I once got happy with a rather important client who admitted that
the world of TV trading remained a complete enigma, even after 15 years
as a marketer - a sad reflection on clients and agencies alike.
It took the whole TV trading debacle of last year to make clients admit
all was not well in the world of media buying. And, almost a year since
the first rumblings against the current system, the Incorporated Society
of British Advertisers last week held its own debate on the issues.
What’s clear from the seminar is that advertisers are now feeling more
empowered to ask questions of their media buyers and challenge the
jargon that has maintained the veil over the real deal dynamics. The
market needs clearing up, seems to be the message.
But perhaps - beside the greedy media owners and media buyers - there
are other villains in this piece who have yet to be fingered: the
clients themselves. How many advertisers are keen to stoke up debates
about TV trading to justify their role in life? And how many clients
with the word ’media’ on their business card go into overdrive to catch
the latest bandwagon which will raise their own profile with their
bosses and prove they’re doing their bit to improve margins?
My drinking partner never bothered to really understand the TV market
because he didn’t need to. He had recently shifted his media buying
account, on the face of it saving his company money, and he was looking
around for his next job. Why bother?
By remaining wilfully ignorant for so long, while at the same time
driving down media costs to murderous levels, many advertisers have
helped to create the TV trading monster that drives the market of today.
Now that ISBA has got the debate going, it’s time to strip out all the
vested interests. ISBA’s members have their own agendas which must not
be allowed to dictate the direction of change.