Kim Whitler, Frank M. Sands Sr. Associate Professor of Business Administration at Darden
Areas of Expertise: Marketing strategy, marketing performance and brand management
Favorite Ad: Coca-Cola – “Little Talks”
“I was taught to react first as a consumer,” Whitler said. “From a consumer perspective, I love how this ad makes me feel – it personifies pure joy. I dare you to watch this ad and not feel a little bit lighter, a little bit happier.
“From a strategic perspective, this is an ‘ode’ to Coke. The instruments are largely Coke bottles. The musicians visualize pure, unadulterated joy – which is a core part of the Coke brand essence.
“The essence of this video is ‘joy’ and that has historically been a central part of the Coke brand. I love this ad and regularly use it in class when I talk about branding. Coke is sugar water, yet, the brand stands for joy. That is the power of branding.”
Favorite Current Ad: DuckDuckGo – “Watching You”
“This is an excellent example of how to enter a category with a near-monopoly market leader and effectively attack the position,” Whitler said. “Many of my students have expressed concerns about tech tracking. The DuckDuckGo ad artfully and explicitly addresses this problem and solves it. Better yet, they set up the goliath Google as the ‘creepy’ stalker.
“The strategy is stellar for an insurgent and the execution is quite compelling. Not only does it establish the problem, it demonstrates all of the benefits of using DuckDuckGo. I would love to see the number of new users since they started airing the ad. I’m guessing it is one of the most effective ads at changing behavior this year.”