I went to meet with a marketing director the other day for a cup of tea and a catch-up. He is an old colleague who now works for a large company, a household name who spend a lot of money on media. £100m per year to be precise and it turns out that whilst I could remember the endline for his campaigns with some prompting – it was written on every wall in their lobby…. I actually couldn’t think of one piece of comms that he has produced. £100m (or £2m per week) passed me by.
Which got me thinking. Am I ignoring advertising or am I just not being given the opportunity to see it. Surely if you spend £100m on advertising I should see some of it?? I can’t be so undesirable an audience that this rather large company doesn’t want me to be aware of everything that it has to offer. I mean I have money, a point of view, a few followers on twitter…my own teeth! If a company had spent that kind of money on advertising years ago I would have been able to recite the jingle word for word.
And of course everything has changed. The world has got noisier and more complicated. But people are still fundamentally the same and what I think is happening is that the core media planning skill that considers how people receive messages and that then creates a blend of the right channels at the right weights to the right audience resulting in action, purchase or behaviour change, has been pushed to the sideline. I’m not sure the first thing on the media agenda is how can I get people to really notice this? I think they are thinking about how many people can I reach efficiently?
We have become way too focussed on efficiency. Everyone will of course deny this, media agencies will sight lots of hard facts about how the campaigns they run are effective, but they really aren’t. Effectiveness is on the slide.
So, my one piece of advice is to start planning to be NOTICED, which might sound bloody obvious but with the latest stats suggesting that 90% of all comms are largely ignored then isn’t it our duty as an industry to ensure that the billions of pounds spent on media each year are at least remembered by some people.
Being noticed should be the job of everyone working in marketing. It should be the question on every brief –WHY WILL ANYONE NOTICE THIS?
Forget about reach. I’d rather have my brands noticed by some people than invisible to a larger number.
It seems like far too often great comms ideas have the life-force optimised out of them. The algorithm eats them and only highly targeted audiences get to see ideas that sometimes, if more people saw them, just might have the power to change a business.
Nils talked about bravery in creative. I think to get noticed we also need brave media planning. And that means making some tough decisions.
I think there are 3 ways to get your brand noticed.
1. Don’t be mean – go all in
We’ve looked at a lot of plans that aren’t wrong. But they are MEAN. They’re just a bit thin. They are planned around the minimum we can get away with spending rather than the best way to get noticed. Budgets are spread across too many channels, too many share-deals take a bite out of each plan. Clients end up with a bit of this….and a bit of that…and it all adds up to not much at all.
Focusing a budget on an area or a channel or being single-minded about an audience will all give your spend greater notice.
We worked with Uncommon on the launch of Collusion – a new range of clothing for 16-25 year olds. We went all in on that audience, didn’t give two hoots about general awareness just wanted to be noticed a lot by the right people. Majority of the budget went in social, but I wanted to share some of the thinking around the ATL stuff. We made a very small budget work really hard, identified two of the youngest cities in the UK – Manchester and Birmingham, worked out where students lived, worked and partied and then bought OOH along the bus routes that they used every day. Flyposters next to the bike-racks outside the Sainsbury’s in Fallowfield and the walls where the nightclub queues are every weekend. A great big building wrap in Piccadilly Gardens and two near the Bullring. The wall that looks into the beer garden of a student pub. Basically using a range of OOH covering lots of different shapes and sizes to create this corridor of impact that was impossible not to notice.
And we had to bat away the usual debates around – could we take some of the budget and have another City? NO What about London? NO.
Because the campaign won’t be noticed. The impact would have been significantly less.
Sales in both cities smashed the levels hit across the rest of the country. It was a fab launch. But it was even more fab in Manchester and Birmingham.
2. Get your role for comms right
We spend loads of time thinking about the articulation of the role for comms because it really matters. Getting it right will help you get noticed. Again we often see plans where the role for comms is generic things like drive awareness. First of all,
no shit. Second of all that doesn’t really help me to know what I need to do with media. A good role for comms should give direction.
As an example let’s look at Which? A brand that had got lost chasing people around the internet trying to get people vaguely thinking about buying something to take a subscription out. Grey created a brilliant brand thought around Keep Questioning, and we worked alongside them to develop the comms strategy, first picking a fight with someone (the first campaign we picked on Black Friday more recently we have been having a pop at Amazon and their fake reviews) and then our role of comms was to swagger, literally give it the large one in front of the enemy. So we swaggered in OOH and Print and Radio. Everything planned to gain maximum attention. Big OOH sites, Cover-wraps, and really good radio content with the Which? experts showcased their knowledge about consumer rites.
For the first time in years all metrics are improving and CPA is coming down. So swaggering definitely gets you noticed.
3. Showcase creativity
I think great ideas are often eaten by algorithms. This next example is one of those campaigns where this could have happened.
Craft got a call from Nils of uncommon about last year saying that he’d had an idea for Brewdog and could I help make it work in media. So I went to see him and he played me the Ad which you may have seen last year.
Media budget was about £50…..where could we run this. ???
They had been told that the most efficient place to ‘reach’ the target audience would be to run this on YouTube
We said ‘it only takes one spot to make a campaign famous.
Let’s buy five to be certain’
So we’ve picked a handful of spots that get the most social chatter – from Game of thrones to First dates – and have included the coolest cinema screens.
The reach numbers make no sense whatsoever. But it got noticed.
So much so that it didn’t just sell beer, it sold shares in the company.
We got the brand NOTICED rather than made an ad REACH people
So that’s my provocation.
Plan for NOTICE not reach.
Sacrifice numbers for stand-out.
Don’t be mean