TV and Online Offer Marriage That Could Live Happily For A Long Time
The last push comes with the conventions starting May 16 as broadcasters, ESPN and Turner make final arguments about the merits of their properties. There will be speeches and flashy videos and maybe famous "supporters" on display, such as a hot band (hired) to perform a set.
Campaign arguments have included the trite. There's the "buy now or burn baby burn!" -- remember, scatter prices are soaring, so spend heavily now and don't risk prices being prohibitive in 8 months. There's the "nobody touches America like we do" -- in a fragmented world, TV offers the greatest reach and ability to swiftly move product. And, then the "we're environmentally friendly" -- our superb programming brings the most engaged viewers, and that trickles down to the advertising.
But a new forceful claim about the value of TV advertising is percolating -- that TV supplements the Web. It's a dynamic that has both networks and buyers in agreement and serves to help both. And as strategists and speechwriters scramble to finish their Upfront Week presentations, they would be wise to focus on it.
If five years ago, forecasts held that the Internet might hasten TV's decline, now the opposite may be the case. Powerful TV advertising is a brand-builder and can send viewers to their laptops, smartphones or iPads for Web access searching for more product information, more video, or maybe the ultimate: for transactional steps.
"You've got this giant megaphone that is television that drives all this awareness, all this curiosity," Initiative's Kris Magel said at a recent MediaPost event. "And you've got digital that's now really developed into something amazing, sitting there like a giant catcher's mitt pulling people in."
NBCUniversal cable sales chief Dave Cassaro called it a virtuous circle. He noted then that the Web portion -- the catcher's mitt -- can "really provide more granular data, return-on-investment-type metrics."
Which can allows advertisers to run essentially direct-response ads, but thankfully without the "call in the next 15 minutes and get an extra set of steak knives." Compelling, high-quality ads can be used, instead, because that ensuing Web activity allows tracking.
Also, advertisers struggling with taking advantage of social media can use a TV-Internet link in so many ways. TruTV found a clever way, challenging fans to support a Facebook page for the show "Operation Repo." The return favor: a bonus episode there.
Frankly, consumer behavior is simply waiting for marketers to bounce them from the TV to the Web. The amount of consumers watching TV, while simultaneously using a smartphone or laptop, is large and growing. How many saw CNN offer the tease that Bin Laden was dead on Sunday and didn't blitz around the Web looking for more details?
So, a major benefit of a campaign that synchs TV and the Web is the potential for results in near real time. That, of course, is one reason media buyers and advertisers embrace the new opportunities.
For networks, it's about the money. Hey, buyer, while your considering some of this stuff, why not buy some of our digital outlets also?
Any campaign needs good sound bites. One of the better ones came from CBS's Leslie Moonves at an upfront a few years back: "Wireless is useless if you're hitless."
For this new matrimony, how about "On-air and Online: On Target?"