Thursday, September 14, 2006

Intolerable Cruelty

After watching every ad break during last week's screening of Intolerable Cruelty on Channel 10 being cluttered by 30 second ads from just about every FMCG brand in the world, I had a thought......Catherine Zeta Jones is the most beautiful woman in the world.

Then I had another thought. For all the talk we hear every week in our two trade publications from media agencies with their proprietary models, channel planning expertise, 'we think differently here', masters of all things to do with media etc, everyone still seems pretty content to run with the stock standard 30 second ad on Movie of the Week.

I'm not saying it's the wrong option. But amongst the clutter it could be argued that it's generally a low risk, low return strategy.

Media agencies aren't the sole drivers here either. After all, a client always presses the green button. It's often easy to point the finger of narrow mindedness that way.

A while ago when I was consulting for an FMCG client, a presentation was made by the team at Yahoo/7/Pacific about the benefits of an integrated media approach across TV, print, direct and web. It all looked and sounded pretty good but the case studies didn't carry a lot of weight. Who cares if Brand Awareness went up 14%. What did it do to sales? (and I mean substantial data, not "sales up 8%!").

For FMCG's, it will take a lot of convincing that TV isn't the best medium to advertise in. Mainly because it often works OK. Secondly, it can be measured. Thirdly, it sounds good to the Managing Director when the Marketing Director talks about how much the media agency has saved the company in the start of year TV network negotiations.

I spoke with the Yahoo/7 guys afterwards and suggested that we negotiate a big chunk of free integrated media for an upcoming launch if I supply them with a robust, meaningful and substantial case study of the launch that they could use to onsell. A win-win.

Nothing confidential - the competitors will get all the same info from Aztec. But a good analysis speaks volumes.

Maybe we could do a test market. For instance, try no TV in one state. Or more mags in another state. Run a web campaign in burst 1 and not burst 2 etc. Get some real measurement on the impact on base sales using different integrated approaches.

They were all ears. Well, the rest of their bodies were there as well, but they listened intently.

The Yahoo/7/Pacific team were all ears

After highlighting the opportunity, I left this in the hands of the media agency to negotiate as part of the planning process for the launch, which lent itself to a fully integrated approach.

Nothing ever came of it. I don't even think it was ever thought of as a valid option.

When the plan came back it was very safe. No test markets. No additional outside the box options to consider. No significant savings on media costs. No sign of how we could leverage the offer I put forward.

Then Intolerable Cruelty came back on and I got to look at Catherine for another 8 minutes.

Amazingly, CZJ's eyes will follow you around the room

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