Chapter 10- Plan and Buy Media: SS+K Chooses the Right Media for the Client’s New Branding Message
Figure 10.1 Four Months to Launch!
Advertisers like msnbc.com face tough choices. An ever-growing portfolio of media offers the promise of reaching different consumers in different contexts and at different times. The tools available to us range from an 8.5-by-11-inch ad tacked to your classroom wall by one of your fellow students who wants to sell his used textbooks (good thing we don’t need those anymore in our new “Flat World!”) to a high-tech mystery game where thousands of people text, IM, or Twitter one another with clues to help each other figure out the message.
SS+K and msnbc.com were ready to start pairing the objectives of the campaign with tactics they would use to achieve these, so they engaged a partner agency called The Media Kitchen to help. The Media Kitchen is the media arm of creative shop Kirshenbaum Bond and Partners, which is owned by the holding company MDC Partners (which also owns the innovative ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky). The basic philosophy at The Media Kitchen is to evaluate the research and information about the target audience—the news consumers that SS+K has dubbed News Explorers—and then decide which vehicles fit best. The first thing TMK had to do was to obtain demographic and media usage information about the News Explorers in order to understand where SS+K could find them. Once the agency understood more about which media these people relied upon, its planner would be able to coordinate the campaign’s messages and make media choices to ensure that the right people would see or hear these messages. After all, if an ad plays in the forest and nobody hears it, is it an ad?
The Media Kitchen used data from a survey like the ones we discussed in Chapter 6 “Segment, Target, and Position Your Audience: SS+K Identifies the Most Valuable News Consumer”, conducted by Simmons Market Research Bureau, one of the leading authorities on consumer behavior. They used this information to develop a profile of its target consumers and to match that profile with the target’s media habits. These are the criteria The Media Kitchen used to describe the News Explorer segment in the Simmons database.
Choosing the right media mix means understanding the primary advantages and disadvantages of each media format, from magazines to IMs. Media planning is the process of selecting which media vehicle to use, as well as when and where. Before we talk about how we mix and match media to meet our campaign objectives, let’s review the options and discuss some of the pros and cons of each.
10.1 Traditional Advertising Media
After studying this section, students should be able to do the following:
- Define media mix and media planning.
- List and characterize the various forms of traditional advertising media.
- Compare and contrast print media versus broadcast media.
- Describe the usefulness of out-of-home media, sponsorships, and direct-response media for carrying advertising messages.
Information-dense ads. Newspapers are well suited to deliver complex messages like pharmaceutical ads. The vehicle lets the advertiser present in-depth information at less cost than would be possible on TV or in linear media like radio or quick-glance billboards. What’s more, readers are used to getting in-depth information from the newspaper, so the ad fits into that style. The print ad provides room to present the information and provide all the supporting reasons. Also, the consumer can keep the print ad for future use or reference.
Local. Newspapers work well for local reach—you can target newspapers by region. This also lets you tie the ad to action. The local ad can tell consumers exactly where and when to get the product.
Declining and aging readership. On the other hand, newspaper circulation continues to fall as existing readers age and younger consumers choose to get their news from the Internet. Daily circulation decreased 2.1 percent and Sunday circulation fell 3.1 percent, according to the spring 2007 report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Specificity. Magazines can be more finely targeted because many of them address readers who share very specific interests, such as Cat Fancy, Guns & Ammo, or Cosmopolitan. Others attract a well-defined demographic readership; for example, airlines’ in-flight magazines boast an affluent audience. The median household income for adults who read United Airlines’ Hemispheres magazine or American Airlines’ American Way magazine is $147,000, according to Mendelsohn Media Research. The average reader of these magazines is a forty-five-year-old highly educated businessperson—someone very desirable for advertisers of technology, travel, and real estate products to reach. There’s a good chance many of these travelers will pick up the magazine at some point during the flight.Matthew Schwartz, “In-Flight Magazines Take Off for B-To-B; Advertisers Take Opportunity to Reach Captive Audience,” B to B, January 15, 2007, 3.
National reach. Whereas newspapers are local, magazines have national or international reach. Some magazines, such as Time, also print regional editions to support regional demographic differences and more targeted advertising.
Multiple impressions per copy. Magazines last longer than newspapers and are often passed from person to person (magazines often cite this number of pass-along impressions to justify charging higher prices to advertisers). The targeted nature of magazines, the good visual quality of their images, and the high credibility of the medium means that the ads are likely to reach and influence the right audience.
Long lead time. On the other hand, the production and distribution schedules of magazines require months of lead time. A monthly magazine slated to stay on newsstands through the end of December may have been printed in early November with a deadline for ad copy in September. This reduces the medium’s flexibility to respond to market changes.
High cost. A general-audience magazine typically charges more than $100,000 for a full-page four-color ad. Costs can grow if the advertiser wants guaranteed placement (e.g., near an article with the same theme as the product) and even more for ads on the back cover or directly inside the cover page. Moreover, advertisers often need to buy ads in multiple magazines to reach a wide audience. Despite the costs, ad spending in consumer magazines increased 4.6 percent in 2006.Gregg Cebrzynski, “And Now a Definitive Statement on the Future of Marketing and Media: Who Really Knows?” Nation’s Restaurant News, April 9, 2007, 14.
The print portion of the media plan that The Media Kitchen put together for msnbc.com: The different colors represent different sizes and placements—for example, blue represents a full-page placement, and red is a full-page placement near the table of contents of that publication.
When it came time to launch the msnbc.com branding campaign, the team strongly considered magazine print media.
Broadcast and Radio
Mass audience. TV attracts mass audiences, and network TV is the highest-exposure medium every hour of the day, according to “The Middletown Media Studies: The Media Day,” a study of consumer media habits by Ball State’s Center for Media Design. At least 30 percent of the study’s participants were exposed to TV programming during the day, and at times as many as 70 percent were watching. The study also found that consumers watch TV and use the Internet more than ten times as often as they read newspapers and magazines.Gregg Cebrzynski, “Taking on the Media Circus,” Nation’s Restaurant News, July 9, 2007, 33.
Very creative visual medium. TV supports dynamic content and creative storytelling. Advertisers can demonstrate the product and show the faces of the characters in the ad to convey both emotion and information.
This MacBook Air commercial creatively demonstrates the unique benefit of the product.
The leading medium and growing revenues. Ad bloggers and ad experts have predicted the demise of traditional TV spots for years. Yet TV ad spending rose 5.3 percent in 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence, and accounted for nearly 44 percent of all advertising spending in 2006. In addition, Nielsen Media Research reported that consumers spent more time watching conventional TV in 2006 than they did in 2005. They increased their viewing by twenty minutes a week. “Some people assume that in this digital era, somehow TV is not as important as it once was,” said Advertising Age editor Jonah Bloom. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Mass audiences are harder than ever to get together.…TV is set to become more measurable and even more relevant and even more important in the marketing landscape.”Quoted in “What to Expect from This Year’s Upfront,” Advertising Age, May 14, 2007, S-18.
Aging viewers. On the other hand, younger consumers spend less time watching TV, so this medium is steadily aging. Consumers younger than thirty-five spend more time on the Internet than they do watching TV, according to a study by New York-based Jupiter Research. This trend is only going to increase as more video content from sites like Hulu, YouTube, and iTunes migrates to online formats.
High cost. TV advertisements have high production and placement costs. A thirty-second ad on a popular prime-time network program can cost $250,000 each time it runs. Companies also spend more to create, produce, and pretest TV ads. A-list celebrity spokespeople and high-end special effects add to the costs. It can cost 350,000 to create a professional thirty-second spot, although small business can often create ads for much less.
Ad-skipping. Whether they take a bathroom break, hit the skip button on their TiVo, or turn to the Internet for a few minutes, consumers pay less and less attention to commercial breaks in the programs. Expensive thirty-second ads may be playing to almost no one. To combat this, advertisers are turning to branded entertainment such as inserting the product into the scenery, dialog, or plot of the show. We’ll talk about that important new trend later.
Cable offers specificity. Whereas network TV attracts a mass audience, cable TV lets advertisers pick demographic segments. Companies can target women with ads on the Oxygen or Lifetime cable networks. Well-heeled male audiences tune in the Golf channel while a younger male demographic hangs out on channels such as Sci-Fi. The Food Network and Travel Channel represent natural choices for advertisers in those respective arenas.
The television plan that The Media Kitchen put together had a heavy push the first week of the launch on select cable networks: BBC America, Comedy Central, Discovery, ESPN, ESPN 2, Food Network, History Channel, and National Geographic. The remainder of TV time was via satellite.
Local distribution through cable. Cable providers offer more targeted opportunities than do the national networks or even local broadcasters. Cable operators sell ad slots for local ads that can be targeted to specific sections of a city or even to specific neighborhoods. This lets the advertiser pay for the media impressions that matter.
