NBA, Sprite find more reward than risk with BLM ads, study says

Dive Brief:

  • NBA’s “The Truth is #BlackLivesMatter,” Papa John’s “Delivering Better” and Sprite’s “Together We Can” spots were the top performing recent ads related to the Black Lives Matter movement, according to new research on the topic from Ace Metrix.  
  • All of the top 10 BLM ads earned significantly higher scores than industry averages when assessed on viewers’ general appreciation for an ad, corporate responsibility and empowerment.
  • Culturally-relevant subject matter in ads perform better when brands show how they are making real changes or taking steps to make a difference, per the research

Dive Insight:

The latest report from Ace Metrix comes as more brands have incorporated Black Lives Matter messaging in their ads, as was evident during the BET Awards broadcast on June 28. The findings suggest that Black Lives Matter ads can offer brands more rewards than risk — if done right. 

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Earlier research from Ace Metrix looked at how McDonald’s “One of Us” and Procter & Gamble’s “The Choice” spots waded into risky territory when addressing the Black Lives Matter movement as they were perceived as being somewhat exploitative, even if they were also empowering.

The latest data shows that advertisers can deliver empowering Black Lives Matter messages and do it in a way that comes across as less exploitative. The NBA’s “The Truth is #BlackLivesMatter” spot earned a 691 Ace score, its highest scoring ad ever. Almost half of people interviewed said the core message was the “single best thing” about the video ad.

Papa John’s took a more product-focused approach in its “Delivering Better” ad, which ended by mentioning the brand’s charitable contributions toward fighting racial injustice. Shaquille O’Neal’s presence along with the message were seen as the main elements of the ad’s success. Seventy percent of those surveyed said the spot increased purchase intent. Notably, the ad was the only BLM ad that didn’t trigger any signals on Ace Metrix’s Exploit meter, despite the creative being focused on product.

Sprite’s “The Change” was the most empowering of all of the BLM-themed ads, a ranking the spot earned by highlighting achievements and contributions within the Black community. The spot earned a 4.1 empower score, a rare ranking that only 0.6% of ads have earned, per Ace Metrix.

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