Media: Double Standards - 'TV is the best medium to market most things'

For the first time, Thinkbox is being advertised on TV. Lindsey Clay hails the benefits of the medium, while Alan James fights for outdoor and explains how it is evolving.

LINDSEY CLAY - MARKETING DIRECTOR, THINKBOX

- With the launch of a TV ad for Thinkbox, do you agree that using your own medium is the best way to market it?

TV is the best medium to market most things (perhaps even outdoor), not just itself. Many online brands have become market leaders using TV - even Google is dipping its toe. Nothing else comes close to TV's effectiveness, so it should earn top spot on any marketer's wishlist - especially now it's better value than ever. But brands cannot live by TV alone. We strongly believe in integration at Thinkbox. "TV and ...", not "TV or ..."

- How can traditional media compete with online in terms of innovation?

Currently, the biggest, most exciting innovation online is the arrival of TV. It is wrong to view TV and online as competitors. They are entirely complementary. TV equals content and online equals distribution. A benefit of online is it gives a better idea of TV advertising's impact via Youtwitbook et al.

- With the increase in importance of targeting for advertisers, won't mass media lose out?

TV establishes brands overnight and the value of that to advertisers is enormous and unrivalled. But TV is highly targeted too. Technologies enabling more targeted distribution and audience segmentation across multichannel mean advertisers, with good planning, can easily reach niche or mass audiences via TV.

- What advantages does outdoor have over TV or vice versa?

The sun always shines on TV - and the sound is always on.

- Where are people spending most of their time these days?

The most impartial source available, IPA Touchpoints2, shows TV occupies 54 per cent of our average media day (63 per cent of our commercial media day). Sadly, it doesn't measure time spent in front of posters, and time spent out of home is not an acceptable surrogate.

- Is your medium the most effective and, if so, why?

There is a mountain of independent evidence that proves TV is the most effective medium pound-for-pound and is getting more effective over time. But, of course, TV works best at the heart of integrated campaigns, most effectively with online, but outdoor is also a great complement. TV is so uniquely effective because it is both audio and visual; consumed in a relaxed, often shared environment and unsurpassed at hardwiring brands into the brain.

- How will you engage the next generation?

The younger generation is already engaged, despite the myth. Young people have always been lighter TV viewers than average, so they "only" spend 47 per cent of their media time with TV. Television and music are their biggest cultural influences, and TV is also central to their off- and online conversations. For generations unborn, TV will engage the way it always has - it will just be delivered via differing technologies and on to a range of devices.

- What is your all-time favourite ad?

Lynx's "getting dressed". Romantic, slightly silly and a fantastic arrangement of a classic song.

ALAN JAMES - CHIEF EXECUTIVE, OUTDOOR ADVERTISING ASSOCIATION

- With the launch of a TV ad for Thinkbox, do you agree that using your own medium is the best way to market it?

Yes, absolutely. We have done it and it worked well. We ran a campaign called POW that Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO produced for us -14 companies joined in and we utilised 16 different formats. It had a dual function and was used to reach media agencies, clients and consumers at large. Are we planning to do anything along these lines again? Well, everything is constantly under review. By the way, I think the Thinkbox ad is great.

- How can traditional media compete with online in terms of innovation?

Part of outdoor's success over the past decade has been the explosion of opportunities available. For some advertisers, this has meant being able to use huge 3D images on billboards; for others, it has meant wrapping bus shelters; while, for others, being able to get the public to splat digital Creme Eggs on a converted six-sheet bus shelter panel has proved to be nirvana.

- With the increase in importance of targeting for advertisers, won't mass media lose out?

Outdoor is certainly a mass medium, but it can be used in a very different way. It can be used to reach tightly targeted audiences - near supermarkets, on screens in bars, on panels in gyms, on ATM screens or on good old petrol pump nozzles. Lastly, digital screens now enable advertisers to have campaigns running on selected days or day-parts. So, we have it all ways!

- What advantages does outdoor have over TV or vice versa?

Outdoor builds cover very quickly and can be bought nationally, regionally, locally and micro-locally. Outdoor's audience swell patterns occur just before the morning and early evening major internet usage spikes. We dominate the retail day in terms of the percentage of population exposed to each media. It's also cheaper than TV.

- Where are people spending most of their time these days?

There's been a massive societal change in the way we live our lives and people are simply spending more time out and about. Figures show we are spending 53 per cent more time out of home compared with 1994.

- Is your medium the most effective and, if so, why?

Outdoor return on investment has been increasing while TV's has declined - outdoor's ROI is now higher than TV. The bigger the outdoor campaign, the higher the return per pound spent (dominating has an exponential effect). Outdoor improves the ROI of both TV and press when wrun concurrently.

- How will you engage the next generation?

Increasingly it will be through technology, and outdoor can provide the conduit. Younger generations tend to be the most mobile and the most responsive to interactivity. They seek involvement and entertainment both in and out of the home and outdoor digital screen technology is providing valuable opportunities to permit real experience-enhancing engagement with this audience.

- What is your all-time favourite ad?

My favourite outdoor campaign was for Apple's iPod. Superb black silhouette imagery that easily translated across a range of formats. It delivered instant recognition of the brand and helped propel iPod into the "ludicrously successful brands" book.

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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).