Media: Double Standards - The innovative media offerings for a man's world

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 10 October 2008 12:00AM

On TV or in print, it's a constant battle appealing to blokes. The TV channel Dave and the free weekly ShortList are two outlets that are winning the fight.

KARL MARSDEN - MANAGING DIRECTOR, SHORTLIST

- What audience do you target?

Affluent urban-based executives. The facts from our two major reader surveys are: 18- to 40-year-old ABC1 males. The majority are in a relationship but don't have kids yet. Their lifestyles reflect the big attitudinal differences between them and traditional men's magazine readers. They're ambitious; they have careers, not jobs. Our readers are voracious consumers of entertainment: gigs, DVDs, cinema and gaming are all core leisure activities.

- What does it offer that's innovative for advertisers?

Anyone working in the paid-for magazine sector knows that it is increasingly hard to reach men through the traditional newsstand route. By no means impossible, but certainly harder. ShortList is innovative in many ways, but the key innovation is that we quite literally "took the mountain to Mohammad". We've created a quality weekly general interest magazine for men, with a national footprint that reaches men where they work, travel and socialise. The key benefit for advertisers is that we're offering the magic combination of an aspirational environment, alongside unparalleled reach.

- What are the editorial/programming highlights you're offering right now?

Recent exclusives include the only sit-down interview with Manchester City's new £32 million signing Robinho, first pictures of Citroen's astonishing new GT, first views of games such as Football Manager (the world's biggest PC game) and Gears of War 2. And, just to emphasise our breadth of content, watch out for this week's issue for which we've secured an exclusive interview with Sir Richard Branson.

- How much have you moved into areas beyond spot advertising, such as ad-funded programming and other branded content?

Being a "freemium" pioneer, ShortList has an obvious and understandable vested interest in delivering rich, engaging advertising solutions for agencies and clients. We've worked on everything from innovative fractional ads, and bespoke four-page coverwraps, through to cross-platform solutions and brand-to-hand sampling, via our unique, nationwide street distribution. As long as it's on brand, and of interest to our readership, then if you can think it, we'll try to find a way to deliver it.

- How would you describe the wider conditions of market you're operating in at the moment?

It's a shorter market at present. However, I think everyone is motivated to continue to advertise and build brands with one eye on the mid- to long-term picture. History shows that brands that continue to invest during times of slower economic growth always benefit from a much bigger market share when the economy picks up. Our role as media owners is to make sure we are delivering maximum return on investment for the marketers.

- Which recent ads have really fitted in with your channel's offering/environment?

Recently some of the work we've enjoyed would include: O2 for its entrepreneur X Awards, Bear Grylls by Craghoppers, King Of Shaves' Azor launch, Budweiser's new campaign, Warner Bros for The Dark Knight and I think the Virgin Media display campaign looks great.

- Which other media do you most enjoy?

What Car?, Men's Fitness, The Week, Metro, The Observer. Jonathan Ross on BBC1 and Radio 2, a bit of Dave, Dexter on FX, and my two boys mean I have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the Sky Kids EPG channel - WWE is bigger than ever.

MARTIN PLANT - EXECUTIVE SALES DIRECTOR, IDS

- What audience do you target?

The core audience is 16- to 44-year-old men and Dave is the joint largest multi-channel channel with this audience. On average, 25 million people watch Dave every month. For fans, it isn't just a TV channel but a surrogate for being down the pub with their amusing mates - only here their mates are Stephen Fry and Paul Merton.

- What does it offer that's innovative for advertisers?

Dave is a rich ground for advertisers, largely due to its clearly defined remit. All of the content, be it acquisitions or commissions, has at its heart the channel's ethos of witty banter. It offers a unique, focused environment delivered cross-platform, offering spot, sponsorship, online and the added value of association with the Dave phenomenon. Dave provides advertisers with important effective coverage, delivered via scale, targetability and environment.

- What are the editorial/programming highlights you're offering right now?

Later this month, we have the launch of Argumental, a brand new panel show that encourages a heated argument. Some of Britain's best comedians will get stuck into key global debates from "there aren't enough celebrity magazines" to "the credit crunch is no bad thing". Dave will also be reuniting the whole cast of Red Dwarf with four new shows featuring a hilarious mix of archive and new material.

- How much have you moved into areas beyond spot advertising, such as ad-funded programming and other branded content?

As we are evolving our business model to satisfy customer requirements in a cross-platform environment, we recognise the value of new ways of introducing advertiser brands to our consumers. We have had our first ad-funded programme on Dave this year, Red Bull X-Fighters, and we are involved in many discussions about future content. Having both a channel and commissioning team who are keen to work with brands is a huge advantage, and Dave's strong brand identity and desirable audience makes it an obvious choice for advertisers.

- How would you describe the wider conditions of market you're operating in at the moment?

As a land of opportunity for our customers.Yes, TV ad revenues will be down this year but every other medium (online aside) would love to be in our position. People are watching more commercial TV now than in the past five years, as we continue to offer our viewing customers both broader and segmented choice with a growing window of availability to view. Our advertising customers benefit from better targeting and increased engagement, giving better value for their campaigns.

- Which recent ads have really fitted in with your channel's offering/environment?

Humorous ads such as Lynx or Peperami fit in well, as does Stephen Fry in the Twinings ads (although not near QI obviously!). Cobra Beer is perfect and complements its sponsorship of peak shows on Dave.

- Which other media do you most enjoy?

On Dave, I watch Top Gear with my son and the excellent QI. Elsewhere, I watch Next Top Model with my daughter, The Riches, F1, golf, football on Setanta and Newsnight.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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