Breadth. Radio reaches 232 million listeners during the week, according to figures from Arbitron’s RADAR 93 June 2007 Radio Listening Estimates. Drive-time radio aimed at commuters remains popular with marketers. Conventional radio (as opposed to satellite radio and other subscription audio) continues to be the medium of choice for 75 percent of all drivers.
Local. Smaller, local retailers use radio to keep their name top of mind. For example, Bishop’s Promart hardware store advertises on five radio stations in its Ithaca, New York, market area. On talk radio and easy-listening stations, the retailer runs ads it targets to more upscale customers and advertises grills and heaters. The store runs ads for house painting materials, however, only on country radio, because of its generally lower-income audience. “The upscale customer is probably going to hire out their painting. So we try to focus on people who are going to be doing it themselves,” explained Bishop’s Promart owner Forest Putney. Putney also gets involved in occasional promotional events, such as the annual backyard giveaway hosted by one of the local radio stations. He says it is a good opportunity to advertise in the community to maximize name recognition.Quoted in “Radio Ads Generate the Right Customer Frequency for Bishop’s,” Hardware Retailing 193, no. 4 (October 2007): 26.
Cost effective. Research has found that the best radio ads can have as much impact as the average TV ad, yet at a fraction of the cost.
Shrinking listener base. Although millions do listen to radio, the number is not growing. Cell phones and iPods compete for the ears of radio listeners, and other listeners are switching to commercial-free satellite radio. Then, too, even when people are listening to ads, they may not be paying attention.
Second-class citizen. Another disadvantage of radio is that ad agencies see it as a medium of secondary importance and often assign their junior people to work on the campaigns. “There is a crisis in radio creativity within the world of full-service agencies,” said Stephen Donovan, the managing director of radio agency Radioville. “There tends to be an inherent snobbery towards the medium. Unless you’re lucky enough to have someone who loves radio working on your brief, it’s more likely it will get dumped with the junior creatives.”Quoted in “Is There a Crisis in Radio Creativity?” Campaign, March 30, 2007, 19.
SS+K’s client My Rich Uncle used radio as part of a campaign to get parents to think about other options when they consider taking out a student loan. They intercepted the target audience of parents during the time period when students apply for college and for the loans to pay for it (assuming they get in).
My Rich Uncle “Lost and Found” Radio Spot
The spot “Lost and Found” ran in over twenty markets across the United States as part of a campaign that ran from June through September 2008.
Billboards, bus stops, and point-of-sale displays provide a way to reach people as they go about their daily lives. And advertisers keep finding new places, such as ads that cover entire buses, go on airline tray tables, cover bathroom walls, and shine down on sidewalks. New technologies such as computer-driven flat-screen displays now enable dynamic, interactive ads that respond to passersby. Place-based media like The Airport Channel transmit messages to captive audiences in public places, such as the waiting areas in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and airports.
Place-based video screens are now in thousands of shops, offices, and health clubs across the country, including stores like CompUSA, Best Buy, Borders, Foot Locker, and Target. The Wal-Mart TV Network has more than 125,000 screens in 2,850 Wal-Mart stores, and patients who wait in over 10,800 doctors’ offices watch medical programming and ads. NBC Universal has its shows on screens installed in office building elevators and on United Airlines flights.Louise Story, “Away From Home, TV Ads Are Inescapable,” New York Times Online, March 2, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/02/business/media/02adco.html (accessed February 24, 2008).
As traditional advertising canvases like TV and newspapers get painted in, agencies search for new places to put their messages. It seems as if no space is beyond reach; in recent years we’ve seen ads pop up in front of public urinals, on rockets, imprinted on flowers, and even on sheep (yes, one enterprising company in the Netherlands puts ad messages on blankets that adorn grazing sheep). In the spirit of “advertising abhors a vacuum,” now several airlines fill the white spaces on their boarding passes with ads that include coupons and dining recommendations.Michael Bush, “Airlines Stamping Ads onto Boarding Passes: Messages Will Include Coupons, Local Restaurant Picks,” Advertising Age, July 15, 2008, http://www.adage.com/article?article_id=129637 (accessed July 15, 2008).
And now, some retailers can even follow you around the store to deliver more up-close and personal messages: A new technology called RFID (radio frequency identification) tracks customers as they make their way through the aisles. So a shopper might receive a beep to remind him he just passed his family’s favorite peanut butter.Jeremy Wagstaff, “Eyes on You, the Shopper,” Wall Street Journal Online, July 31, 2003, http://www.wsj.com (accessed July 28, 2008). What’s the next frontier? At least one sighting has already been reported for an ad at a cemetery—for a dating service.http://dailyyeah.com/tag/graveyard-advertising (accessed July 26, 2008).
Highly contextual. Out-of-home ads can be situated for maximum impact in terms of both whom the ad reaches and when it reaches them. To find health-conscious consumers, Jennie-O targeted health clubs. The company put ads in twenty-five hundred health clubs across the United States, locating them near water fountains and in locker rooms. Attention-getting headlines included “Make your pizza lean,” encouraging the use of turkey. The ads put the brand in front of exercising Americans—who frequently go to the grocery store after their workout.
Reach. Outdoor ads can be used to visually saturate an area at a relatively low price. 1-800-Flowers blanketed major metropolitan areas with ads for Valentine bouquets. “You couldn’t be in a city like New York without seeing it,” said Steven Jarmon, vice president of brand communication and partnership marketing for 1-800-Flowers.com.Quoted in “The Results Issue,” Brandweek, July 23, 2007, 28.
Frequency. Outdoor campaigns “interact with so many consumers at numerous touch-points during the day, which is important,” according to Jodi Senese, executive vice president of marketing at CBS Outdoor, New York. A month-long billboard might provide more than twenty exposures for daily commuters.Quoted in “The Results Issue,” Brandweek, July 23, 2007, 28.
Short exposure duration. Unfortunately, many forms of outdoor advertising only catch a few seconds of attention as people drive or pass by the ads. Such ads need a simple, engaging image and just a few words of copy. For example, 1-800-Flowers ads for “Happy Hour Bouquets” featured flowers arranged in vases shaped like margarita or martini glasses. The ads were so visual that they made an immediate impact. Results: Happy Hour sales grew 274 percent during the Valentine’s Day period, compared to Christmas (which is the third-largest selling season for flowers), prompting CEO Jim McCann to call the outdoor effort “[our] most successful floral campaign ever.”Quoted in “The Results Issue,” Brandweek, July 23, 2007, 28.
Part of SS+K’s campaign for My Rich Uncle included an out-of-home buy in Dallas. Here is one of the billboards from that campaign.
Uncertain (and unappreciative) audience. The actual audience of out-of-home advertising is hard to measure and hard to segment. The people who see an ad on the side of an urban bus might be homeless or they might be millionaires. Moreover, some people dislike out-of-home advertising, feeling that it creates visual clutter or gives them no escape from commercials.
Some companies generate publicity by sponsoring an event, team, or sports arena. The company provides funding or some other material help to the event (such as food) in exchange for being mentioned as the event’s sponsor during the event and in the promotional material about the event.
Large exposure. Sponsorship provides large audience exposure and repeat brand impressions. Coors’ sponsorship of the NFL guarantees that the brand is mentioned numerous times during each game, along with a logo or brand image.
Favorability by association. The Coors deal lets the brewer use all NFL and team logos in its marketing. This transfers the goodwill of the fans from their sport to Coors. Coors hopes that fans will support the beer the way the company supports the sport.
Lack of messaging. Although sponsorship reminds viewers of the brand, it offers little opportunity to convey detailed brand messages or to present a unique selling proposition (defined below).
High cost. In 2005, Coors Brewing Co. signed a deal to pay $500 million over five years to be the official sponsor of the NFL, a 67 percent increase from its previous deal.
Clutter of competing sponsorships. Coors might sponsor the NFL, but Pepsi’s name might be on the stadium while one of the teams is sponsored by Gatorade. Coors is the official sponsor of the league, but rival Anheuser-Busch has individual deals with twenty-eight teams at an estimated cost of $30 million annually. In other cases, the event sells so many sponsorships that no single sponsor gets much play.
In addition, there is always the pitfall of ambush marketing: You pay a premium to be an “official sponsor” of an event, but your competitors advertise there as well and give the impression that they also are underwriting it. This is a big issue at the Olympics; for example, the 2008 Beijing Games had twelve global sponsors who together paid almost a billion dollars for bragging rights. China tried to crack down on other companies that used the five-ring logo or sold unauthorized versions of the mascot. These ambushes have a long history: at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, Nike placed advertisements near the stadiums and established a “Nike village” even though it was not an official sponsor. Visa Inc. sponsored the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer; American Express ran a campaign saying Americans did not need a “visa” to travel to Norway.Robert Woodward, “Olympic Sponsors Steeled for Ambush,” Reuters, June 4, 2008, http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSL2975740220080604 (accessed July 26, 2008).
