Obsession and excellence fed into a JPMorgan Chase creative spot. WARC's Geoffrey Precourt explores how the ad favoured feelings over metrics.

Know this about Kristin Lemkau, JPMogan Chase’s CMO: “I'm customer-obsessed,” she told delegates at Advertising Week 2018 in New York.

“But our products are not products that everybody can buy, like makeup. Brand awareness is not a KPI [key performance indicator]. Our brand awareness is 99%. That's not going to be your purpose of JPMorgan Chase [advertising]. I'm customer-obsessed, and I want to get to customer-level personalization.”

And know this about Serena Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion who came back to the US Open in the late summer after the birth of her first child and an extended hiatus from the courts: “In my own life, I continue to raise my voice and invoke change whenever possible, not only in tennis but across all industries ... [to] bring my perspective and experience as a woman, a mother, an athlete, an entrepreneur, and a black woman to the table.”

Droga5, the agency, tapped into the passion of Lemkau and the courageousness of Williams to produce a “Mama Said Knock You Out” spot that ran as the latest evidence of a 39-year partnership between Chase and the Forest Hill tennis competition:

Why did Lemkau sign off on an ad that didn’t support a product, didn’t encourage engagement, and, in fact, probably didn’t directly contribute to the enterprise’s bottom line?

“Just because…,” she explained.

Those KPI-free instincts, in fact, were correct: The “Mama Said Knock You Out” spot cost half as much as an earlier spot based around near field communication (NFC). And it had the almost-instant impact of 260 million impressions – more than twice the impact of the NFC piece. 

“People watched it,” said Lemkau. “They shared it. They loved it.”

The JPMorgan marketer said that engagement on Instagram alone was evidence of the spot’s success. But even though Lemkau’s a marketer who looks at enterprise results as the main guide to success, “I really don’t know how to measure that,” she admitted.

“But I know how it made people feel. I know that was a great ad to produce. And, hopefully, it will have long-term outcomes.”