MEDIA: PERSPECTIVE; Why clients which take risks get the ads that stand out

Have you seen the Vauxhall Omega Estate poster? It’s a 48- or 96-sheet monster, featuring the car on what looks like a Tuscan road. ‘Perfect for taking far flung corners,’ goes the line, the sort of pun that is very Lowe Howard-Spink, very Chiantishire.

Have you seen the Vauxhall Omega Estate poster? It’s a 48- or 96-sheet

monster, featuring the car on what looks like a Tuscan road. ‘Perfect

for taking far flung corners,’ goes the line, the sort of pun that is

very Lowe Howard-Spink, very Chiantishire.



I can’t stand it personally, not least because of the plethora of ex-

Lowes creatives who try to imitate the tone and style of it, but I

thought of it last week during a speech by Chris Morley, who just

happens to be a former Lowes media boss and now runs the Lowe Group

poster specialist, IPM. He said that by using the new Postar audience

research system, which can tell you how long people are exposed to

individual poster sites, it could be possible to introduce long copy

posters. Hooray, says I, let’s have a bit more media variety because

that is what will allow clients to stand out in this age of copycat

strategies.



Let me draw your attention to two good examples. First, the new Seat

soap-opera commercials (Campaign, 26 April) which break on 18 May. You

may or may not be a fan of soap-opera ads, but the interesting aspect of

this is that the idea came from the media buyer, BBJ. Seat’s problem is

that its budget is only pounds 2 million, which it intends to splurge

entirely on the soaps.



This may seem risky, but when Vauxhall can spend pounds 15 million on

the Corsa alone, you need something different. With all the car

manufacturers throwing money around like confetti, even an absolute

cracker of an ad will hardly register. Ergo a media solution that really

sets Seat apart and that can be given extra PR mileage - and you can

just see how the tabloids will lap this one up - is essential.



Lever’s Persil relaunch (Campaign, last week) starts from a different

base. Media budgets aren’t a problem but, by virtue of its media

strategy - more male targeting using magazines, less daypart TV - Persil

will stand out from the crowd. Now, you can argue whether the media

strategy is leading the change, or whether it’s demographically led

(more women working, more male single households), but I don’t think

this is important. At the end of the day, Persil is going to use media

to differentiate itself from the pack and that, surely, is what matters.



Why does this sort of thing happen so rarely? Some of the blame must

rest with the media buyers. After all, you don’t get fired for updating

last year’s strategy, so where’s the incentive to go for something

different?



But, equally, the blame must rest with clients too. First, because

marketing directors move on quickly, so that the incoming client has no

incentive to do anything different. Second, because - thanks in part to

media auditors - clients are still obsessed with price, which creates a

frame of mind in which doing something different is anathema.



But more media literacy on the part of clients might solve these

problems. Give it a go guys. It can’t hurt.



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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

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).