TV Advertising Builds Brands that Last

October 27, 2009

Picture for Post #35

Let’s just cut to the chase? As it stands today, TV advertising builds brands. Internet advertising does not. There’s little doubt that once a brand is established, the Internet can and does keep the momentum moving forward, but until that point is reached all the banner ads and twitter tweets will do little to ingrain your brand into the psyche of the consumer.

Creating a memorable brand requires more than getting people to talk about your product on a social network. It requires the advertiser to make an emotional connection that television does so well.  Do you honestly think Nike would be the #1 sports brand if it wasn’t for television advertising?  Or would you feel the same connection with a little known insurance company if their AFLAC-ing duck never made its way onto your television screen? 

Sure technology has changed, but the basic rules of effective marketing remain the same. You still need reach and frequency to create most truly memorable brands.  And television advertising delivers both better than anything else out there.

Television has a rich history of transforming everyday companies into household names.  From packaged goods to insurance, from fast food to tires – television has been responsible for creating some of the most memorable advertising icons.

Who can forget …

The Energizer Bunny … Frank Bartles and Ed Jaymes … Joe Isuzu … Tony The Tiger … The Michelin Man … Mr. Whipple … Dave Thomas … Mr. Peanut … The Keebler Elves … The Maytag Repairman … The Geico Gecko … Charlie The Tuna … Ronald McDonald … Mrs. Olsen … Jared from Subway … Clara “Where’s the Beef” Peller … Orville Redenbacher … The Marlboro Man …Colonel Sanders … Pillsbury Doughboy … Chef Boyardee … The AFLAC Duck … The California Raisins … Morris the Cat … The Quaker Oats Man … The Green Giant … Juan Valdez … The Doublemint Twins … The Budweiser Frogs … Rosie, The Bounty quicker picker upper … Aunt Jemima … Mr. Clean … The Verizon Wireless “Can You Hear Me Now” Man … Betty Crocker … The Lucky Charms Elf … The Geico Cavemen

Now, recall just one advertising icon or brand that wasn’t first introduced to you on television.

I’ll wait …

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TV Advertising Share of Pie to Grow in 2010/11

October 23, 2009

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After a dismal 2009 for the ad industry, television should actually grow its overall share of the advertising revenue pie over the next couple of years. This coming from the ZenithOptimedia Groups report on the outlook on advertising in the U.S. marketplace.

According to the report, domestic ad spending in general will decline 12.9% this year and will erode another 4.4% in 2010.  But prospects for TV are a lot more encouraging. 

The agency expects television to return to growth next year.  In 2009 it is expected to take 39.3% of all ad revenues and increase to 39.7% and 39.9% in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

So let me get this right, with all the advertising choices out there – traditional and digital – television’s share of the pie is getting bigger not smaller?  How can this be?

The only explanation I can think of is that despite the talk of paradigm shifts and the world’s fascination with anything digital – there’s still enough advertisers, big and small, who are more persuaded by results than hype.

And at the end of the day folks – what else matters?

 

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No Surprise Here: TV Content is Still Watched on TV

October 23, 2009

Picture for Post #33A new report by research Horowitz Associates, that surveyed 800 nationwide multichannel TV customers, reveals that only 2% (or two hours per month) of all TV viewing in the U.S. comes from non-traditional TV devices. That means that the majority of people still prefer watching their favorite
                                                       programs the good old fashion way.

According to Horowitz, the 2% represents two hours of the 130.2 overall hours that U.S. TV viewers watch in a month.

But when consumers do watch online, the #1 device for non-traditional TV viewing is the laptop. The top video viewing websites are:

  • YouTube
  • ABC.com
  • Hulu.com
  • NBC.com

The top types of programs watched on alternative video platforms are:

  • scripted dramas 24%
  • news programming 14%
  • comedy shows 13%
  • sports 13%
  • sitcoms 11%

Horowitz says that of those surveyed, over one-third (36%) wish all their favorite shows were available online; another 30% wish all TV shows were available on handheld devices.

A smaller number of TV viewers (7%) said that if all or most TV programs were available on their computer, they would get rid of their TV service.

The majority, however, still prefer traditional TV viewing. Eight in 10 (79%) say they prefer to watch TV shows on a TV versus a computer or handheld device.

 

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How to Use Music in Retail TV Advertising

September 25, 2009

Music, in my opinion, is one of the most powerful yet underutilized tools in advertising.

Anyone who remembers the mid-70s also remembers:

Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a Sesame Seed Bun!!

Thirty years later I can still hum this old McDonald’s commercial. Times have changed, and trends in advertising music have definitely changed, but music’s role in advertising is as relevant as ever.

The biggest problem in today’s jingles is executions that push TOO HARD to make the viewer feel a certain way about the brand. Watching TV the other night, I saw a commercial for a local carpet store. At the end, a singer belts out gleefully:

JB factory carpets … the biggest … the best … always the lowest price!

I have to question whether I believe the singer’s sincerity. Is she really that happy about JB’s selection of fine carpets? Doubtful. And neither are the viewers.  It’s the classic mistake of an advertiser talking about themselves, rather than addressing the viewers wants from the viewer’s point of view. Or maybe it’s the trite use of “biggest and best” … which ranks right up there with other homogenous phrases like “we won’t be undersold.”

True, the old McDonalds piece is a list of what you get on a burger. But it had charm and invited viewers to participate in seeing whether or not they could remember the list. And most importantly, the singers never hit you over the head with a refrain of “limited time only.

Like many jingles in the 80s, the music painted a happy vibe that viewers associated with the brand. Remember Dr. Pepper’s “I’m a pepper, you’re a pepper”? And Toyota’s “I love what you do for me? Major advertisers haven’t forgotten how music can build brands …the executions have simply evolved.

Ba da ba-ba-ba … I’m Lovin’ It.

Indeed, I am. Here, McDonalds does it again. The music (and singers) establish an emotional connection with the listener, letting the Voice Over do the selling. The overall result is a commercial that reminds customers that McDonalds is more than just a value menu – but an experience you WANT to have.

Of course, there are times when the singer/music has to contribute a little more muscle within the message. Like singing the phone number for example. Just make sure the melody isn’t overly sappy if the lyrics are little more than a set of digits.

The music in this commercial humorously plugs the word “Free” 9 times within the span of 15 seconds. This is a perfect example of music conveying a very pointed message.

 

Here, a musical sting at the end of the spot reinforces the phone number. This is a more aggressive example of using music to achieve a very specific communication goal.

 

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The Art of Saying it all in a 15-Second Retail TV Commercial (and having it stick)

September 24, 2009

Yes, 15-second TV commercials are a wonderful tool for building media frequency. In fact, I’ve been a big proponent of them for years. And having been involved in the creation of hundreds of them, I can tell you they’re harder than 30s to pull off.

In developing the “creative idea,” focus on scenarios and situations that viewers can understand quickly. If they’re spending the entire commercial trying to “figure things out,” they’re not listening to your advertising message.

Since time is against you, it’s even more important to reinforce your brand along with the message. Consider finding ways to play up your brand’s colors … finding unexpected ways of integrating the logo … or dramatic moments that illustrate your point succinctly.

In short, things that will stick with the viewer long after the commercial has ended. 

Above all, PACE yourself. Make sure the message is clear from the beginning because you won’t have the time to repeat everything. Most 15-second commercials feel like 30s that were crammed into half the time. If your pace is too quick, all will be lost.

Below are 3 examples, each using a different technique. All are unique in their own way. Yet all establish the premise immediately and pace themselves carefully.

In this commercial for one of our financial services clients, we used the entire span of 15 seconds to take the viewer on a visual journey ending up at an unexpected visual element that reinforces the client’s brand.

 

Here, multiple cuts and scenes make this 15-second spot seem longer than 15 seconds. At the end, the brand is represented by its people.

 

In this more recent commercial for the same client, the actor delivers lines directly to camera in a simple monologue format –  while the “visual surprise” reveals itself in the window behind her.

 

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How a Splurge Can Give Your Retail TV Commercial Serious Creative Firepower

September 22, 2009

I’ll begin by stating the obvious: not everybody has the ad budget of a Fortune 500 company. But that doesn’t mean your creative can’t compete on a national level. You just have to make your production money work harder. 

Should you opt for an animated logo treatment? Custom music track? Film instead of video? A big name talent? You DON’T have to use them all to give your commercial serious creative firepower. They key is knowing what to splurge on.

By spending your money on one or two pricier components, the rest of your commercial production is elevated to a new level. Here are some examples where one or two splurges gave the TV creative national-caliber impact without a national-caliber budget.  

Here, the storefront footage already existed. All we did was resize it and add quotation marks, which was VERY inexpensive. However, we needed a special voice over talent to bring the commercial to life. We opted for Tom Sharpe, for his widely recognized voice and unique style of humor. He was the only expensive component (10 times the cost of your average voice over talent) but well worth the expense. 

 

Here, the custom music track and the animated logo treatment were the most expensive items (about $7,000 combined). However, these elements were used again and again in future commercials keeping long-term production costs down while keeping production values up.

 

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Retail TV and Your Website: Work Best When They Work Together

September 17, 2009

Picture for Post #24All too often I’m asked the question from retailers on where they should be investing their ad dollars:  TV or the Internet.  Folks this is not zero sum proposition.   If you’re not doing both – then you’re missing the boat.

 

 The formula for success is relatively simple, in my opinion:

  • Use TV advertising to engage, entice and persuade consumers to get more information about your product or service from your website. 
  • Once on your site, inform, educate and sell them on doing business with your company – either online or in person. 

Of course, if you’re product requires little explanation … then it’s plausible that prospects can and will respond to your TV offer with little need for a website visit.  But, don’t fool yourself, if you’re anything less than a household name (i.e. McDonald’s or Coke), potential customers will most likely want to check you out on the web before walking through your door.  And they better like what they see – within 5 seconds or they’ll exit your website immediately.

Believe it or not, even in the midst of today’s Internet explosion, there are still some retailers that don’t get it. I recently had a furniture store chain client whose only web presence was a simple splash page that included nothing more than store hours and addresses.  The client did not have a website.  And the really sad part – there was no hurry to get one.

The client’s explanation defied logic.  There was concern that people would judge the client by the website and then decide not to shop at the stores. No amount of pleading and prodding could convince the client to look at both the storefronts and website as one in the same.

Your company’s website should be a reflection of the experience customers get when they shop your stores.  It should be intuitive, interactive and INTERESTING. That’s the point my dear furniture retailer did not understand. 

A ton of TV spots won’t help if consumers become disenchanted when they land on your website.  

Despite the naysayers, people are still influenced by what they see on TV, but today they require more than just a 30-second commercial to help close the deal.  Make sure you’re giving it to them with an easy-to-navigate website that is more than an online company brochure. 

Remember:  “No media is an island.”

 

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The Retailers’ Guide to TV Media Buying Terms

September 3, 2009

Picture for Post #18If you find yourself glazing over every time your ad agency or TV rep starts talking about cost per points or PUT levels, then I have the perfect remedy.   

Just click on the link for a comprehensive glossary of over 150 retail TV advertising terms and definitions.

Glossary of Television

So the next time they start laying on thick with the TV media buying jargon – you’ll be more than able to hold your own.

Remember:  Knowledge is power.

Enjoy.

 

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Retailers: TV is More Engaging than Internet and Mobile

August 21, 2009

Picture for Post #11Although it makes common sense, it’s still nice to see a study that confirms what a lot of us already knew:  For retailers especially, television presents a more effective commercial environment than the Internet or mobile devices. 

A new report from the research firm NeuroFocus found that TV earns high marks for emotional engagement, message recall and intent to purchase.  While on the other hand, viewers of small-screen media (Internet and mobile) found the ad experience to be less immersive and not nearly as engaging as TV. 

“Emotional response appears to be tied to the way people use different media platforms,” said Clay Collier, Cable & Telecommunications Association’s VP of Research.

He adds, “TV is particulary good at striking an emotional cord and conveying a sense of novelty. If you want to draw someone in and create an immersive environment, TV is a better fit.”

“On the small screen (mobile devices), certain emotional triggers – facial expressions, for example – are somewhat undermined,” said Clay.

(Somewhat undermined? On a three inch cell phone screen, you’d be lucky enough to discern a face, let alone facial expressions.)

The study also found that TV and Mobile ads were particularly effective at prompting a sale.  Not so for Internet ads, which appear to require repeated exposure before eliciting a consumer response.

On the emotional engagement scale, Internet ads came in last by a wide margin. 

“It stands to reason that people who are less emotionally invested in your ad may be less likely to buy your product,” said Tim Brooks, a former Lifetime Network Research Director.

I told you this was common sense … 

 

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Are TV Ads Still Effective for Retailers?

August 17, 2009

50s TV commercialYou bet they are!

A study of 388 case histories by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) found that TV is not only effective, but it is possibly even more effective when it comes to increasing sales.

In today’s complicated world “TV ads help simplify the buying decision, said Joel Robinson,” ARF’s Chief Research Officer.

People want to zone out and watch TV and relax and let the communications wash over them. TV is an extension of the brand experience.”

Robinson said, the findings concluded that “units sold numbers increased as a result of increased TV impressions.” He added, “When you see it across 388 case histories, I think you’ve got to believe it.”

The report titled, Empirical Evidence of TV Advertising Effectiveness was an analysis of case histories gathered from seven different research agencies from 1990 – 2008.

The study also concluded that TV was #1 in terms of raising brand awareness.

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