The Pitch: Cadbury adds meaning to out, out *** spots
as reported in the NZ Herald
By ALISTAIR TOLMIE
Bravo Cadbury. In case you missed it, last Sunday Cadbury was responsible for bringing the first Lord of the Rings film to free-to-air with no commercials.
How refreshing. It sat well with the broadcaster; it’s a long film without the ad breaks. And it sat well with viewers.
The measurement of its value is an interesting exercise, sure it’s a comparative subtle form of TV advertising but it did get noticed, which is not that easy on television.
Mostly people edit advertising out of their lives and television is no exception – more than half of NZ television viewers skip channels when that station promo signals the start of an ad break.
Males are worse offenders than females and, for young males, it climbs to over 70 per cent.
Even if you were to watch half of all the ad breaks at average viewing levels, you’re still going to cop around two hours of advertising in a week – around 200 spots.
What a volume. No wonder most people are hard pressed to remember the ads in an ad break. How do you stand out as the sixth spot in an ad break of 10?
I’m certainly not saying that television doesn’t work – it does. I’m saying let’s have a moment of clarity here – let’s park terms like “effective frequency” and “1+ reach”, sure these terms tell you about the nature and weight of advertising exposure, but they are a long way away from what happens when real people watch television.
As a marketer, you’ve probably heard this sort of thing from your media planner: “Your budget can afford six maintenance weeks of television activity at 100 tarps (target audience rating points) per week at 60 per cent 1+ reach and an average frequency of 1.7 times.”
What does this really mean? We all know that nothing works in isolation. Let’s step out from adhering to standard reach and frequency goals – let’s treat them with secondary importance.
Why buy 100 tarps in a week, why not trim it to 75 and invest the savings in something different?
Let me ask you a question. In the currency of TV tarps what was the commercial-free broadcast worth? 100? 300? Tough question, but I’m going to guess you saw the true-first-in-break TV2 promo spots, you and your family might have even been treated to the event of a non-commercial FTA broadcast of a Kiwi film.
Part of the answer to the above question may well be “How many other TV campaigns did you specifically notice last week?”
There’s a balance between spots and achieving impact outside of an ad break, sure, and there’s benefit for both forms but as the cost of media increases we have a responsibility to hunt down different but effective means of standing apart.
* Alistair Tolmie is the managing director of Media Wise, a media planning and buying group.
* The Pitch is a forum for those working in advertising, marketing, public relations and communications. We welcome lively and topical 500-word contributions.