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Hopefully Your Brand Didn't Air With Cyrus
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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If you are living and breathing in the United States, you heard about Miley Cyrus' antics on the VMAs. Apparently it was shocking enough for every news outlet (and blog, obviously) to cover it.

Whether you think it was a little over the top or not, it is clear that many people had an opinion about it. And for brands that were advertising around it, that is a cause to worry about. 

Why is that, you ask? It deals with the emotional state of the viewer.

A while ago we highlighted a study about how people viewed advertisements during a football game if it was a blowout, boring, or extremely close. The ads that aired during an extremely competitive game were deemed more favorable than those during boring games and blowouts. There is no significant data to conclude that betters ads are aired during more competitive games, so we must read the data that the more entertaining the game was, the more people gave a "halo effect" to the ad.

In essence, consumers think, "If the game was a good one, and the ad aired during that awesome game, the ad must not have been that bad."

If we apply this thinking to the recent events, and if we assume that the wide disapproval means that people didn't actually enjoy the "entertainment," then the ads that aired during the time slot should not be favorably recalled. But here is where the research gets tricky. Though the news of the event sounds negative, it definitely seems to be memorable. Could it then give the ads that aired a recollection bump? The "Miley Bump"?

It remains to be seen, but this kind of qualitative data would be very interesting to examine. Because if the tried-and-true method holds, it would make sense for media buyers to avoid stages or airspots where something perceptively damaging could hurt the brand. But, if the opposite rings true, we will see more money being spent during events where outrageous acts are bound to occur.

We shall see.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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