The devilish allure of Lucky Saint

What makes a good ad? This month, we’ll be investigating how conclusions around success can only be reached with a balance of two things – measurement and context. At first glance, this tongue-in-cheek advert from Lucky Saint doesn’t stand out within our database of static ads, scoring below the average across a multiple of our BEACON metrics. However, a closer analysis of the data reveals that this ad actually performs very strongly among its core category audience of 0% beer drinkers, and elements that risk being confusing or polarising to a broader demographic (i.e., the use of religious imagery) do, in fact, drive positive sentiment among those already accustomed to the brand’s distinctive personality.

B – Building Brand Associations

E – Stir Emotions and Engage

A – Grab Attention

C – Be Credible

O – Inspire Optimism

N – Nail the message

Image source: The Drum

As well as serving as an important watch-out around using more daring content when speaking to the general public, the variation in scores raises an interesting question around how successful this ad should be considered within our BEACON database. Of course, ‘success’ is relative to the campaign’s specific objectives, but what’s the balance between speaking to your current customer base without putting off new potential buyers?

The gen pop’s verdict: 

The performance of this ad amongst a gen pop audience is underwhelming, particularly when compared with the metric-smashing Heineken ‘Don’t drink’ creative. 

Looking across our BEACON metrics, we can see that this ad doesn’t stand out in terms of building brand association (B) or grabbing attention (A), with only 31% describing the branding as ‘very clear’ (-24% below the database average) and few feeling any design aspects actually boost brand clarity (e.g., only 16% feel the colours help clarify the brand vs. 68% for the Heineken ad).

Additionally, a relatively high percentage feels the advert doesn’t stir much emotion (E), with 37% describing it as ‘boring’ (+15% above the database average), and scores around inspiring optimism are unimpressive (i.e., only 21% think this advert encourages people to recommend the brand vs. 40% for the Heineken ad). However, these numbers simply provide interesting insights, rather than condemning the ad as unsuccessfully ‘boring’ – it’s Lucky Saint. It’s a conservative, 0% brand, which is leaning into its reserved nature. Content must always be considered in conjunction with success frameworks.

0% beer drinkers verdict:

However, when we look at the performance of this ad among regular 0% beer drinkers, the picture looks quite different.

The Lucky Saint’s branding/imagery is seen as much more distinctive and recognisable to this audience, with 47% agreeing it’s ‘very clear’ who this advert is for, and a further 43% agreeing the colours help you identify it’s for Lucky Saints. Additionally, emotional scores are much stronger with this audience, with the use of religious imagery a strong driver for metrics like ‘interesting’ (47%) and ‘funny’ (50%):

‘Quirky, like how it represents the brand name and can have a laugh.’

‘I think it’s a clever play on words.’

‘Quite amusing. I liked the idea of the nun being tempted.’

Ultimately, this contrast is best summarised with the overall sentiment question, with those already aware of Lucky Saint overwhelmingly positive (44% love/like the ad, 9% hate/dislike the ad), and the general pop much more mixed (20% love/like the ad, 25% hate/dislike the ad).

What can we take away from this? 

In our view, dissecting the performance of this ad sheds light on some useful reflections and watch-outs when trying to determine how successful a creative is.

Firstly, it will always be an uphill battle for a fairly niche brand to grab the attention of a broader demographic by deploying a monochromatic colour scheme and abstract branding assets, especially within a crowded category. Bold, provocative imagery may resonate with your base but could be equally as polarising or off-putting to those that don’t ‘get’ it, and attract the wrong type of attention or even PR. These are important considerations when trying to balance communicating to your base versus broadening your target audience, and a framework like BEACON can help to unpick this or potential issues that might arise from a new campaign idea. 

Ultimately, this serves as a handy reminder that ad ‘success’ is relative to a campaign’s specific objectives and target audience; if Lucky Saint wants to broaden their message to a wider market with this ad, we’d say it’s been unsuccessful. However, if they mainly want to speak to those already aware of their product and re-affirm their playful and disruptive brand personality, we’d say it’s on the money. Cheers!