I confess. I'm a junkie for the Sunday morning political shows: Meet The Press, Face The Nation, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Fareed Zakaria GPS, and Fox News Sunday.
I'm told that the fragmentation of news media has led us all to watch the news through the lens which best reflects our own political views. Perhaps that's true.
All I know is I love flipping through the Sunday political shows and let the biases of all these squabbling pundits wash over me. My head might spin for a while (my wife has long since tired of my remote control madness from 10 to noon on Sundays and found better things to do), but I like to think this immersion in contradictory beliefs helps me make better-informed decisions. Call me crazy (and many do!). I happen to believe that our democracy is better served by a plethora of perspectives, and the American people are smart enough to synthesize these many perspectives into their own best judgment.
Relevant to our media and CPG-focused lives, I heard some pundits this Sunday first talk about Hilary Clinton's greater success in fundraising and how much more she was spending on TV than Donald Trump. This comment then led to a suggestion from another pundit that Trump might not spend his fund raising on TV (he's so adept at generating free publicity and leveraging social media channels) no matter what he raised, and then another pundit to comment that we all saw the less than 2% support for Jeb Bush despite $150MM in TV ads.
In that one small exchange, we see the great challenges of media and marketing today:
Having a big war chest suggests past winning more than it is a precursor of future winning. In food and beverage, having a big war chest suggests you are a high volume player, and high volume food and beverage brands have been typically built on ingredient foundations of high sugar, fat and sodium. That's what made ’em taste so good and earned them big followings. And three-network TV made it real cheap to round up a big group of brand fans years ago. But 90 of the top 100 CPG brands lost share last year. A big war chest doesn't appear to be working for top CPG brands these days. That's due to both changing consumer expectations for food and, frankly, media laziness when you have a lot of money with which to work.
Where best to spend whatever money you do have? Hey, I'm the guy watching traditional TV on Sunday morning, right? In real-time — no time shifting and commercial avoidance — to boot. But as a marketer, I don't get why CPG manufacturers are so slowly shifting their TV dollars toward hyper-targeted digital channels. As a marketer, I'm placing my bets on where the market is going, not where it's been. And among Gen Z, 14-25 year olds, TV is the fourth screen of choice, behind computer, tablet or phone. The first three screens are where they are watching 57% of their “TV.” I know, I know. CPG is supposedly all about women 35-54. Are we still buying those demos rather than actual category buyers? Really?
What's the old adage — nothing kills a bad product faster than great advertising? TV ain't dead just yet. But it did a damn good job of killing Jeb Bush's presidential dreams.