Message Media vs. Supportive Media

Advertising is always changing. The most important consumer change in the last few years is not the birth of the Internet, but rather the death of the attention span. The entire country, if not the world, suffers from “AADD” - Advertising Attention Deficit Disorder. Consumers are bombarded with more messages than they know what to do with each day (3,000-14,000 depending on the source) and as any Direct Response Marketer will tell you, “If you give a consumer too many choices, they will choose not to choose one.”

This has created a new dynamic in the ad world, where advertisers can categorize media into two primary groups; Message Media and Supportive Media.

Message Media refers to those types of media where advertisers spend their dollars to introduce their brand to their target audience. This typically refers to TV (Network and Cable), Radio and Print.

Supportive Media refers to any form of media that provides the opportunity for further communication between a company and the consumer. This typically refers to Direct Response, Out-of-Home, Point-of-Purchase, Guerilla Media and others. The clear difference between these two forms of media are that one is typically used to introduce a brand while the other is used to foster a relationship with a brand.

Fact: The primary vehicle within Message Media is Television

Fact: The primary vehicle within Supportive Media is the Internet.

Any effective campaign in today’s market needs to utilize a mix of these two forms of media, and the basic considerations for these campaigns are Television and the Internet. Of course, a media strategist needs to consider the budgets that are being spent and how they can be allocated, in which case TV may not be affordable and Print becomes the primary vehicle for Message Media, but the Internet should always be considered the first option for Supportive Media. It is cost effective and can be used as either a high reach/low frequency or low reach/high frequency vehicle, depending on the goals for the campaign.

Supportive Media is the glue that holds your campaign together. It is the bridge between different forms of media that allows for your messaging to be carried across multiple platforms. A strong product launch in this AADD-afflicted world requires the opportunity to reach the consumer at many times during their day. For example, the Internet can be used to reach the consumer while they are at work. This was typically a “dead-zone” for advertisers in the past but now it becomes important for continuity of messaging throughout the day. Just by this fact alone we can see the importance of the role that Interactive should play in today’s media planning.

The Internet also provides the opportunity for a reciprocal relationship between the company and their consumers. Other forms of media can do this, but they are not utilized in the same mass-market way that the Internet is. Billboards, Taxicabs and Coffee Sleeves are all forms media that do a great job of supporting a primary message, but they are not as engaging as Interactive Media. Interactive Media is the only vehicle that can truly acquire information as easily as it can provide it, allowing you to learn more about your potential customers and their needs/wants/desires.

What this means is that a strong media campaign in today’s market should automatically consider the Internet as a primary vehicle. The Internet can provide the same metrics as Radio and Print, but in a potentially much more engaging manner. Print or Radio cannot acquire information directly from the consumer. The Internet is accountable to these metrics as well as the traditional tools for Brand Measurement.

As an ad-guru once told me, advertising exists to inform, persuade, and remind. Message Media does a good job of this, but Supportive Media is required to give a campaign legs. Advertisers such as Nike and BMW have created very effective campaigns that primarily utilize Television and the Internet. The former introduces a campaign while the latter allows the opportunity for a user to get more information and interact with the campaign.

As the mindshare of the average consumer continues to be cluttered and segmented, it becomes even more important to surround them with a cohesive strategy that conveys a singular set of messages. These messages need to be short and sweet and explain the product benefits quickly. Whether they act immediately or it’s a delayed reaction through brand awareness and brand recall, the messaging needs to be the same. If you, as a media professional, are not considering the Internet as a means of creating more engaging advertising and improving your campaign results, then you may need to rethink your strategy. The world is changing right before our very eyes and marketers need to accept that.

Cory Treffiletti is Media Director at Freestyle Interactive in San Francisco, CA.

Next story loading loading..