Saturday, October 14, 2006

Advertise on TV Now: the Public is More Than Ready to Clean Out Your Holiday Inventory

According to an article by AP economics writer, Martin Crutsinger, consumer confidence is rebounding, and strong retail sales are forecast for the 2006 holiday season.

They may not be buying cars right now, but they're buying everything else. Dropping gas prices have given consumers more flexibility in spending, so they're hitting the retail stores. The overall drop in retail sales dollars is actually due to the dramatic drop in gas prices only, while consumers used some of the money they saved on gas to buy other items.

For businesses, this means that Fall 2006 is the time to remind the buying public of what you have to offer -- it's time to put your holiday special out there on TV. According to Crutsinger's article:

Excluding service stations, retail sales posted a solid increase of 0.6 percent, the government said, as consumers used the money they saved on gasoline to spend on other items.
"Households continue to empty their wallets at a very rapid pace," said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors, a private forecasting firm.
A second report Friday showed that consumer confidence, which had been depressed by surging gasoline prices, posted a strong rebound in October.

Note: The referenced article has a somewhat misleading title, but otherwise, is quite positive.

Consumer Confidence Soars - Yahoo News

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Big Guys Find TV "...Incredibly Effective"

TV is still first choice among the big brands. Here's an article from today's MediaPost discussing how major brands continue to use television, independent of other media, as well as in conjunction with a multi-media, or interactive, brand experience. That's just another way of saying it's on the tube, or on the tube and the web.

Advertisers Let Go Of Old Marketing, Hold On To Old Medium: TV

by Joe Mandese, MediaPost, Monday, Oct 9, 2006 8:00 AM ET

ORLANDO - BIG MARKETERS MAY be letting go of old marketing habits, but their media plans may be far slower to change than some may think. After telling a roomful of marketing peers gathered here that it was time for the industry to "let go" and accept a fundamental shift in the relationship between the consumer and their brands, P&G Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley went on to articulate the packaged goods giant's media strategy for doing so. Ironically, it is one that continues to put a very traditional medium - television - at the top of its plan. "Frankly, it's where we continue to invest," Lafley conceded, emphasizing, "It's incredibly effective."

"The consumer is clearly in control, but occasionally, the consumer let's us in," he said, implying that it was the job of big marketers to better understand how to use the medium to find a way in, rather than turn their backs on television altogether.
The power of television was echoed during a presentation on Friday by Linda Kaplan Thaler, the agency chief who could easily have doubled as a stand-up comic in her delivery of a send-up on the death of the 30-second TV commercial. Her point: The :30 is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.

In fact, retail giant Wal-Mart likes TV so much, that its marketing chief used his presentation to clandestinely pitch Wal-Mart TV, the retailer's massive in-story TV network, a channel that reaches an estimate 150 million viewers each month at a time and in a place that could have great influence on purchase decisions. Wal-Mart Senior Vice President-Marketing Stephen Quinn dubbed it the "critical last ten yards," and said marketers like P&G call it "the first moment of truth."

Quinn added that Wal-Mart is planning to deploy new digital technology - IPTV, or Internet Protocol Television - within its TV network in an effort to make it even more effective. The technology, he said, would enable advertisers to "deliver the most relevant message" to specific locations within Wal-Mart stores.

The centerpiece of Sony Electronic's impressive flat-panel market entry also was based on television, albeit one with an interactive component. To deliver the dual message of its new Bravia TVs, which are aimed simultaneously at men and women, Sony ad shop McKinney recently broke a series of ads on TiVo that allow men and women to select alternate gender-skewing endings.

While TV continues to be paramount in the media plans of most major marketers, some said they are beginning to shift away from it, or at the very least, are beginning to use it differently.

While Burger King has jumped into new media, Russ Klein, president of global marketing, strategy and innovation, said it is "not some bleeding edge risky move." He showed plenty of online viral-oriented efforts such as the fast-food giant's celebrated "Subservient Chicken" site, but most of what he presented revolved around its kitschy TV campaign featuring its King character. However, he said Burger King is using the campaign to generate PR and viral buzz that is designed to "generate social currency."

And while he did not reveal Hewlett-Packard's overall media plan, Vice President-Brand Marketing Gary Elliott did note that the technology marketer has shifted toward "media that is a genuine part of" his brand's lives. He said that over the past 12 months, HP's online ad spending has risen to 30 percent of his budget from 11 percent.

Joe Mandese is Editor of MediaPost.