develop a highly effective advertising campaign. I’ve never seen an ineffective ad create a halo.

When I say George Clooney, which brand comes to mind first?

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