Direct response methods are forms of communication addressed to specific recipients so that the sender can track whether or not the person took action after receiving the message.
Segmentation and customization. Extensive databases and lists mean that advertisers can pick who they want to contact and tailor the message to that group. Public and private commercial data sources let advertisers know and pick the audience. A direct marketer can know how much a consumer paid for their house (public land records), what kind of car they drive (motor vehicle records), and which clubs they belong to or charities they support (donor lists).
Immediacy. Direct response offers just that—people can respond directly to the advertisers’ pitch by returning a reply card, saying yes to a telemarketer, or clicking a link on an e-mail.
High cost per impression. Both direct mail and telemarketing have a high cost per impression due to physical production and labor costs, respectively.
Intrusiveness. Many consumers feel inundated by direct marketing and resent it.
Popular forms of direct response include:
Telemarketing. Although the telephone offers the most interactive channel to reach consumers, many despise it for its intrusiveness. The fact that there are over 149 million phone numbers on the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry, which has only existed since 2003, shows the breadth of the public’s dislike for getting unwanted sales calls in the middle of dinner.
Direct mail. Direct mail is tangible—people can hold it, interact with it, even smell it. New printing techniques support customization. Advertisers can also include physical premiums such as fridge magnets or software disks. But a full mailbox may mean that much of it is simply thrown away unopened. Worse, consumers are beginning to see mail as wasteful and bad for the environment.
E-mail. E-mail supports customization—a company can tailor each e-mail to each recipient. For example, an airline can notify an individual customer about airfare deals from her home town. E-mail, however, suffers from the taint of spam. Nine out of ten e-mail messages are spam (unsolicited e-mail sent to multiple addresses), creating a different kind of pollution. Increasingly, consumers want tougher action to eliminate spam.“Direct Marketing: Quality Replaces Quantity,” Marketing Week, August 30, 2007, 33. The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 is a step in eliminating unwanted spam, and marketers must abide by the rules laid out in that act, including supplying an opt-out button, relevant subject lines, a physical address, and a warning if content is explicit.
General Motors is known for its TV ads and NFL sponsorship, but it also makes use of direct mail. For example, GM sent out five million personalized cards by mail to customers who’d bought GM cars between 1998 and 2004. The list of customers was generated from dealer databases. The card gave customers a $10 credit toward any needed repair. The campaign generated $15 million in revenue solely from the coupon-generated visits. On top of that was the incremental benefit: when people are getting their car repaired, they wander around the showroom and look at the new models. So the secondary effect of the cards is that one in a hundred people may decide to buy a new car while getting their old one repaired.“The Results Issue,” Brandweek, July 23, 2007, 28.
Traditional media include print, TV, radio, out-of-home, sponsorships, and direct mail. Each platform is useful depending on a campaign’s objectives and budget. For example, network television lets you speak to many people at once (though not quite as many as in the past), but you need deep pockets to use it.
- List and characterize the traditional advertising media.
- Compare and contrast the print media against the broadcast media.
- Describe the usefulness of out-of-home, sponsorships, and direct-response media in reaching target markets.
10.2 New Media
After studying this section, students should be able to do the following:
- List and characterize the new media forms.
- Explain how word-of-mouth (WOM), viral, and buzz marketing can be used by advertisers.
- Discuss how marketers and advertisers can use virtual worlds to bring messages to consumers.
- Review how social media and social networking sites can be used to advocate brands and brand messages.
It was very important to SS+K and msnbc.com to explore nontraditional and new ways to reach the News Explorer. The msnbc.com target audience is very tech savvy, so aligning the msnbc.com brand with the latest forms of communication was critical. The agency knew that it had to embrace new media in addition to traditional platforms.
New media covers a spectrum of nontraditional methods to communicate with customers. These fall into two categories. First, new communication channels are new technologies (e.g., the Internet, cell phones, and computer games) that support the potential for advertising. Second, new promotional techniques let companies move away from the traditional “advertisers speak, consumers listen” model.
New Communication Channels
Online advertising includes a spectrum of text, still-image, animated graphics, streaming-video, and interactive advertising on the Web. Advertisers create their ad and then find a Web site or service to host the ad. The ad might show on the Web site as a separate pop-up window or as a bannerembedded in the content of the site or running down the side of a Web page. The site might display the ad at certain times of day, a certain number of times, or in certain contexts. For example, search ads let advertisers associate their ad with the keywords that Web users enter into search engines like Google and Yahoo!.
Online Paid Search Advertising; Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
This video provides an overview of paid search and how it works.
Online advertising is relatively inexpensive, which means that small businesses can afford it. However, search ads can get pricey because bidding for coveted keywords can be fierce. For example, asbestos lawsuit attorneys bid $150 for each click-through from searches for the term “mesothelioma.”
Stickiness—keeping consumers at your site—is an important component of good design. For example, the SciFi Channel keeps fans of Battlestar Galactica engaged by letting fans see the inner workings of the show. Executive producer Ronald Moore posts concept art, scripts, and outtakes on the Web site. “From the beginning, I wanted a very open policy; let’s put as much on the Internet as we can,” he said. Moore supports viewers who want to download parts of the show, right down to letting fans edit their own versions of the show.Quoted in “Inside the Mind of a Cyclon,” Fast Company, November 2007, 27.
Online ads support both specificity and tracking. “We can see what sites, pages, types of ads perform the best,” said Kathleen Cunningham, president of Advanced Marketing Strategies. She has found that the best way to use the Internet for client companies is to get e-mail addresses volunteered by customers of IKEA, for instance, and then put out occasional e-mails to them about in-store deals. “The trick is to not bombard them with e-mails,” Cunningham said.Quoted in Mark Larson, “Digital Format Presents Rubik’s Cube of Challenges to Advertisers,” San Diego Business Journal, July 9, 2007, 14.
Unfortunately, online is a very fragmented media outlet due to the tens of millions of Web sites in existence. Although more and more consumers are spending more and more time online, their time is being subdivided, making it hard to reach a mass audience.
In order to maximize the effectiveness of the msnbc.com campaign, SS+K and The Media Kitchen planned a big online presence for the launch phase of the effort on these categories of interest to the News Explorer and the respective sites within those categories.
Mobile commerce refers to the growing trend of reaching consumers through their cell phones and wireless PDAs. For example, Absolut brand vodka partnered with Free411, an ad-supported directory-assistance service. Free411 is just like the phone company’s service, except that it’s free. Each time the service’s forty-five thousand users called to get the number for a club or bar, they first heard a fifteen-second spot for Absolut’s new Pears vodka. Callers were then offered a drink recipe that would be text messaged to their cell phones to give to their bartender. Nearly two thousand callers said yes, which was roughly 4 percent of the total call volume. (That’s actually eight times the average response rate for such an offer.) The cost of the promotion was under $50,000.“The Results Issue,” Brandweek, July 23, 2007, 28.
Cell phone advertising is still in its infancy in the United States, but it’s much more common in some other countries, especially those where a large number of people carry Web-enabled phones—in some parts of Europe this proportion is as high as three-fourths of the population. Some advertisers are skeptical about the future of m-commerce because they feel that many consumers will resist the practice of seeing a lot of ad messages clog up their phones. One recent survey reported that only 18 percent of American respondents said they were receptive to the idea of watching ads in exchange for free mobile content. But 37 percent of Europeans like the idea. And large numbers of respondents said they visited a Web site or requested more information about a product after seeing a mobile ad.Eric Pfanner, “Marketers Have Eyes on the ‘Third Screen,’” New York Times Online, March 22, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/22/business/media/22adco.html (accessed February 10, 2009).
The pace of cell phone advertising is likely to pick up as more people get used to the idea of accessing content (other than IMs) on their mobiles. Already, major phone companies including Verizon Communications and AT&T have signed deals to distribute programming—including Saturday Night Live clips and user-generated video—to cell phone customers along with ads to support this effort. Expect to see further integration of viewing platforms; even now AT&T is working on a system to coordinate digital purchases so that when a customer buys a movie on his laptop, it’s instantly available for streaming to his cell phone and on-demand on his TV.Amol Sharma, “Phone Giants Roll Out ‘Three Screen’ Strategy: Video Programming and Ads to be Served on TV, Cell Phones, Web,” Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2008, B7.
