MEDIA ANALYSIS: BRAND SPEND ANALYSIS - More needs to be spent to convince the public that there’s no place like Dome

Background Unless you have spent the last three years on Mars, it will not have escaped your notice that the Millennium Dome is hot news.

Background Unless you have spent the last three years on Mars, it

will not have escaped your notice that the Millennium Dome is hot


Despite the recent appointment of chief executive Pierre Yves Gerbeau -

who, depending on who you speak to, may or may not be the man behind the

rescue of Disneyland Paris - press criticism of this monument to mankind

has been fierce.

As Gerbeau is only too aware, half the battle is to create more positive

reviews of the Dome. With visitors generally coming away with favourable

impressions, the word-of-mouth factor should take effect soon. But chats

over the garden fence are unlikely to be enough to turn around the

Dome’s image problem, and a look at the advertising spend over the past

year suggests the media spend could do with a big boost.

Media agency Walker Media is handling media planning and buying.

Director Andrew Sherman oversees the account while planning and buying

is carried out by Samantha Hale and Kara Clarkson. M&C Saatchi is

responsible for creative.

Total spend and the media mix The New Millennium Experience Company

spent just pounds 7.5 million on advertising in 1999, a very small

amount considering the company is trying to defend a pounds 758 million

investment in a completely new brand. Despite the NMEC’s continued

problems with editorial coverage, press accounted for 45 per cent of

spend. It was followed by TV (41 per cent), outdoor (11 per cent) and

radio (3 per cent).

Spend details National newspapers took 88 per cent or pounds 2.9 million

of press adspend. Regionals and magazines received only pounds 210,000

each. The Sunday Times was the biggest beneficiary, landing more than

pounds 1.55 million of the budget. That is more than any other single

media owner, including the television stations.

Others landing sizeable sums included The Sun with pounds 180,000 and

The Daily Mail with pounds 120,000.

TV expenditure was split 13 per cent/87 per cent between satellite and

terrestrial. Radio spend was spread relatively thinly across 44

stations, with Capital 95.8 FM attracting the most. London took more

than half of the spend on outdoor advertising.

The timing of advertising in 1999 is interesting, with the NMEC spending

twice as much in February as it did in November and December, and with

spend for the last quarter of 1999 (pounds 2.8 million) only slightly

higher than that for the first quarter (pounds 2.6 million).

Conclusions Perhaps the NMEC was relying on widespread coverage in the

press to attract visitors. Maybe it assumed the Dome would be so

over-booked that advertising was unnecessary. Perhaps it trusted in the

old adage that any publicity is good publicity. Or maybe the company

simply ran out of cash. Whatever the reason, the NMEC must up its

adspend or face the consequences.

Research by AC Nielsen MMS, telephone: 01344-627553