Marketers: TV May Get Too Much Attention, Though Not From Viewers

Give three top marketers credit for admitting there's a problem. That's the first step towards recovery.

Trouble is, they also conceded there might not be a lot that can be done to break the fix, at least for a good while.

Until marketers figure out how to conquer the mobile space (285 million Americans have cell phones) or one of the other tantalizing platforms, TV is likely to remain the franchise player.

After all, it's hard to know how much a Facebook "Like" is worth, while even an iPad cornerstone may be losing potential. "What we're now headed to is app clutter," said Pepsi's Chad Stubbs at a NATPE event Thursday.

"Until the media models are fixed and we can better (attach) value to social, mobile and some of these media crevices, TV has a great sales model," Stubbs, director of media and entertainment engagement, said later.

So, a certain addiction continues because - as has been suggested over and over - advertisers are ostensibly paying more for less. At least when filling up the gas tank, the prices may soar, but you get the same amount for your money.



In TV, though, ratings decline and CPMs keep going up. Clearly, the networks don't bear any blame for the dependency.

"I think we as clients drive that ... we own that," said Kim Kadlec, who heads global marketing at J&J.

Making it hard to shift gears, she said, is a certain familiarity with TV buying, where the "legacy business model is so much easier."

To be fair, the paying more-for-less dynamic refers to quantity not quality. Audience reach may be down, but networks would argue TV ads are more impactful in a fragmented world.

To a degree, by continuing to spend heavily, marketers validate that.

There's a strong value equation "built on mass reach," Kadlec said.

While working through the new complex opportunities, Pepsi's Stubbs said: "Everything would point to if I have one more dollar, I should spend it in TV."

Pepsi is doing that in a big way this fall with its top-line sponsorship of Fox's "The X Factor." The Pepsi brand "needed a big platform" to show "we're back in entertainment, back in music."

Of course, Pepsi may find it's paying a lot for less than it hoped for, though there's a long way to go to draw a conclusion. "X Factor" premiered Wednesday with ratings that paled beside forerunner "American Idol," while even finishing second in an hour, a fate unheard of for "Idol."

In both hours Wednesday, "X Factor's" ratings in the 18-to-49 demo were less than half what "Idol" posted in its season premiere in January. ABC's "Modern Family," meanwhile, topped it Wednesday in the 9 p.m. hour by 36%.

Stubbs had said earlier Pepsi is just happy to be back with a major prime-time presence for its flagship brand. It has a multi-year partnership with "X Factor" that could stretch into other countries, so there are various ways to gauge the results over the long haul.

As TV continues as a maypole, marketers repeatedly say they are looking beyond traditional avenues. "It's mobile, it's social in a real meaningful way," said Nadine McHugh, vice president of global media and advertising at Colgate-Palmolive.

She said marketers "over rely" on TV, partly because of those historical ties.

History look destined to keep repeating itself.

1 comment about "Marketers: TV May Get Too Much Attention, Though Not From Viewers".
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  1. Stephen Pickens from Pick Consulting, September 22, 2011 at 4:55 p.m.

    TV is more impactful in an increasingly cluttered and fragmented media world because it is less 'deletable' or 'ignorable' and is conveyed in a higher quality environment. Sure, people can change the channel or fast forward, but the few moments with which a viewer is engaged by an audio visual TV commercial is far more valuable than a below the fold ad impression, spammy SMS message, or a barely noticable mobile browser display ad that is quickly scrolled past.

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