In addition to using cell phones to send broad-based ad messages, the coupon business is due for a radical makeover as mobile couponing takes off. Today cell phone users can sign up to receive mobile coupons that offer discounts on products ranging from CDs and DVDs to fast food. To cash in the coupons, consumers show their cell phone screen that displays the coupon to a store cashier. Virgin Megastores, Hollywood Video, Domino’s Pizza, and Quiznos Subs participate in this program, and about one million people have signed up for the service.Stephanie Kang, “Coupons Gain New Market on Cell Phones,” Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2007, B8.
Picture this scenario: you’re strolling down the street and as you pass a Starbucks your trusty phone beeps and invites you to stop in to receive a discounted Grande Vivanno Chocolate Banana smoothie. Sound far-fetched? For now, yes—but probably not for long. The exciting evolution of GPS technology creates the capability for advertisers to beam coupons to phone users depending on their location. In one early test of this method, Coupon CBS partnered with the social networking service Loopt, which already allows its subscribers to track participating friends. Ads appear on two Web sites tailored for mobile devices, CBS Mobile News and CBS Mobile Sports. People who choose to participate might see an ad from a business within a block or two of where they live.Laura M. Holson, “In CBS Test, Mobile Ads Find Users,” New York Times Online, February 6, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com (accessed February 6, 2008).
SS+K’s VP of Marketing from the Los Angeles office, Melinda Moore, talks about prospective mobile ideas for msnbc.com.
Melinda discusses mobile marketing.
In the 2008 season finale of CSI: NY one of the show’s characters asks the detectives to gather on a sophisticated videoconferencing system to discuss a shooting. But it wasn’t just any system—one of the other investigators elaborates, “She wants everybody on a TelePresence call.” This happens to be a system that Cisco sells—and it has a way of showing up prominently in TV shows, including 24 and Heroes, as well as in movies like You, Me and Dupree and I Am Legend.Stephanie Clifford, “Product Placements Acquire a Life of Their Own on Shows,” New York Times Online, July 14, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com (accessed July 14, 2008). Product placement, where a show’s story line incorporates a branded product, is a strategy to reach consumers on a traditional medium. This technique is now quite common in TV shows and movies, but it even pops up in Broadway shows and the occasional novel.
This practice is so commonplace (and profitable) now that it’s evolving into a new form of promotion we call branded entertainment, where advertisers showcase their products in longer-form narrative films instead of brief commercials. For example, SportsCenter on ESPN showed installments of “The Scout presented by Craftsman at Sears,” a six-minute story about a washed-up baseball scout who discovers a stunningly talented stadium groundskeeper.Nat Ives, “‘Advertainment’ Gains Momentum,” New York Times Online, April 21, 2004, http://www.nytimes.com (accessed July 28, 2008).
The inclusion of branded products in shows is not new; the first recorded instance dates to 1896, when an early movie shows a cart bearing the brand name Sunlight (a Lever Brothers brand) parked on a street.Stuart Elliott, “Greatest Hits of Product Placement,” New York Times Online, February 28, 2005, http://www.nytimes.com (accessed February 28, 2005). Perhaps the greatest product placement success story was Reese’s Pieces; sales jumped by 65 percent after the candy appeared in the film E.T.Benjamin M. Cole, “Products that Want to Be in Pictures,” Los Angeles Herald Examiner, March 5, 1985: 36; see also Stacy M. Vollmers and Richard W. Mizerski, “A Review and Investigation into the Effectiveness of Product Placements in Films,” in Proceedings of the 1994 Conference of the American Academy of Advertising, ed. Karen Whitehill King (American Academy of Advertising, 1994), 97–102; Michael R. Solomon and Basil G. Englis, “Reality Engineering: Blurring the Boundaries between Marketing and Popular Culture,” Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising 16, no. 2 (Fall 1994): 1–18. As was the case with Reese’s Pieces, new products can get a huge boost if they happen to show up in a popular media vehicle (just ask all the authors whose books hit the bestseller list because Oprah recommended them). The startup accessories company Bag Borrow or Steal Inc. discovered this to its delight when the movie version of Sex and the City was released. Carrie Bradshaw’s assistant, played by actress Jennifer Hudson, admits to her that she “borrows” her pricey handbags from Bag Borrow or Steal instead of buying them.Simona Covel, “Bag Borrow or Steal Lands the Role of a Lifetime: Online Retailer Hopes to Profit from Mention in ‘Sex And The City,’” Wall Street Journal Online, May 28, 2008, http://Online.Wsj.Com/Article/Sb121184149016921095.Html?Mod=2_1567 (accessed May 28, 2008).
Getting a plug is nothing new. What is new, however, is that product placement has evolved from a practice of convenience (directors like to include actual products as props to enhance realism) to a deliberate and lucrative business practice. A typical placement deal between Staples and NBC illustrates how this works: when the office products retailer introduced a new paper-shredder called the MailMate in 2006, it engaged a company that specializes in placements to handle this part of its media strategy. The company made a deal with the producers of The Office to include the product in two episodes of the hit show. In one show, the character Kevin Malone shreds paper with the MailMate; in the second, the character Dwight Schrute leaves the company and takes a job at Staples. To emphasize the small size of the paper shredder, it sat on Kevin’s desk. To show how sturdy it is, he shredded his plastic credit card with the device. And the episode closed with Kevin shredding lettuce to make a salad; when a colleague asked where he got the salad, he replied, “Staples.”Stephanie Clifford, “Product Placements Acquire a Life of Their Own on Shows,” New York Times Online, July 14, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com (accessed July 14, 2008). Nothing subtle about that placement.
Unless the FCC severely clamps down on this practice, it’s probably here to stay—unless (or until) such blatant messaging suffers from the problem it’s designed to address: advertising clutter. As the number of placements continues to grow, advertisers may discover they’ve created a monster that’s no longer very effective. In the first quarter of 2008, here are the leaders in the number of branded products that appear during the show, according to Nielsen Media Research:Amy Schatz and Suzanne Vranica, “Product Placements Get FCC Scrutiny: Concern Focuses on Rise in Use by Advertisers, Disclosure to Viewers,” Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2008, B3.
- The Biggest Loser (NBC): 3977 placements
- American Idol (Fox): 3291 placements
- The Apprentice (NBC): 1646 placements
Seeing real brands pop up in TV dramas, sitcoms, or reality programs is no longer notable—but how about on a news program? The Fox affiliate in Las Vegas made a deal that gets news anchors to sit with cups of McDonald’s iced coffee on their desks during the news-and-lifestyle portion of their morning show. Is this a conflict of interest? According to the account supervisor at the ad agency that negotiated the deal, “If there were a story going up, let’s say, God forbid, about a McDonald’s food illness outbreak or something negative about McDonald’s, I would expect that the station would absolutely give us the opportunity to pull our product off set.”Quoted in Stephanie Clifford, “A Product’s Place is on the Set,” New York Times Online, July 22, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com (accessed July 22, 2008). What do you think—does this form of product placement cross the McLine?
Product placement is also slowly but surely making its way into videogames. Computer gaming is an $18 billion business. Advergaming brings real-world brands into the game. Many advergaming executions resemble outdoor advertising in the game—game makers sell posters and billboards in the game’s virtual world. The advertiser takes advantage of the computer game manufacturer’s distribution to get its ads seen. And, because gamers pay upwards of $50 for the game, they’re likely to play it over and over.
Ford uses advergaming to attract a younger audience.
The problem with ads in commercial games is that many players are too immersed in the game to notice them. For that reason, advertisers such as Burger King create purpose-built advergames. These types of games use the advertiser’s branded mascots, themes, and venues to make the brand a key element of the game. Purpose-built advergames “let you have complete control over your brand message since you’re the one making the game,” said Darren Herman, the cofounder of IGA Worldwide. “But the biggest problem with advergames is in their distribution. Most companies don’t have the resources of, say, a Burger King, to do that correctly. For every successful advergame—like Burger King’s—there’s a ton of failures, usually due to distribution. How do you get your game out there and who do you get it to?”Quoted in Paul Hyman, “Burger King Has It Their Way with Advergame Sales,” Hollywood Reporter, February 7, 2007, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/features/columns/playing…/e3i19a1b95e867baa 55b5c3c3c6d5061b53 (accessed February 10, 2009).
Herman raises a valid point, but videogames seem poised to become a distribution platform in their own right. As gaming becomes more of a mainstream activity, we can expect to see more advertising targeted to players. While many media planners still have a stereotype of a typical gamer as a greasy-haired teenager who eats a lot of cold pizza, the reality is that 40 percent of gamers are women, and the average age of game players is thirty-five. And 65 percent of American households play computer and video games.
As the tip of the iceberg, MTV recently announced that the sequel to its popular Rock Band game (Rock Band 2, not surprisingly) will include a track from the first Guns N’ Roses album in more than a decade. As a music industry executive observed about the potential of videogames to sell music products, “These games absolutely have an impact because the opportunity to hear these songs on radio is dwindling. This is becoming an important piece of the marketing puzzle.”Quoted in Robert Levine, “Planned Guns N’ Roses Deal Underscores Power of Video Games to Sell Songs,” New York Times Online, July 22, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com (accessed July 22, 2008).
