Shock And Awe vs Drip And Engage

Have you noticed anything different this year in the hype week leading up to the Super Bowl? The commercials are being aired before the game!

Tradition dictates shock and awe. We don’t break during commercials, but wait eagerly instead—what will the chimps and talking babies do this year? Or, we’re captured by grandeur or deep emotion, like the “Imported by Chrysler” campaign.

Shock and awe (done well) sells. Chrysler 200 shopping on spiked 1619% right after the 2011 game. And led to a record annual sales increase for a U.S. carmaker.

But so did what I call “drip and engage”. Last year, Volkswagen released their commercial in advance—remember the little boy dressed as Darth Vader? It went viral, generated tons of pre-game publicity and a 70% sustained rise in shopping.

2012 gives us a bigger petrie dish to watch since more than half of Super Bowl ads were posted before the game. Are big brand advertisers lemmings or have they created a formula for success?

We’ll know soon. But we’ve already seen that both strategies can work if they are brand-consistent and well-executed.

The same is true for your brand.

Just because you aren’t spending $3.5 million on your message doesn’t mean the stakes aren’t high.

So what will it be?

Shock and awe? Drip and engage? Or both?


  • I believe in getting and keeping people’s attention, building and sustaining a relationship and reaping the benefits that follows. The shock and awe often reflects how others see your work compared to others; how you do what you do. A client recently shared how impressed he was seeing me “operate” in two rather public situations. At the same time, the quality of the work product matters and that reflects more drip and engage. My use of social media reflects the drip and engage approach. My more public interactions follow the shock and awe approach where the focus is more on me. As a result, I model towards a where I become the brand.

  • Hi Corey,
    Your approach makes so much sense. I’m a big fan of integrating the two and varying the delivery to fit with our true value to clients. You ARE the brand!

  • Rochelle,
    Thank you!

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