Want a Showstopper Execution?

In today’s post, I share with you an article on showstopper executions written by the Research Director of Omnicom Media Group Philippines.

 

Want A “Showstopper” Execution?

Dan Ryan Catalan

A “showstopper” that’s what you call an advertising execution that is sweeping off the feet of many advertising practitioners.  It’s a sensational feat for an advertising agency for its brainchild to create public buzz or trend online.  It’s the kind of execution that gets told over and over, even a decade after as reference for best ad-campaign practices.

Given a thousand ways to skin a cat, the “best way” for some advertising practitioners is the most “innovative”, most “creative”, most “revolutionary” and other synonymous buzzwords in the advertising vocabulary.  Why not, even marketing practitioners can’t help but to marvel and be envious of these ingenious executions paraded in mass media.

On the flipside, it is also these coveted wows, which trigger to jump the gun on executions.  With so much excitement on a spontaneous idea, there is a tendency to pre-empt the planning process.  In some cases, the execution becomes a blinder, rendering the insights and strategic process as mere support or embellishment, and worse, a pro-forma.

Nonetheless, seasoned communication experts can discern.  Omnicom Media Group CEO, Nic Gabunada explains… “Off-hand, it won’t be fair to discount the creative process that agencies go through.  But it makes you think when the execution starts outshining the brand.  You may praise the agency that came up with the brilliant execution, but the brand ends up with the shorter end of the stick”.  He adds, “You can tell if the campaign is about awards or if it’s an authentic brand communication.”  This happens with advertisers naively falling into the game, too eager to be the brand that comes up with “next-in-thing”.

It is no secret that the process involving a total communications plan is long and arduous.  It involves multiple translations of thoughts—from consumer behaviour and brand equities to insights, from brand strategy to a creative material, from a creative handle to a media idea, from a media idea to executions.  Many times, the brand or marketing objectives get lost in translation.

Here are five nifty tips that marketing practitioners can employ to keep executions on track:

  1. Wear Your Brief Tightly:  Keep the brief printed and on-hand in every meeting and brainstorming session to keep tab of the brand objectives.
  2. Be The Consumer:  Compose your insight statements or insight setup for your advertising concepts, personally expressed from the target market’s point of view.   Of course, insights do not normally come straight from a consumer’s mouth, but stating the insights in the first person’s point of view will keep you consumer-oriented on your next steps.
  3.  Walk forward:  Working backwards starting from creative executions to consumer insight and brand objectives is a force-fit, and would not likely bring about a genuine consumer connection.  Insights about the brand and consumer should be the core of a strategy, not a creative idea.
  4.  Involve the Brand:  Always include the brand in crafting your strategy or concept statements. This should ensure that the brand is the focus of the plan or strategy.
  5.  Visualize the Media Idea / Strategy:  Creative handles are sometimes difficult or impractical to translate to media executions. Planners need to express the communication objective in an actionable/execution-oriented media idea.  However, this can steer one away from focusing on the brand.  Hence, a media idea or strategy statement should be supported by a “media concept”.  This concept articulates a clear vision on how the brand and its message will travel through different channels and reach the consumers effectively.

Impressive executions may be an advantage in cutting through the media clutter and amplifying brand messages, but an execution that is hollow on strategy and insight will be short in offering something substantial for the audience to sink their teeth into.

 

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Cutting Cable

In today’s post, I give way to an article released for public consumption by the research group of OMG Philippines. It talks about cable advertising, why some clients are still hesitant to include these in their media plans and argues that there are several reasons why it makes sense to put some investment on this medium.

 

Cutting Cable?
Relevance of Cable TV Advertising

What makes TV advertising so great is that media planners are able to plan for the best channel and program combinations, and report projected deliveries with the confidence of numbers. This is because of the sophisticated TV audience measurement being provided by Nielsen and Kantar Media. To this day, TV audience measurement is the most sophisticated media metrics, with 24/7 events monitoring and minute-by-minute viewership logging. Unfortunately, too many cable channels spread the limited cable panels (respondents) too thin to come up with a decent rating.