One new communication model seeks to get consumers and the media talking about the product, brand, or campaign. Rather than pay for every media impression, advertisers influence their customers to work with them to create media impressions. Word of mouth (WOM) causes people to share stories about the product, brand, or campaign. Every water cooler conversation about the ad creates an impression.
Viral marketing gives people a reason to recruit their friends and family to the product. For example, friends-and-family cell phone programs give subscribers an incentive (free minutes) to recruit people they know. Viral campaigns challenge agencies to create truly remarkable ads, online games, or Web sites—remarkable enough that people will want to share them with their friends. For one noteworthy example, check out Burger King’s notorious Subservient Chicken that agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky developed (http://www.subservientchicken.com).
Buzz creates newsworthy events—a thirty-second story on the major news networks for an eccentric promotion is worth far more than buying thirty-second ads on those channels. To identify the spark that ignited the fire of buzz marketing, perhaps we need look no further than to The Blair Witch Project, a horror movie that was made for $22,000 and earned $248 million at the box office. How did this low-budget production pull this off? The answer is the buzz campaign that began long before the film was released. While the story of a group of young people who get massacred in the woods was fiction (sorry to burst the bubble), the producers cleverly perpetuated the idea that the movie was a true documentary. By the time the film actually was released, it had built an avid following.
Some of the veterans of that effort also have pioneered a form of viral marketing the industry calls alternate reality games, where fans interact with the company as they try to solve a puzzle. In one of the best-known executions (that these same producers created), carmaker Audi staged a heist of an A3 from Audi’s Park Avenue showroom in New York City. It enticed millions of consumers to solve the mystery. As consumers joined in the chase, they were exposed to the car’s unique features and attributes. The buzz seemed to translate to behavior, too, as sales increased during the three-month campaign.Douglas Quenqua, “The Vampires are Coming, but Only After Months of Warnings,” New York Times Online, July 15, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com (accessed July 15, 2008); Alison Lange Engel, “The Best of the Buzz: A Judge Shares Highlights from the Buzz Awards Submissions,” Adweek, September 11, 2006, 22.
More recently, some gamers were surprised to discover the unnamed force behind The Lost Ring, an online game with an Olympics theme. The game kicked off when fifty people received packages with an Olympic-themed poster and a clue pointing them to TheLostRing.com Web site. At the site, a video presented scenes of a woman waking up in a field with “Trovu la ringon perditan”—an Esperanto phrase—tattooed on her arm. As players searched for clues to solve the mystery, they eventually discovered that none other than McDonald’s, in partnership with the International Olympic Committee, was behind the game.Stephanie Clifford, “An Online Game so Mysterious Its Famous Sponsor is Hidden,” New York Times Online, April 1, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com (accessed April 1, 2008).
The Internet has spawned numerous virtual worlds in which people take the form of avatars (digital representations of themselves) as they play, interact, and virtually live in an online space. Some communities, such as Linden Lab’s Second Life, mimic real life with 3-D graphics that give people a chance to live a different identity (or several) online. Many users choose elaborate characters, either fantasy figures or idealized men or women with exaggerated “attributes.”
Numerous companies have set up shop in one or more of these virtual worlds. In some cases (as in advergaming) they simply advertise their product on virtual billboards. For example, billboards in Second Life advertise the Honda Acura RDX. Clicking on the billboard gives the user a virtual copy of the car that they can drive around Second Life and even use in racing games in the online world. In other (typically more successful) cases the brand becomes part of the world, as when avatars who receive virtual Nikes actually get the ability to run faster in the virtual world.
Currently well over a hundred virtual worlds are operating live or are in development. The research firm Gartner predicts that by the year 2011, over 250 million people will be involved in these immersive digital environments. U.S. firms spent an estimated $15 million on advertising in virtual worlds in 2006. This figure is expected to reach $150 million by 2012.
To date, virtual worlds have received a lukewarm reception by advertisers. Some early campaigns fizzled because they failed to generate interest among virtual world inhabitants—simply putting up a billboard just won’t do it for most avatars. In other cases, disappointed clients didn’t see the kinds of numbers they are used to getting from real-world campaigns that might touch millions of people. This platform is still in its infancy, so many consumers don’t even know yet that it exists.
This is a very short-sighted perspective: virtual worlds will most likely continue to mature and evolve into a major media platform over the next five or ten years. Major media companies, including MTV Networks and Disney, continue to invest millions of dollars as they develop their own virtual worlds. Media planners who doubt the staying power of these platforms need look only to the next generation of consumers, who already are logging serious time in their own virtual worlds. Habbo Hotel (based in Finland) targets thirteen- to eighteen-year-olds and boasts over 100 million registered users worldwide and over 8.5 million unique users each month. Gaia Online attracts more than 2 million unique visitors each month; $300,000 of the members log in for an average of two hours per day. You heard it here first: virtual worlds are the future of advertising.
Consumer-Generated Media (CGM)
What if you could get your customers to make your ads for you? In a twist to the old practice of using customer testimonials, companies are giving customers the power and the tools to make their own ads, a phenomenon known as consumer-generated media (CGM). The rise of PC video and image editing tools means that millions have the ability to create content. For example, snack-maker Doritos posted media clips online for consumers to tweak and make a commercial for the product, with the winning commercial being aired during the Super Bowl. The company received over a hundred entries.Sonia Reyes, “Packaged Foods” Adweek, April 30, 2007, SR19.
Other companies, like McDonald’s, found user-created video on YouTube. “The whole idea behind the ‘I’m lovin’ it’ campaign is that it’s from the consumers’ point of view, and what better way to show that than with these two guys who did their own video? Since our target has a very keen bull** meter…it gives a different perspective on McDonald’s, making it seem [less] corporate,” said Chris Arnold, creative director for Arnold Worldwide, who handles some McDonald’s work in New York and purchased the rights to make the video into a spot for McDonald’s.Quoted in “The Results Issue,” Brandweek, July 23, 2007, 28.
But what if some ads insult the brand? When Chevy let consumers make ads about its new Chevy Tahoe, some consumers created ads attacking the large SUV’s gas-guzzling ways. But Chevy didn’t remove the negative submissions, because it showed that the brand could take a good-natured teasing and stay open to customer’s opinions. Besides, everyone knows there are trolls on the Internet, so negative content is often ignored. Chevy Tahoe found that despite (or because of) the full range of ads, consumers did visit the site and did visit the car dealers’ showrooms in response.
Of course, there are limits to what’s acceptable. For example, liquor makers need to promote sensible drinking habits, which homemade videos may not convey. “For the liquor industry, any user content has to meet regulations and standards,” said Mike Church, media director for Diageo PLC, which owns brands Smirnoff and Guinness, among others.Quoted in “Brand Building in the Digital Age: A Dizzying Array of Choices,” Knowledge@Wharton, April 11, 2007, http://www.knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu (accessed July 28, 2008). Procter & Gamble, the nation’s largest advertiser, invites viewers to help decide what is acceptable: it set up an option on its main consumer toll-free line in response to a drive from a coalition, dubbed Enough Is Enough, that was urging the company to stop sponsoring hip-hop programs on MTV and BET laced with profanity and scenes the group believes degrade and objectify women. Another option asks callers to weigh in on the story line for its soap opera As the World Turns, which includes passionate kisses between daytime TV’s only gay couple.Jack Neff, “P&G Lets Consumers Act as Media Planners: Asks Customers to Weigh in on Gay Kissing and Hip-Hop Programming,” Advertising Age, April 29, 2008, http://www.adage.com (accessed April 29, 2008).
When the inmates take over the asylum, there’s bound to be resistance: a lot of advertisers aren’t happy about giving up control of their brand messages. According to results of a survey released by Accenture, media and entertainment executives see the ability and eagerness of individuals to create their own content as one of the biggest threats to their business. As the saying goes, however, when it comes to CGM, “you’re either on the train or under it.” Surveys show that in a typical month about half of all online users either create user-generated content (UGC) or read items posted by others. And the phenom is even bigger among youth (but you knew that): three-quarters of users eighteen to twenty-five are reading or writing UGC.Karl Greenberg, “Study: Half of Online Users Create or Read UGC,” Marketing Daily, May 15, 2007, http://www.mediapost.com (accessed May 15, 2007). Indeed, one survey conducted in late 2007 reported that almost half of millennials (people aged thirteen to twenty-four) agreed with the statement “With all the technology available, I actually consider myself to be a ‘broadcaster’ of my own media.”“Attitudes of US Internet Users toward Digital Entertainment, by Age, October 2007,” eMarketer, January 7, 2008, http://www.emarketer.com (accessed January 7, 2008).
A new PepsiCo promotion for its Mountain Dew brand illustrates the new perspective on involving consumers as partners in a campaign and taking this initiative into a virtual world. Indeed, the promotion is aptly named “DEWmocracy.” The campaign includes a story-based game that features a live-action short film (directed by actor Forest Whitaker, who also provides a voice-over). Upon logging on to the site, http://www.dewmocracy.com, players are sent to a virtual world, where they are invited to join one of three teams. A video lays out a vision of a world where corporate profits rule over all; players need to fill a “magic gourd” (i.e., a bottle) to “restore the soul of mankind.” Players move into different chambers, where they select the flavor of their drink, its color and marketing characteristics. The gamers eventually will be given the opportunity to persuade the company to produce their drink in the real world. An executive boasted, “To the best of our knowledge, a brand has never given consumers this much control. We felt that the best way to fully engage consumers would be to give them the power to create a new product.”
Virtually everyone who reads this book is well acquainted with social media; in fact, you’re using one form of it now, since the book is “open” to users. This term refers to the many new platforms that combine technology with community to allow users to contribute their own content and to react to what other users post. Social media applications will attract over one billion broadband users globally within five years (yes, we said billion).Martin Olausson, “The People’s Revolution: Implications of Web 2.0 and Social Media Applications,” Strategy Analytics, November 30, 2007, http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=ReportAbstractViewer &a0=3690 (accessed February 13, 2009).
Some familiar forms of social media include e-mail, IMs, blogs, wikis, and podcasts. Popular applications include Wikipedia, MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, with new ones arriving almost daily. Even big companies are moving to the new communication technologies and models. Many major advertisers are shifting their media mix to include social media, especially those that want to speak to young people. For example, Frito-Lay cut its prime-time network ad spend by about 20 percent to $30.1 million in 2006, as it focused more attention on Internet and viral platforms.Sonia Reyes, “Packaged Foods,” Adweek, April 30, 2007, SR19.
Blogs and Online Reviews
Customer reviews are the most prevalent source of online content. For example, research finds that 81 percent of shoppers who spend more than $500 online each month use product reviews when they make buying decisions. The authors of reviews are known as brand advocates. A senior executive at Yahoo! estimates that 40 percent of the online buying population are advocates, and their communications with other buyers are extremely influential. Yahoo! finds that three-fourths of brand advocates versus one-third of nonadvocates use social media several times a week. When PetCo launched an advertising campaign that incorporates user-generated reviews, the company found that it got a 500 percent increase in its click-through rate, that crucial number that tells an online advertiser how many people click on a link to learn more about the advertised product.Emily Burg, “Leverage User-Generated Content to Boost Brands,” Marketing Daily, March 13, 2007, http://www.mediapost.com (accessed March 13, 2007).
Many of these user-generated reviews (warts and all) appear on blogs (short for Web log). A blog is a Web site an individual maintains, usually with commentary about a specific topic to which others can respond. Increasingly these forums add sophisticated graphics, including video capability, so that video blogging allows individuals to present any kind of visual or written material to the blogosphere (the universe of blogs).
How widespread is the practice of blogging? In 2008, over half of all U.S. Internet users read at least one blog per month, and analysts project this number will rise to two-thirds of all users by 2012. Advertising spending is growing to match this increase; in 2008 U.S. spending in blog formats was $411 million, and this number will grow to $746 million by 2012.Lisa Stone, “Compass Partners 2008 Social Media Benchmark Study: Blogging Mainstream, ‘Reliable’ for Fun, Advice and Information,” Blogher, http://www.blogher.com/blogher-compass-partners-2008-social-media-benchmark- study-blogging-mainstream-reliable-fun-advice-a (accessed February 13, 2009).
In addition to the sheer numbers involved, blogs are catching advertisers’ attention because of the diversity of consumers who participate. For example, more than one-third (35 percent) of all women in the United States aged eighteen to seventy-five participate in the blogosphere at least once a week. Three in ten female blog readers said they made a decision to buy a product based on information they found in a blog post—and the same number said they decided not to buy something based on a blogger’s thumbs-down recommendation.“2008 Social Media Benchmark Study,” BlogHer/Compass Partners, http://www.blogher.com/blogher-compass-partners-2008-social-media-benchmark- study-blogging-mainstream-reliable-funadvice-a (accessed July 28, 2008). The director of external relations for P&G baby care affirms this trend saying, “It’s official: Mom bloggers are the new influencers…the company is elevating them to the level of celebrities, mainstream media and health professionals in terms of influencer importance.”Jack Neff, “P&G Relies on Power of Mommy Bloggers; Giant Calls Them the ‘New Influencers,’” Advertising Age, July 14, 2008, http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=129580 (accessed July 14, 2008).
Isaac’s Video Blog
Isaac Mizrahi tells it like he sees it in his video blog.
You would have to be living in a deep hole not to be aware of the impact of social networking sites, especially the twin powerhouses MySpace and Facebook or more specialized sites like the business networking platform LinkedIn. This term describes online communities of people who share interests, activities, or relationships—and who typically are interested in following the activities of other members.
Despite their huge popularity (who do you know who doesn’t have either a Facebook or MySpace page?), until recently advertisers struggled to figure out how they could use these platforms to talk to consumers. The sites’ owners didn’t make this easy, because they tightly controlled access to outside application developers. That stance is changing—MySpace now lets advertisers directly manage their branded profiles on the site. MySpace continues to monitor brand profiles for content.Abbey Klaassen, “MySpace Tool Allows Marketers to Manage Their Own Profiles; Brands Will be Able to Gain a Presence on the Social Network More Efficiently and Keep Creative Control,” Advertising Age, April 21, 2008, http://www.adage.com (accessed April 21, 2008).
Facebook is ramping up its involvement with the advertising community as well. The company signed a deal in 2008 with Microsoft to let it provide Web search services and associated advertisements directly on the site—at least on the American portion of the social network. Microsoft already sells and manages display advertisements on Facebook, but the additional search function could allow the software giant to catch up to Google (which provides search on MySpace) and Yahoo! (which does the same for Bebo) in the search business. More than twenty-nine million people actively use Facebook in the United States; soon they will see Microsoft’s Live Search box on Facebook pages.Brad Stone and Miguel Helft, “Microsoft Seeks an Ad Friend in Facebook,” New York Times Online, July 25, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/25/business/media/25adco.html?ref=media (accessed February 10, 2009).
The Dark Side of Social Media
New media is still a baby in the media world, so there’s a lot of trial and error going on out there (as well as some dirty diapers). Although many marketers may have theories about what should work, the nature of new media means that these theories largely are untested. Consumer acceptance, response, and cost effectiveness can all be unknown. In some cases advertisers find themselves in uncomfortable territory, such as when their online banner ad inadvertently appears on a pornographic site, a Web page belonging to a hate group, or a blog critical of the advertiser.
Privacy issues, combined with the fact that consumers have only so much free time, also could damp the boom in social networking on the Web. “Nobody has 5,000 real friends,” says Tim Hanlon, senior vice president of Denuo Group, a media and advertising consulting firm owned by Publicis. “At the end of the day it just becomes one big cauldron of noise.” For marketers, he says, that will mean the sites will be much more effective as a consumer research tool than as a venue to peddle products.Suzanne Vranica, “Ad Houses Will Need to Be More Nimble; Clients are Demanding More and Better Use of Consumer Data, Web,” Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2008, B3. Log onto your Facebook page to see what your friends have to say about that.
New media offers the advertiser a chance to be a pioneer and to push the company’s brand in new directions. These platforms lets brands stay hip and fresh to reach younger audiences and to create buzz when news outlets cover the innovation. And because the new media are untried, they may be cheaper on a per-impression basis than traditional media. But handle with care.
- List and characterize the new media forms. Describe each of the elements of the promotional mix.
- Explain how online advertising and m-commerce are vital to the success of e-commerce efforts.
- Explain the concept of product placement and why it is a valuable new media advertising tool.
- Characterize word-of-mouth (WOM), viral, and buzz marketing.
- Explain why advertisers are interested in consumer-generated media (CGM).
- Describe how social media and social networking are impacting advertising media decisions.
10.3 Media Strategy
After studying this section, students should be able to do the following:
- List and describe the four forms of message objectives.
- Demonstrate how media planning is accomplished.
- Identify and explain the media planning analysis tools.
Message objectives take four forms that generally parallel the adoption life-cycle of the product:
Awareness is the first step in introducing a new product or brand to consumers or introducing an existing product to a new population of consumers.
