You may have heard the radio commercials with Dan Mancini touting his homemade meatballs. But did you hear the one about Mama Mancini’s being a publicly traded company?
Thirty-second spots recently aired on satellite radio during CNBC’s weekly broadcast not only pitching Mama Mancini’s great-tasting meatballs, but alerting potential investors that the company is traded on the OTC (over-the-counter) bulletin board under the ticker symbol MMMB.
A steady stream of “investment” commercials has been hitting the airwaves since the SEC last year loosened its advertising rules for equities and alternative investment vehicles.
Much of this mixing of consumer and investment messaging is a relatively new concept, built on the premise that consumers are investors, too, and vice-versa. It’s not just advertising, either. Some publicly traded restaurant and sporting goods chains have hocked their ticker symbols at checkout.
The challenge is determining whether touting your stock to consumers is worth it, especially if the stock is trading for pennies on the dollar. This could potentially dilute the brand, both from the consumer and investor perspective, and create the perception of a company that is awkwardly trying to find new capital.
Creativity is the key for consumer-facing stocks marketing directly to customers. Executives need to be aware of the impact these ads can have on a company’s brand perception. What happens when the consumer has a bad experience? Is he or she going to hit the investor chat rooms and bash the company?
Allowing consumers to “discover” that a company is publicly traded may have a greater impact and create a more interested investor. If not, consumers may question whether the company is truly interested in them or promoting its stock.
– George Medici, firstname.lastname@example.org