The highest rating Cable program among cable homes reaching 4.6% is lower than the margin of error of 5%* for the reporting household (panel homes), rendering any cable ratings irrelevant and immaterial as far as statistics is concerned. The low turnout in cable viewership casts doubt among some advertisers against the effectiveness of the medium in delivering brand communications to target audience.

Almost always, it finds its way under the scrutiny of advertisers who are having doubts on Cable TV’s contribution being compared to significant deliveries of its “Big Brother” (Free TV), which begs the question, whether to cut-down or totally cut-off cable TV placements. When in contrast, at 24% viewership, Cable TV is far more significant compared to print readership figures – broadsheet 12.7%, tabloid 13.3% and magazine 3%1.

Much as Nielsen offers other variables to make sense of the cable TV figures, throwing in Affinity, Adhesion, Loyalty, etc., we cannot deny that cable TV is a parcel of a total TV plan. We took the point of view of 4 key officers of OMG Philipines, and this is what they have to say on the matter:

  • Lisa Obispo, Head of Trading and Accountability for Omnicom Media Group: “Cable TV can pull down the overall efficiency of media buys, if not carefully planned.” Further, she adds ““When it comes to Cable TV, you have to look beyond the numbers. Communications planning is not about reaching the widest audience – it is about delivering brand communications clearly.”
  • Carla Cifra, General Manager of OMD Philippines: “Media planning is not only about a medium that can deliver the greatest number of impressions. OMD believes that an effective medium is one that serves the need-states of the target audience, and cable TV delivers strong in that aspect via programming that is tailor-fitted to the interest of the audience.”
  • MeAn Bernardo, General Manager of PHD Media Network: “We had to unlearn the old and traditional top programs or shop-list planning. In PHD, we always try make our media plans hard working by placing in channels where we can amplify the brand’s message by finding a good fit between the tone and value of the our message, and the value and characteristics of a particular medium to the audience. In that respect, the clear cut identity and programming of Cable Channels will be very helpful.”
  • Fen Marquez, General Manager of M2M Advertising: Communication planning is not only about garnering TARPs but generating demand for our clients’ brands. Our principle in M2M is to employ key vehicles with strong influence over the target market, and this is where Cable TV can be very reliable. Undoubtedly, Cable TV channels commands strong influence on the variety of interests that our target audiences are engaged in.”

We have identified some facts in support of cable TV in instances when its relevance is being put to question.

  • Pinpoint Targeting: Cable TV allows advertisers to reach target audiences squarely with tailored programming to serve the specific interest of certain niche segments of the population.
  • No brand flood: Cable TV is 45% less cluttered than FTV2. Less brands flooding the TV screen offers better branding and execution cut through for efficient memory hard-wiring.
  • Focused viewing: Cable TV has 12% less break minutes compared to FTA channels2, and break duration is likewise shorter by 50%. This means more content that viewers wanted to watch and less intrusive commercial breaks bringing more comprehension of brand communication.
  • Creative flexibility amplifies message: Most Cable media owners are more receptive to agency initiated executions, and allows collaboration between them, the brand, and the media agency for the most fitting approach.
  • Property ownership: With a ratio of 20:1 between Cable TV’s P28,000.00 versus Free to Air’s P573,000.00 per 30s rate card cost, advertisers are able to claim “ownership” of particular program airing on Cable TV. This allows strong association of the program with the brand, by having a common venue – creating affinity between consumer and brand.

Cable TV spots grew by 90% from 2010 to 2012, compared to only 16% for FTA1, which shows the growing appreciation of Cable TV advertising. The medium continues to evolve adopting new technology like digital and HD reception, pay-per-view programming, satellite facilities, etc.

There is always security in numbers, but in getting ahead, advertisers and media planners need innovative thinking and a lot of guts to take advantage of the unique characteristics of Cable TVs highly-specialized programming, niche targeting feature, minimal ad clutter, and flexibility of executions.

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