Association means giving the consumer a clear, memorable reason to buy the product—associating the brand with a relevant quality. This reason is known as the unique selling proposition (USP), and is usually just one short sentence. For example, when FedEx first introduced its overnight package delivery service, its USP spelled out, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
Reminder messages help the consumer recall the brand and remember to buy the product again. Reminder is used for more mature products, especially seasonal ones. For example, 1-800-Flowers’s outdoor strategy works because “flowers aren’t something we contemplate frequently,” said Jodi Senese, executive vice president of marketing at CBS Outdoor.Quoted in “The Results Issue,” Brandweek, July 23, 2007, 28.
Persuasion tries to convince consumers of a mature product category to switch brands.
Media planning is the process of choosing one or more media vehicles to reach the target audience and achieve the message objectives. This means deciding which media vehicle to use, when to use the media vehicle, and where to use the media vehicle.
Planning decisions include audience selection and where, when, and how frequent the exposure should be. Thus, the first task for a media planner is to find out when and where people in the target market are most likely to be exposed to the communication. This is the aperture, the best “window” to reach the target market.
SS+K, msnbc.com, and The Media Kitchen worked through a few iterations of media plans before they settled on the final buy. As the lead agency, SS+K was responsible for ensuring that the paid media, nonpaid media, PR, and asymmetric efforts all contributed to the goals set out for the campaign.
One of The Media Kitchen and SS+K’s proposed media plans for the msnbc.com campaign. The different colors represent the different media and when they will launch.
Within the media agency, there are a few key people responsible for the planning and implementation of the campaign. The media planner strategically lays out the plan with standard media rates in the budget line. Once the plan is approved, the media buyer negotiates the rates and costs with the media sales representative. The media sales representative negotiates on behalf of the media, whether it be a rep from the Wall Street Journal, ESPN, or Rotten Tomatoes.
During the negotiation process, rates can change based on how much the advertiser will commit to, how long they will commit the funds, and other factors that support the business relationship. One thing that comes out of this for the advertiser is “added value.” Added value can be additional pages or runs in a particular medium; it can also be a survey or access to a medium’s database.
A common place for these negotiations to take place is the media upfronts. Starting in spring, media outlets will host parties and meetings with various media buyers, planners, and advertisers. Networks share their programming in order to excite advertisers about where their ads can air in the future.
Media vehicle choice is driven by market coverage, which is the extent to which a given media vehicle reaches the target audience. For example, local newspapers, radio stations, billboards, and direct mail campaigns are cost effective when they target a population that lives in a specific region, whereas national newspapers, TV, and online are better for nationwide campaigns. Specialized magazines and online media are particularly useful for target consumers who have specific interests. Online media also offers the advantage of real-time tracking—you know instantly whether consumers are clicking through to your site and how much time they spend at the site.
Market coverage tells advertisers what a specific vehicle can do for them, but that doesn’t mean that any one vehicle can do the whole job. Often, a media plan requires multiple media to achieve the advertiser’s goals. The media schedule outlines the planner’s best estimate of which media will be most effective to attain the advertising objective(s) and which specific media vehicles will do the most effective job.
When she creates the media schedule, the planner considers factors such as the match between the demographic and psychographic profile of a target audience and the people a media vehicle reaches, the advertising patterns of competitors, and the capability of a medium to adequately convey the desired information. The planner must also consider factors such as the compatibility of the product with editorial content. For example, viewers might not respond well to a lighthearted ad for a new snack food during a somber documentary on world hunger.
When she analyzes media, the planner assesses advertising exposure, the degree to which the target market will see an advertising message in a specific medium. Media planners speak in terms of impressions, the number of people who will be exposed to a message that appears in one or more media vehicles. For example, if fifty million people watch American Idol on Fox, then each time an advertiser runs an ad during that program, it gets fifty million impressions (clue: that’s a lot). If the advertiser’s spot runs three times during the program, the impression count would be 150 million (even though some of these impressions would represent repeated exposure to the same viewers).
Reach refers to the percentage of the target audience that is exposed to any of the media vehicles in the media plan during a specified time period. Choosing the media vehicle with highest reach means that more people will be exposed to the campaign. For example, if a media plan targets the roughly five million women who are eighteen to twenty-five years old, then a reach of fifty means that 50 percent, or 2.5 million, of the target audience will see at least one of the media vehicles in the media plan. Reach only counts viewers once. If a person sees the same ad multiple times in one medium, or even if they see the ad in different media, it still counts as only one person for the purposes of calculating reach.
A related term, frequency, refers to the average number of times that target consumers are exposed to the media plan. Frequency is important if the advertiser believes that consumers need multiple exposures to the campaign before buying the product or taking action. Achieving both broad reach and high frequency is very expensive—doubling the reach and doubling the frequency at the same time requires buying more than four times as many media impressions.
Say that a media planner wants to be sure her advertising for the Rockstar energy drink effectively reaches college students. She learns that 10 percent of the target market reads at least a few issues of Wired each year (that’s reach). She may also determine that these students on average are likely to see two of the ten ads that Rockstar will run in Wired during the year (that’s frequency). Now, she calculates the magazine’s gross rating points (GRPs) by multiplying reach times frequency, which in this case allows her to compare the effectiveness of Wired to that of alternative media vehicles. By using this same formula, the planner could then compare this GRP number to that of another magazine or to the GRP she would get if she placed an ad on TV or sponsored a Maroon 5 concert tour on college campuses.
Although some media vehicles deliver superior exposure, they may not be cost efficient. More people will see a commercial aired during the Super Bowl than during a 3:00 a.m. rerun of an old Will Ferrell movie. But the advertiser could run late-night commercials every night for a year for the cost of one thirty-second Super Bowl spot. To compare the relative cost effectiveness of different media and of spots run on different vehicles in the same medium, media planners use a measure they call cost per thousand (CPM). This figure reflects the cost to deliver a message to one thousand people. CPM allows advertisers to compare the relative cost effectiveness of different media vehicles that have different exposure rates.
Table 10.1 Cost Per Thousand Example
Cost per thousand (CPM) Calculation
ad cost × 1,000
Cost of 4-color ad in Sports Illustrated = $320,000
Circulation of Sports Illustrated = 3,150,000
CPM for Sports Illustrated ad =
$320,000 × 1000 = $101.59
To reach 1,000 Sports Illustrated readers
A media vehicle’s popularity with consumers determines how much advertisers must pay to put their message there. Television networks are concerned about the size of their audiences because their advertising rates are determined by how many viewers their programming attracts. Similarly, magazines and newspapers try to boost circulation (that explains all the free issues you get) so they can charge higher rates to their advertising clients.
Part of the media planning process includes keeping track of your target reach and frequencies so that you can measure success at the completion of the campaign.
See the results from msnbc.com’s effort later in Chapter 14 “ROI: msnbc.com Decides if the Campaign Worked”.
Buying Eyeballs: Length of Ads and Scheduling Strategies
Size matters: ad space costs money, so advertisers think carefully about the size of ads. Larger or longer ads cost more but provide more in terms of space to tell a story and exposure to catch the consumer’s eye. A double-page magazine ad is more noticeable than a half-page ad. Short or small ads allow more frequency, more reach, or a longer campaign—an advertiser can afford to buy many more impressions in many more media vehicles with a small ad.
Historically, TV advertisers only bought sixty-second spots. But allocating the budget to thirty-second or fifteen-second spots improves the advertiser’s reach. The company can reach more people and get a better reach frequency at a lower cost. Shorter spots may direct viewers to a Web site where they can get additional information. Still, sometimes longer is better. In radio, advertisers have found that longer ads work better than short ones: spots of forty-five seconds or more were more effective than shorter spots.Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab, “Radio Effectiveness and Execution,” March 2004, http://www.rab.com, by paid subscription (accessed February 12, 2009).
Media planners rely upon three basic scheduling patterns:
Continuity scheduling means spreading the media spend evenly across the duration of the campaign.
Flight scheduling alternates periods of heavy advertising with periods of no advertising. For example, Moët brand champagne traditionally uses flight advertising; it schedules the bulk of its advertising around the holidays and year end.
Pulse scheduling is a combination of continuity and flight scheduling. With pulse scheduling, advertisers maintain an ongoing low level of advertising to remind the consumers of the brand, interspersing heavy advertising around particular times of the year.
The Media Mix
Often one vehicle can’t accomplish all the goals of the campaign. For instance, no single vehicle might have the market coverage needed for the desired reach. Or it may be too expensive to achieve the desired frequency. Furthermore, some media vehicles lack the needed reach, are too expensive for the desired frequency, or are not effective for some aspects of the campaign. TV is expensive but lets the advertiser tell a good story about a new product. Magazines and print can reach specific demographics and deliver persuasive information. Billboards and other out-of-home vehicles are cheap and provide the reach and frequency to strengthen brand awareness and remind consumers of the product.
