Sweet, sweet data: what New Zealand’s marketers can learn from the makers of the world’s best eclairs

Creative. Innovative. Beautiful. Original. Sublime. Magnificent.

These are some of the words used to describe the eclairs of L’éclair de Génie in Paris, makers of the greatest eclairs in the world. Their eclairs, from glazed mascarpone caramel butter to rose petals and yuzu, and inspired by sources such as Coco Chanel’s little black dress, represent the ultimate in freeform culinary expression.

But the kitchens of L’éclair de Génie are anything but freeform. Measuring cups. Scales. Thermometers. Choux pastry, from which eclairs are made, is one of the most unforgiving of foods. Too much sugar, and the pastry will be soggy. Add the eggs too quickly, and the mixture will soften. If the temperature is too low, the layers will not separate. In other words, a great eclair needs careful planning, skilled judgement and a deep understanding of the medium.

The same is true of the world’s best ads. Creative brilliance is necessary, but is not by itself enough. Great ads are born of a deep understanding of the target audience and an intimate knowledge of how they interact with different media. In other words, an ability to reach the right people at the right time in the right way.

Planners have always focused on this, but the digital age has given them a vastly bigger toolset. Planners can now target specific groups of people, such as ‘wealthy mums in Auckland who are looking to buy a new car’, with a high degree of precision. Creatives can see in real-time which ads people are watching (and which ones they are not). They can even see specifically which parts of their creative people are engaging with.

For example, Holden’s YouTube ad for its new Barina included floating annotations that allowed viewers to click on features they wanted to know more about, such as safety or flexible seating. This gave viewers more information on exactly what they were interested in. But it also gave Holden valuable insights into what people were most interested in learning more about, so the next iteration of the campaign could focus on these.

Oscar Mayer, a Kraft food brand in the US, recently tried an edgy new ad to promote its bacon. It found that searches for its product on Google subsequently went up 2,000 percent. Not only did the data validate the bold and risky creative direction, but it also provided some invaluable insights. For instance, lift in ad recall for women was twice as high as for men. And lift in brand awareness was more than ten times higher for 45-54-year-olds than it was for 55-64-year-olds. Oscar Mayer was able to adjust its audience targeting and media strategy based on these insights in real time, while the campaign was still running.

L’éclair de Génie’s head chef, Christophe Adam, probably doesn’t eat a lot of Oscar Mayer hot dogs. But, like the brand, he is one of the best at what he does because he knows that the most creative ideas in the world are born of measurement, knowledge and understanding.

It’s possible to see what people are searching for on Google for free at google.com/trends. And if Christophe ventured onto that site, he might be surprised to learn that the country that conducts more per capita searches for chocolate eclairs than any other country in the world is in fact New Zealand.

  • Tony Keusgen is the country director of Google New Zealand. www.google-newzealand.blogspot.co.nz
  • This article originally appeared in the November/December edition of NZ Marketing. 

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