While Consumers Expect This Year’s Super Bowl Ads to Address Social Issues Costly Mistakes Could Damage Brand Equity

Leflein Associates Unveils Latest Marketing Research Techniques to Advertisers Looking to Align Their Brand with Social Causes

Ringwood, New Jersey, January 30, 2018--– Leflein Associates, a trailblazer in the emerging field of brand receptivity research, is offering its latest insights on social issues and diversity inclusion sensitivities that should be considered during any ad campaign to avoid costly mistakes and improve marketing effectiveness.

“Today, more than ever, companies need to become culturally aware and informed when making advertising decisions about how they portray women and multicultural audiences. By basing creative decisions on data-driven evidence CMO’s can preempt social media disasters and sleep better at night,” said Barbara Leflein, President and CEO of Leflein Associates.

“Recently we’ve seen far too many high-profile mistakes advertisers have made that have cost them dearly through social media backlash. Those are the things we can help our clients avoid by simply taking the time up-front to utilize our methodology and apply it,” she added.

Whether it is racial inequality, immigration or women’s rights, it’s important to explore whether consumers give the brand permission to genuinely support a particular cause. According to a recent study conducted by Leflein and GenForward national survey of 1,816 adults 18-34, 88 percent of millennials cited a social issue they would like brands to bring attention to in their advertising efforts.

Yet, despite millennials’ well documented passion for social causes, two out of five are skeptical, believing that companies only pretend to care or that brands and social issues don’t mix. Brands that do take on a social cause have to tread very lightly, as the study found that 80 percent of millennials said they would take action against the brand whose advertising mishandled a social issue they care most about.

This Sunday, advertisers will pay an average $3.8 Million for a commercial in the Super Bowl, which are big investments with big potential payoffs. These ads, according to a recent article appearing in Advertising Age, will face scrutiny amid the #metoo movement, for how women are portrayed, if included at all.

Brands that want to align themselves with women’s empowerment should note that younger millennial women 18-24 are 21% more likely than men in this age group (58% vs. 48% respectively) to say they would stop purchasing or spread the word to boycott a brand if it mishandled a social issue they were passionate about. “Advertisers are always at risk of making tone deaf mistakes, but a fumble at the Super Bowl can get you benched indefinitely,” Leflein cautioned.

Leflein Associates has developed a measurement technique called a Brand Receptivity Index™ (BRI), a proprietary methodology used for studying how a brand is received by the audience they are looking to reach with their message. When determining if any social cause is appropriate to the brand and whether brand messages are on point, it’s paramount to be sensitive to the perceptions of diverse audiences.

Addressing today’s pressing advertising needs, Leflein Associates is introducing its BRI Workshops for B2C and B2B companies. The Workshops are designed in two to three hour sessions for advertisers interested in connecting with the passions of diverse millennial audiences. These workshops can be tailored to a particular event or need based on the requirements of the client. For more information on arranging a BRI Workshop, go to: www.leflein.com.


Leflein Brand Receptivity Index

About Leflein Associates

Headquartered in Ringwood, New Jersey, Leflein Associates specializes in custom market research, innovation techniques, and advanced analytics. The firm is a 100 percent woman-owned, full-service market research company specializing in branding, PR surveys, global A&U tracking, employee surveys, ad testing and new product ideation in the B2B and B2C sectors.

An award winning research provider, Leflein is on the cutting edge of advertising, business messaging, branding and culture mining. Leflein is located within an hour’s drive from the heart of Manhattan, the media capital of the world. At Leflein, Research Empowers Creativity!

Copyright © 2018 Leflein. All Rights Reserved. All trademarks, trade names, service marks, and logos referenced herein belong to their respective companies.

The GenForward Survey of Millennials is led by Dr. Cathy Cohen from the University of Chicago. It is the first of its kind—a nationally representative survey of over 1,750 young adults ages 18-34 conducted bimonthly that pays special attention to how race and ethnicity shape how respondents experience and think about the world.

The sample from which this data comes includes 1,816 respondents with oversamples of African American, Latino/as and Asian American Millennials. Data was collected from August 31 through September 16, 2017. Contact: Cathy J. Cohen, Founder and Director GenForward, University of Chicago.

Share on Facebook1Share on Google+0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn0

How Millennial Brand Activism Can Hurt Your Bottom Line

A staggering 80% of millennials said they’d take action against a brand whose advertising mishandles a social issue they most care about; 44% would go as far as to stop buying the brand altogether.

These findings are from a recent study conducted by Leflein in partnership with GenForward Survey of Millennials, a nationally representative bimonthly survey out of the University of Chicago.

Now more than ever, brands need to be pre-emptive, investing in ad testing and taking a TMA (Total Marketing Approach) to avoid the time, resources and embarrassment that goes along with having to rehabilitate their image. “Not only do advertisers run the real risk of social media brand activism to an insensitive campaign, a poorly conceived ad can hurt the bottom line,” according to Barbara Leflein, President of Leflein Associates.

Millennials Take Action Against A Tone Deaf Brand

Should Brands Support or Sidestep Social Causes?

This study comes on the heels of last week’s news of Unilever’s Dove Body Wash pulling its latest Facebook ad amidst social outrage over their depiction of a black woman removing her brown shirt to reveal a white woman.

To think, this is still happening in a year of advertising debacles such as Beiersdorf’s Nivea Deodorant “White is Purity” ad and Pepsi’s now infamous Kendall Jenner protest spot, that are tone deaf to the needs and sensitivities of diverse audiences.

Through this research, Leflein wanted to better understand  what the highly diverse millennial population thought about the relationship of brand advertising and social causes.

Other Key Findings

  • Almost all millennials (87%) cited an issue that they would like brands to bring attention to through advertising.
  • Of the 20 social issues tested, racial equality is the number one social cause millennials want brands to support.
  • African American millennials are three times as likely as white millennials to favor brand support of racial equality as their #1 cause (36% vs. 11% respectively).
  • Other top box social issues millennials are interested in seeing attention brought to include global warming (11% total millennials vs. 4% African Americans), immigration (19% among Latinos compared to 3% of whites) and income equality (12% among Asian Americas vs. 7% of whites).

Skepticism for Brands and Social Causes

Considering all the recent misfires, it is not surprising that not all millennials trust brands to tackle social issues in their advertising. Two out of five millennials (40%) are skeptical; believing that companies only pretend to care (23%) or that brands and social issues don’t mix (17%).

Final Word

Only 10% of millennials report that they are more likely to buy products from companies that tackle social issues they care about compared to four times as many saying they wouldn’t buy a brand’s product or service if they mishandled the social cause.

“This data suggests that brands should very carefully consider and test their ads with diverse consumers before embarking on a campaign that grapples with social causes. There’s more to lose from a poorly executed ad campaign than there is to gain from increased sales,” according to Barbara Leflein.

Share on Facebook1Share on Google+0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn0

How Mood Impacts Ad Receptivity: ARF RE!THINK Presentation 2017

Thank you for the taking the time time to play our ad receptivity scratch off challenge!


Leflein Scratch OffContext Effects How Mood Impacts Ad Receptivity

We hope you found our presentation at ARF RE!THINK 2017 exciting and insightful! Please feel free to download the presentation below and reach out to us personally for more information.

We would love to discuss further with you the importance of ad receptivity, and its impact on advertising, programming, and branding objectives.

Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn0

Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn0