This week our correspondent considers the comparison between digital marketing and “above the line” television advertising. Typically television advertising exists in a glamorous world, far loftier than us mere mortals in direct marketing, but we think they’ve got some work to do.

A traditional Saturday morning treat for yours truly is to lock myself away from the rest of the family and, armed only with a plate of vegemite on toast (it must be Vogel’s sunflower and barley, all free samples can be forwarded to me via the office) and a vat of tea, to watch the Super XV rugby from New Zealand.

As you may or may not be aware, this somewhat niche delight is only available on Sky TV (all free subscription offers, see above). During the Rugby, Sky carry half time adverts which, when using the TV in the lounge, can be fast forwarded through with a certain degree of alacrity.

On a recent Saturday morning, an issue arose due to the fact that my better half was, at the same time, working through a list; doing some on-line banking, feeding the dogs, reading a book cover to cover, solving the Arab-Israeli conflict and finalising Britain’s exit from the EU. This was all before 9am, and carried out while also waiting for child number one’s arrival to head out for brunch. Sport had no place in these arrangements and I was banished to watch the second television. Which, sadly, has no fast forward facility.

In between listening to the sage-like utterances of the Antipodean demigods that are Messrs Lynagh and Fitzpatrick, I then had to sit through the adverts. As child number two would say: “OMG!!!!!”

There was the usual dross from the parasitic, ambulance chasing, injury lawyers. An absolutely bizarre aftershave effort that assured me that if I slapped on a little bit of their latest “Eau De Manchester Ship Canal” by Jean Yves Coco Gaultier, both I and my better half would instantly turn into The Hiddlestone and Taylor Swift, spending the rest of our lives in romantic bliss.

Then there were two that made me genuinely slack jawed.

The first one was on behalf of a large Japanese car firm that was flogging their latest super mini. Now when they were making the styling prototype for this abomination it was obviously done by a blind man moulding clay using only a cast iron skillet and a boxing glove.

They then powered it with an engine lifted directly from a low grade Bolivian food processor, circa 1971, that is so puny you can measure the 0-60mph time using a sundial.

The unbelievable ‘schtick’ for this conceited piece of twaddle was that the impossibly attractive young couple driving this pile of blandness were using it as a getaway car and that the car was the ‘accomplice’. If you tried to use this in such a fashion you would be arrested by coppers on mobility scooters and rightly banged up by Her Majesty for sheer stupidity. The only bag this was built to carry has the word Lidl, Sainsbury’s or Morrison’s emblazoned on the side as opposed to the word swag!

The second offering, depending on your point of view, is either sheer genius or hugely annoying, but never anything other than memorable (perhaps that’s the point).

Imagine the situation, you are the Marketing Director for a new comparison website specialising in insurance. You arrive at your advertising agency, frappuccino, muffin and pretzel in hand. You are greeted by the Account Director and the Creative Team who have an idea for the upcoming TV campaign that they want to pitch to you.

The premise is that they take two dolls fashioned on small animals that live almost exclusively in the Kalahari Desert in Africa, they dress them up in human clothes, give them Russian names. They then want to place these two ‘male’ figures into a pastiche of the roles played by Winslett and DiCaprio in one of the biggest tear jerking/nauseating films of the past twenty years.

No pressure, there is only a few million quid and the success of your brand and marketing career at stake. Is it a “Yes, I believe in this and I will bet the farm on it!” or a “No” and said Marketing Director disappears with rest of the passengers on the stricken liner. It’s a tough gig being a Marketing Director!

These adverts illustrate the conundrum for television advertising; given the variety of people and profiles that are likely to be watching the rugby on that Saturday morning, how do you target effectively, without eliciting ridicule, bemusement or apathy?

Marketing Directors in the publishing sector had a similar challenge; Rupert Murdoch famously went to Steve Jobs at Apple to ask for profiling data to find out more about the customers that were using the Times app. Steve told him no, because you’re rubbish at profiling and I don’t think you’ll best serve the customer. (I’m paraphrasing, of course). RM went away and looked at how to improve the relevancy of the app based on user profile, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Times app, and the Daily Mail (much as it pains me to throw any compliment their way) do an excellent job at providing value to customers with relevant content based on their profile. This helps consumers to access content more quickly, and see advertising that’s more relevant to their interests.

Television advertising budgets are already under scrutiny as marketing seeks to be more measurable and relevant to customers. It will be interesting to see how the television technology could develop in time beyond the current Neilsen capabilities, perhaps tagging who’s watching in order to provide more relevant advertising.

Ask yourself these questions; can I make my budget work harder for me? Can I make my existing data work harder for me? Can I improve my ROI? Is there something new in the market that I should be exploring?

If the answer to any of the above is Yes, then you need to speak to the team at Callimedia who will help you find creative and cost effective solutions to the challenges that all DM companies face in these most uncertain of times.

Sorry but must go now, still got the second half to watch and there is somebody knocking at the door…..


Get in Touch

Every new relationship starts with a conversation, talk to us to see how we can help you.

Go to Top