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
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
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.