How much would you pay for these sunglasses?

unbranded sun glasses

How about these?

Chanel sun glasses

What’s the difference?

Both pairs accomplish the same thing – they shield your eyes from sunlight. Yet, the first pair can be picked up at a gas station for $8.99 and the second pair is sold only at select stores for over $300.

Why would anyone pay THAT much more money for almost the same thing?

When surveyed, luxury brand buyers will say that they justify the difference in price because it is supported by a brand.

In a survey, when asked, “What do you associate with the Chanel brand?” People said:

  • luxury
  • class
  • expensive
  • exclusive
  • overpriced
  • top-of-the-line
  • heritage
  • fashion

The associations we have with the brand are not random. They are carefully groomed by promotional efforts which may include all or a combination of the following:

  • advertising
  • personal selling
  • public relations (PR)
  • direct and digital marketing

Strong brands are created and supported by strong promotion. And in this case, the Chanel brand is supported by the powerful promotional mix from the Chanel Fashion House, which convinces the consumer to spend over $300 for an item they could have for just $8.99.

Here are some other great examples of how successful brands use promotional tools to attract and retain customers.


In marketing, any paid form of non-personal (meaning not person-to-person) presentation of ideas, goods, and services is considered to be advertising. Traditional advertising methods include print, billboards, TV and radio commercials, flyers, posters.





Paid Media

Paid media is very expensive. Every time a 30-second commercial plays during Sunday Night Football, the company pays the TV network $627,000. A 30-second spot during Big Bang Theory costs $325,000 and during Super Bowl…Are you ready for this? $4.5-$5 million!!

Is it worth it? The answer is IT DEPENDS.

It depends on how well the aired message is supported by other marketing efforts. For example, Doritos runs a contest on social media for the best idea for a Doritos ad that will run during the Super Bowl. Millions of people participate (marketers call this brand engagement). Doritos narrowed down the submissions to the top 10 and turned these back to social media. This time Doritos brand followers got to choose THE best one.

The winner’s idea was professionally produced and aired during the Super Bowl. Last year’s winner got a prize ($1 million) and a job at Universal Studios (not bad!). But that’s not all. Super Bowl commercials are the most-watched ads of the year. Many people engage in social media when they see a cool ad during the game. They like, post, share, and comment for weeks after the event. More importantly, the phones start ringing at the company and the sales increase dramatically for a period of time (up to 80% in some cases). If a company is able to orchestrate this kind of coordinated effort, the results are impressive and the expense is justified. Supported by print, radio, and in-store promotions, Doritos ad is a part of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) – a method where all components of Promotional Mix work together and complement each other to drive sales and brand equity.

Emerging Trends in Promotion

Advertainment (no it’s not misspelled)

If you have children under the age of 14 (especially boys), chances are you have seen the Lego Movie  – the perfect example of product placement entertainment or advertainment. The whole 100-minute movie is one, an engaging commercial for Lego bricks!

If you look closely at your favorite TV shows and programs, you will see product placement everywhere.

In this screenshot of the House of Cards, the Netflix original series, every red arrow points to an Apple product.

Apple products in House of Cards

Product placement is not new 007 drives a BMW or an Austin Martin (depending on the year) and wears a Rolex watch; Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City wears Manolo Blahnik high heels.

Today, because of increased streaming and new technologies that allow us to skip commercials on live TV, advertisers have to be more creative in finding ways to put their products in front of our eyes. And it works! Every time the WaterRower machine appears on House of Cards, Google searches for the product go through the roof, and sales increase (Wall Street Journal article) (Links to an external site.)

A more interesting way to engage a consumer and encourage them to purchase your product is event sponsorship. Companies like GoPro and RedBull connect with their customers (and sell a lot of products) during events they sponsor – BMX bike races, surfing competitions.

Red Bull’s famous sponsorship of Space Jump (Red Bull Stratos 2012) drew 8 million views!

The idea here is to get the consumer to associate your brand with excitement (Red Bull), or good content (GoPro), or family pass time (Coke and Little League Baseball). Consumers have to be exposed to the company’s message (brand) at least 3 times to react and at least 7 times to act. Every time a brand is in front of consumers’ eyes, brand equity is strengthened and promotion has a higher chance of resulting in a purchase.