Considering how fragmented the media landscape has become, it amazes me when I see planners still trying to sell in schedules where the majority of media spend is concentrated in TV. Time and again, I hear the same worn arguments for this approach – “This is the only way we’ll achieve frequency and recall”, “A 40″ TVC will achieve good cutthrough and get our audience talking”, “The client only understands TV and press so we have to give them the plan they want”.
Yes, I’m being controversial, I know.
Call me jaded, but isn’t the point of media and advertising to sell clients’ products? And aren’t we supposed to find the most effective routes to selling our client’s products? So when average folk are hooking their computers into their TVs to watch the BBC iPlayer and using their PVRs to fast-forward through advertising, the ‘buy as many ratings and exposure as possible’ model becomes completely outdated in this age of engagement, interaction, conversations and content. You have to ask whether this model is really what’s going to sell products and services.
And what happens once you’ve blasted your audience with your message? Think of how many times you’ve said to your friends that you’re genuinely sick of seeing a certain TV ad and how annoying you’ve found it. What happens if there’s been no further communication from the brand apart from the ‘big’ TV campaign and a few press ads? All you’re left with is a negative feeling about the brand that you’ve passed on to your friends.
There have been many planners that have posted about a better, more integrated, more engaging way of communicating and advertising, so I won’t retread old ground. My question here is: How do we educate the planners who are afraid to push back on clients, the planners who are so stuck in their ways and the planners who produce the least challenging schedules possible?
There isn’t a one-sized fits all solution but the trend towards integrated planning and integrated media agencies is a good one. This ends the money grabbing of the individual departments and begins a focus on providing a solution that best fits the client’s business and marketing objectives. A ‘Team Client X’ works much better than a ‘Team Press’, ‘Team Digital’ and a ‘Team Planning’.
There is also the question of passion. Given that we work in such a dynamic, exciting and fast-moving industry, it’s frustrating to see people who are clearly disengaged and treading water working on important pieces of business. Acknowledging that you can’t force people to feel passion, I think it’s important to have senior people working in each planning team who are completely passionate, excited and engaged in the process and the task of creating the most effective and exciting campaign possible for clients. If they’re passionate enough, then this will trickle down to the rest of the team and should result in much better and more effective planning.