Effie, Old Spice and The Data Your Data Could Smell Like.

This past week, in addition to three Effie wins, Old Spice won the Grand Effie for its The Man Your Man Could Smell Like campaign. According to the Effie case study, by July of 2010 sales had more than doubled for the body wash vs. the prior year – an all-time high for the brand. And, according to the case study, it had everything to do with the campaign.

That same month – July 2010 – an AdAge article suggested that coupons may be selling more body wash than The Man Your Man Could Smell Like. I know this because I bookmarked it, wanting to come back to it with some hindsight. Hindsight like: This campaign just won the Grand Effie.

So, was this the most effective advertising of the year or a case of coupons accelerating  the growth of a brand in a growing category?

I don’t know. But, as I’ve written many times before, the long run matters. And I fear the AdAge article was falling prey to benchmark-eting, so I’d put my money on the former. That said, I’m not sitting around a conference room table with the folks who could actually know. Neither, it should be noted, were the Effie judges or the AdAge reporter. There is likely truth to both.

The bottom line is that numbers and data are what we make them. So proceed with caution. Don’t ask “what do we know?,” ask “what do I care?” And while simple answers may be comfortable, true success comes in successfully navigating complexity.

Interested in more stuff I find interesting? Follow me @casey_flanagan on Twitter.

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