I was only able to briefly attend the recent ARF Re!Think 2016 Conference, and I feel at once like I missed a lot, yet missed nothing.
I am always inspired by listening to brilliant thinkers like
Dave Poltrack and Leslie Wood, colleagues whom I’ve known for many years. They, and several others at ARF conferences, are often on the cutting edge of new and innovative research.
Nevertheless, too many studies just seem to be repackaging what we’ve seen over and over again throughout the years. People need to understand that there is a difference between
“groundbreaking” and “self-evident.”
In 2016, is a study that concludes advertising works really groundbreaking?
- Spending across multiple platforms
delivers greater ROI than investing in single platforms. Don’t we hear this every time a new major advertising medium emerges? It is, of course, true, but hardly a new idea and hardly
- If you spend less on TV advertising your sales will go down. It scares me that so many actually think this is groundbreaking research.
- “Silo investing” too heavily in some digital formats can have diminishing returns. Really? Did anyone not already know this?
- Customize your creative
to the uniqueness of each platform. Again, anyone who took an advertising course in school should know this.
Those of us who have been in the industry long enough remember ARF
presentations saying virtually the same things about cable they are saying about digital today.
Do we really still need to spend so much time and money to arrive at these rather banal
conclusions? All the above points should be part of an ARF credo that holds these truths to be self-evident.
There have basically been four elements to “groundbreaking”
industry research studies during my 30 years in the business: Advertising works; advertisers need to spend more, not less, particularly on television, regardless of what is going on with the
economy; whenever a new ad platform emerges, you need to add it to the mix, rather than shift money from one platform to another, and audience measurement continues to lag behind and needs to improve
to cover all available platforms and media users.
Here’s are two potentially real groundbreaking studies I would like to see:
- My wife and I were watching TV the other
night. When I got up and went into my 16-year-old son’s room, he was lying on his bed, watching the NCAA Basketball Tournament on his laptop, playing a videogame on his Playstation, and
listening to music on his smartphone. Is he going to be like previous generations? When he graduates college and gets a job, is he still going to be doing what he is doing now? Or, when he
is in his own home, and no longer relegated to his own space in the bedroom, will the 50+inch TV be his primary screen?
- Rather than researching the impact reduced ad spending
has on sales, the real problem is much more likely commercial avoidance. While there is no question that traditional TV viewing on a television set is declining, particularly among millennials, there
is no question that it remains by far the biggest chunk of the viewing pie among every age group.
But more than half of all viewing to original scripted series on broadcast and cable is
via DVR. The industry continues to spend billions of dollars on television advertising using C3 ratings – despite too many not understanding what it does and does not measure.
to sales if you advertise on shows that have more than 90% of their audience live, compared to the same spend and ratings points on shows where less than half of their viewers are live?
many other studies I’d like to see, but there is one thing I know. You don’t need to keep proving the sky is blue.