INTERNATIONAL MEDIA BUSINESS: Hitting the target?

CNN's Kevin Razvi and Initiative Media's King Lai reveal which international business media and ads work for them.

KEVIN RAZVI - executive vice-president advertising sales, news CNN International

I knew I was in danger of becoming a parody of the "the international business audience" when I found myself at a dinner party talking about the best seats on a 747.

One of the first things you notice when spending such a large amount of time travelling is how international travel has become such a common feature in both business and leisure.

The increased airline capacity, the fall in costs and the globalisation of business have meant that a far greater percentage of people are internationally mobile. As a media owner I serve a target audience increasing in size and importance. But as a consumer I comprise part of a growing audience that is increasingly targeted by international media.

So, as a consumer, what breaks through? Well it's not that different from what grabs my attention in the local media landscape. Those ads that are impactful, differentiated and consistent. The power of the Vodafone campaign struck me last week when a Spanish language radio station ran an ad. Unable to speak Spanish, but the second the Dandy Warhols' music played, the poster ads targeting me as a business traveller, the international TV campaigns and the sponsorships targeting me as a sports fan all clicked into place.

It takes something special to break through in the poster area. I counted 23 posters in one minute walking through Heathrow.

That's 11 commercial exposures in the time of the average TV ad. I'm also ignoring the fact that all were at 90 degrees to the direction I was walking in. Consequently the HSBC livery at Heathrow is the one that leaves a lasting impression.

Its unique positioning and build puts it in a different league from the clutter inside the terminals and also gives me that "I'm home" feeling.

It's a similar dynamic in press. The Economist and Fortune are essential reading. While The Economist satisfies my "issue" appetite, and Fortune covers the personalities, there can be up to 50 pages of advertising in each issue. Consequently, the Toyota Formula One inserts stick out from the crowd.

While one can miss the commercial message because of the surrounding environment, the only damage done is a reduced return on one's advertising investment.

It's nowhere near as bad as actually antagonising your consumer. So a word of warning to those that actually annoy me. It's a common scenario.

You're in a hotel room at midnight struggling to get an e-mail connection.

Having secured the connection, after five hopeful minutes, your laptop moves at a tenth of its normal speed. You bang the keys in frustration assuming that brute force will unjam the screen that hasn't changed for ages. It would be quicker to actually write the presentation you're trying to download than wait for it. It's not a great environment for unsolicited e-mail. I always remember them ... but I never forgive.

KING LAI - chief operating officer, Asia-Pacific, Initiative Media Worldwide

"Hi Daddy ..." are two words that put me in the best mood regardless of what kind of day I've had. And these are the words that spring to mind when I think of the international media and ads which work for me.

The power of media and advertising lies in its ability to connect with people. In my life, travel around Asia is the norm of a typical week, so the chance to speak with my seven-year-old daughter is a treasured moment. Arriving at a hotel and turning on CNN to an Allianz commercial where the businessman leaves home promising to call his little girl and then does so at the end of the ad shows that this brand has an insight into the heart of today's mobile executive.

A simple and effective piece of direct response marketing that is related to this theme are the cards from AT&T found in hotel rooms reminding the traveller to phone home. Providing a discount and instantaneous credit card convenience to do so is smart customer relations management.

Effective corporate advertising rests on the same ability to deliver the intellectual messages that also connects with the emotions of the international business traveller: aspirations to succeed, stress relief, the joy of an unexpected convenience and self-reward for achievements.

For international travel, airline advertising such as BA and Cathay, which differentiates based on seats that convert to a flat bed on long-haul flights, is infinitely more appealing than those that offer more options to work longer hours via in-flight phones, faxes and power plugs for your computer. I would expect the choice and ability to keep working, but most definitely appreciate the opportunity to indulge in some down time.

Arriving at airports, an emotionally reassuring message that you are not alone, fending for yourself in a foreign country is HSBC's "the world's local bank" campaign in airports and regional business publications.

Visually interesting images, which instantaneously communicate that you can find the bank everywhere to give you locally suitable solutions.

And with success comes the feeling that you may indulge yourself with a reward for your achievements. This brings to mind a particularly meaningful and memorable advertisement that delivers a strong product message of reliability while summing up what the brand and what all our hard work may be about. "You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely take care of it for the next generation."

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content