New media can stimulate buzz that spreads the message further. A recent report based on data from three thousand panelists in six major markets found that multiplatform advertising increases reach over individual platform advertising in a nonadditive way; in other words, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. When consumers are exposed to the same ad message on multiple platforms, the campaign’s effectiveness gets a bigger boost in awareness or intention to buy.“Cumulative Value of Multi-Platform Advertising,” Center for Media Research, July 17, 2008, http://www.mediapost.com/ (accessed July 17, 2008).
With not a lot of money to spend, the California Avocado Commission (CAC) created an integrated campaign to “reach the consumer wherever he or she might be—in the car, at work, at home, in the grocery store and at restaurants—with the ‘Irresistible California Avocado’ message,” said Jan DeLyser, CAC’s vice president of marketing. “All of the elements worked together to build brand awareness and strengthen demand for California Avocados.” The CAC used a combination of radio spot advertising, outdoor advertising, online banner ads, trade communications, public relations, POS (point-of-sale) materials, and a dedicated Web site.
To encourage retailers to put up an in-store display, CAC provided them with the POS materials. Retailers could then enter their display in a retailer-only challenge. Every qualified entry automatically received a $20 Amazon.com gift card, and five randomly selected grand prize winners were awarded an Apple 30GB iPod. Dozens of stores participated.
Results: the campaign generated millions of impressions and over a hundred thousand consumer entries to its game show–style “California Avocado Irresistible Challenge” to win a 2007 Toyota Prius.Quoted in “California Avocado ‘Irresistible Challenge’ Attracts Nearly 400K Web Hits,” Progressive Grocer, October 10, 2007, 1.
As media vehicles proliferate and consumers divide their time between TV, magazines, outdoor activities, computer games, etc., advertisers feel the need to diversify their media mixes. “You are going to see us more and more fragmented in our spending,” said Jim Stengel, P&G’s (recently retired) chief marketing officer. “We are spending a lot more on interactive and a lot more on mobile as that makes its way around the world. The trend of the past five years will continue, which is that TV advertising will go down as a percentage of our spending, and we will continue to move money to where the consumers are. The interesting news in all of this is that consumers are spending more time with media than ever. If the content is good, consumers will spend an awful lot of time with media.”Quoted in Geoff Colvin, “Selling P&G,” Fortune, September 18, 2007, http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/09/17/100258870/index.htm?postversion=2007090511 (accessed September 18, 2007).
SS+K pulls together its launch plan: the msnbc.com campaign aimed to reach News Explorers in ways that would get them to pay attention to the brand. The campaign combined elements of the paid media plan that were designed to increase reach and impressions above with elements of product enhancement (new logo, site design, screensaver) and nonpaid media (public relations, new and interesting asymmetric ideas).
SS+K’s launch plan for the msnbc.com campaign. Notice the many “moving parts” involved in coordinating paid media that we learned about in this chapter and other elements, including public relations (Chapter 9 “Choose Your Communication Weapons: SS+K Decides Upon a Creative Strategy and Media Tactics”), logo (Chapter 8 “Create a Strategy: SS+K Puts Its Research to Use as the Agency Creates the Brief”), and asymmetric ideas (Chapter 8 “Create a Strategy: SS+K Puts Its Research to Use as the Agency Creates the Brief”). It was important for the first branding campaign to have a big push in order to create noise in the marketplace.
Media planning is the process of choosing one or more media vehicles to reach the target audience and achieve the message objectives. In most cases the best plan combines several media platforms to ensure that the message breaks through advertising clutter. Media planners assess the characteristics of different media including their cost and effectiveness to decide upon an optimal mix. They use standard measures such as reach and frequency to compare apples and oranges (e.g., TV and billboards), though the increasing use of new media makes this comparison more difficult because industry standards have not yet evolved.
- List and describe message objectives.
- Demonstrate how media planning is done by advertising professionals.
- Define and discuss impressions, reach, frequency, gross rating points (GRPs), and cost per thousand (CPM).
TIE IT ALL TOGETHER
Now that you have read this chapter, you should be able to determine how to choose the right media for client messages:
- You can define media mix and media planning.
- You can list and characterize the traditional advertising media.
- You can compare and contrast the print media against the broadcast media.
- You can describe the usefulness of out-of-home media for carrying advertising messages.
- You can recognize the strengths and weaknesses of integrating sponsorships into a promotional mix.
- You can list and describe three forms of direct-response media.
- You can list and characterize new media forms.
- You can explain how advertisers might use new communication channels to solve advertising and marketing problems.
- You can characterize word-of-mouth (WOM), viral, and buzz marketing.
- You can explain how marketers and advertisers can use virtual worlds to bring messages to consumers.
- You can describe consumer-generated media (CGM) and its uses to advertisers and marketers.
- You can explain how social media and social networking sites can be used to advocate brands and brand messages.
- You can list and describe message objectives.
- You can demonstrate how media planning is accomplished.
- You can identify and explain the media planning analysis tools presented in the chapter.
USE WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED
Whether you use Amway products or not, you’ve most likely heard of this direct marketing organization. In 1999 Amway changed its U.S. name to Quixtar as a means to deal with increasing complaints and accusations that it was running a pyramid marketing scheme. The name change didn’t work, and Amway is now attempting a contemporary rebranding of its old Amway name. For more information on the company and its current promotions see http://www.amway.com for details.
Assume that your advertising agency has just been hired by Amway to rebrand the corporate name and provide a positive response strategy to address critics’ concerns. Develop a media strategy and plan for your rebranding idea. Outline your response strategy. Discuss your ideas and plans with peers.
Are you wearing a cool timepiece? Watches in all shapes and forms can be found in our society. One issue that is troubling to watch designers and manufacturers is the trend among youth to reject watches in favor of getting their time updates from cell phones or other personal data assistants. One company that is trying a unique approach to attract the fashion-conscious youth element is Xezo (see http://www.xezo.com for information). This company specializes in solid silver watches and timepieces, writing instruments, and eyewear.
Assume that your advertising agency has just been hired by Xezo to develop a “new media” campaign that will extend beyond their present media choices (e.g., magazines and Web site). Review the “new media” options and recommend a “new media” plan for the company. Describe the target market that is the focus of your plan. What message do you think the company should use if they were to follow your recommendation? Discuss your “new media” plan and message with peers.
Doing research on traditional and “new” media is not an easy task. How can advertisers and their ad agencies find up-to-date information on media rates and deadlines from media across the country? One of the most popular information sources for advertising professionals is Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS). According to information provided by the SRDS Web site, “The SRDS database of media and information is the largest and most comprehensive in the world.”
Go to the SRDS Web site at http://www.srds.com and review the information provided. Choose one of the information sources provided and see what you can find on media rates. Be sure to check out the information directed to students and educators. Once you have completed your review, summarize how you might be able to use this resource to find information on media rates. Lastly, using a search engine, see what other data services might be available to investigate media rates. Review and then compare and contrast a few of the more interesting alternatives you found. How does SRDS stack up against its competitors?
- Go to your local newspaper’s Web site. Once there, assume that you are an advertiser seeking to place an advertisement with the paper. Attempt to find the advertising rates, size restrictions, availability of color, and any other useful information for placing an ad. Evaluate your search experience. Evaluate the attractiveness of the newspaper’s rates.
- Go to at least one television and two radio station Web sites. Once there, assume that you are an advertiser seeking to place an advertisement with the television station and the chosen radio stations. Attempt to find the advertising rates, special advertising discounts, availability, market coverage, and demographic reached. Evaluate your search experience. Evaluate the attractiveness of the television and radio rates.
- Assume that you are applying for a marketing management job in direct marketing. The interviewer asks you the following questions: “If you were to take your list of friends, what would be the best way to reach them with a direct marketing message? How would you get their attention with the message?” The interviewer then says, “If you can be creative and answer my questions, you have a future in direct marketing.” Answer the interviewer’s questions and explain briefly what you have learned about direct marketing through this exercise.
- Using the “new media” described in the chapter, construct a media plan for introducing a new line of skateboards that allow the boarder double the surface speed of the skateboard. A new wheel design is the secret to the skateboard’s astonishing speed. Discuss your plan with peers.
As indicated in the chapter, “Product placement is also slowly but surely making its way into videogames. Advergaming brings real-world brands into the game.” On the surface this seems like a natural extension of product placements that we see every day in our TV programs, movies, and online surfing adventures. Adult gamers would think it unusual if the street scenes where high-speed chases and gun battles took place didn’t have billboards and signs that advertised real products. Should product placements in youth-oriented video games have stronger standards?
Assume one of two roles: (a) You are a proponent of product placements in video games, or (b) You are an opponent of product placements in video games. Develop an effective argument for your position. Remember that your argument must address the ethics of using product placements in youth-oriented games. Discuss your argument with peers. Debate the opposition.