’So, this TVR (television rating), a radio OTH (opportunity to
hear) and a press coverage point walk into a pub and ...’
’No, hang on, there’s a TVR, an OTH and a press coverage point in this
car showroom when one of them says to the salesman ...’
Nope, that’s not right either. ’So, there’s a TVR, an OTH and a press
coverage point on a skiing holiday when, er ...’
Okay, I admit it. They weren’t in the pub, nor buying a car and they
can’t ski. In fact, they haven’t done anything. Nor will they, because
they will never exist.
People, however, do exist. They eat, drink, sleep, talk too loudly on
their mobile phones and spend money, which is why we present them with
our advertising communications.
We all know that media departments have been attempting to improve their
planning by trying to better understand this fact: people do stuff, not
But I’m scared that people might try to move the clock back.
A recent Admap article proposed that a new tool for improving media cost
efficiency would spell the end of ’qualitative’ media insights into
people. This is a dreadful proposition. One could believe that this
relationship - between the two sets of figures that are media campaign
delivery and media budget - is the object of media planning. Then one
must also believe that the TVR, the radio OTH and the press coverage
point were in that pub.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. All jargon. All measuring systems are great, but
they’re nothing more than that: systems and tools. They only reflect our
ability to do the real job, which is to present people with our
advertisers’ messages in the best manner.
It’s critical that media doesn’t lose sight of this fact, for the
further we steep ourselves in the statistics of measuring people and the
less we understand them, the greater the dis-service we do our clients
Media has navel-gazed at statistics instead of people for so long that
the skill of finding media insights into consumers is still in its
Meanwhile, creative agency account planners roar ahead. By isolating
itself from planners’ key skill in understanding people, media comes out
You can be cynical and claim this is all frills around the central
buying function, but with most agencies inevitably buying at similar
rates it is key insights into people that will increasingly
differentiate media agencies.
So why does the media industry still rely so overwhelmingly on
Why do media people promote a better way of measuring people instead of
real media insights into them? Simply because it’s easier to carry on
with the numbers in lieu of real effort, real insight and real
If we ensure that we ’get’ people and we ensure this happens before the
numbers are crunched, we will have nicer campaigns and nicer lives.
’Get’ people and you’ll be revived. Flaxen-haired maidens will fall at
your feet and clients will go all gooey.
Actually, they might not, but at least you won’t have wasted your life
looking at a computer screen.