From virtually nowhere in brand recognition in the LED light bulb business among consumers to become a household name in just two years?

“It seems funny that it was only two years ago that pretty much no one in the lighting business had ever heard of Cree,” Cree’s top executive Chuck Swoboda said Tuesday evening.

Well, maybe Cree’s reinventing the light bulb campaign hasn’t made it the brand equivalent of GE just yet. But Chair and CEO Swoboda continues to invest heavily in driving the Cree name as THE bulb to buy.

If you were struck by the image of bologna frying on a conventional light bulb but not sizzling when draped over a Cree LED bulb, you weren’t alone.

In a conference call to discuss Cree’s (Nasdaq: CREE) latest earnings on Tuesday, Swoboda didn’t have overwhelming news to report. Inventory concerns and revenues helped drive down shares 4.2 percent in after-hours trading.

But a high point in Swoboda’s view is Cree’s return on investment from its ad spend.

Colin Rusch of Northland Capital Markets asked Swoboda about “the effectiveness of those campaigns.”

Swoboda touted the results.

“In the metrics we use, we saw a nice uptick in the spring,” he said.

“So what we had in the spring is it’s a combination really of three things. There is a marketing spend piece and so we had a pretty big program that was focused on NCAA Basketball that gave us some nice lift, but it’s in combination with some of the products.

“So we had great response to the Cree smart connected bulb as well as some of the things we’re doing on the commercial lighting. It’s really how do we blend those three pieces together that drives the activity. The advertising certainly is important, but it’s really the combination of three pieces.

“And I would say right now in terms of the metrics we are going after, it’s having the desire effect.

“It seems funny that it was only two years ago that pretty much no one in the lighting business had ever heard of Cree and I don’t think we had that problem. So it is a long-term investment, but one we still feel like is positioning us for success not just next quarter, but hopefully over the next several years.”

Want more insight from Swoboda? You can read a transcript of the conference call at: