EDITORIAL: Media buyers must rejig their World Cup strategy

Any objective referee in the World Cup grudge match between ITV and TV media buyers would be bound to conclude that both sides have fumbled the ball. With TV soccer audiences hitting higher-than-expected levels - almost 11 million Britons watched England’s victory over Tunisia - advertisers might have been expected to have been trampling each other in the rush to take advantage of the cheap airtime.

Any objective referee in the World Cup grudge match between ITV and

TV media buyers would be bound to conclude that both sides have fumbled

the ball. With TV soccer audiences hitting higher-than-expected levels -

almost 11 million Britons watched England’s victory over Tunisia -

advertisers might have been expected to have been trampling each other

in the rush to take advantage of the cheap airtime.



Not so. ITV has apparently got its fingers burned in attempting to

over-charge for World Cup airtime, turning off advertisers who preferred

to spend in April and May rather than be held to ransom. While ITV might

be said to have got exactly what it deserved, it has a point when it

argues that, by paying agencies fees rather than commission, advertisers

have encouraged sloth and complacency rather than the fleet-footedness

needed to take advantage of the short-term deals on offer.



The result is an absurd situation in which companies are foregoing an

unparalleled opportunity to reach two highly fickle categories - young

people and audiences normally hostile to advertising but attracted to a

sport moving upmarket. It all adds up to a compelling argument for

strategic media planning agencies to prod the TV buyers into seizing the

best opportunities as they arise.



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