Posts Tagged ‘ advertising age magazine ’

What to Know About an Annual Media Buy

When attempting to take your media in-house or when offering media services for others, it’s important to know that media can be purchased in several ways, such as by flight, monthly, quarterly or annually. The trick to being a successful media planner and buyer is knowing which structure works best for you and your clients.

A flight can be from a short as one week to as long as several months. It is a continuous buy, which usually serves to bring attention to one specific promotion.

The structures for buying media on a monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis are pretty simple – as they follow the standard definition of the time lapses listed above. Though you have to choose which structure is right for you, an annual buy, which is achieved by the media buyer placing the entire annual media plan at once, does have advantages over buying monthly, quarterly or by flight.

Listed below are the top 5 things you need to know about an annual media buy:
An annual buy will definitely give a buyer leverage to get the best rates, especially with television, cable and radio buys.
Due to the volume of the buy, the rates will be more negotiable and generally lower than if placed monthly, quarterly or by flight.
The closer the media buyer is to the beginning of the schedule when placing the buy, the higher the rates will likely be. If the media is sold out, the rates may need to be high enough to bump another advertiser’s spots.  At times, it may be so close to the flight that the station does not have any space available to sell. Neither of these situations is in the best interest of the client.
With print, if you know what you’ll be spending within the year, a media buyer can usually negotiate a contract to buy a certain number of column inches or spend a certain amount of money. This is harder to do if the buy is not purchased annually, as there can be short rates if the contract isn’t met. This isn’t good for either the agency or the client.
Annual buys can always be adjusted, moved and or canceled if necessary with sufficient notice to the media vendors, so you will not be locked into any media that isn’t working for you. Media can constantly be adjusted to give your clients the best outcome possible.

Annual buying is great for many clients, and with its adjustability, you’re really in a win-win situation. Not only do you get the best deals for being prepared and coming to your rep with a well-thought out plan, but you also get flexibility in order to meet your client’s needs.

With our ever-changing marketplace accelerating at such a rapid pace, new tools, trends and types of marketing are being introduced every day. Due to this fast-paced way of life, many believe that you should steer clear of annual buys – because you never know when something will change. Not true.

Annual buys can be bought in a way that is adjustable, allowing you to bump up or bump back spots, make changes to material, swap your :30 radio spot with a :60, etc. – you just have to know what you’re doing.

As we have seen lately in the marketplace, sometimes there are other situations with annual buys that need to be addressed, such as the programming change that moved American Idol from airing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to airing Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you bought a good spot on Thursday during a popular show with a competing station – and now because of a programming change, you have to compete with American Idol – there would be a problem. This is when you contact your rep and discuss your options. By doing so, you’ll learn just how well your leveraged your annual buy in the first place.

Media planning and buying are complicated processes, so before beginning a plan, make sure to do your research on the different buy structures. If you need guidance, feel free to contact evok advertising at 407.302.4416.

Is “Re-branding” the New Buzz Word?

We hear the term “re-branding” thrown around a lot lately. It seems if everyone is trying desperately, in a fast-moving society, to stay fresh and yet stay true to their history at the same time. Most recently – YMCA to Y; Tropicana logo change; and let’s not forget about the Gap logo debacle.

The Gap change came in early October of this year. The president of Gap Brand North America for the last three years stated, “We chose this (new) design as it’s more contemporary and current. It honors our heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward.” – Sound familiar?

Gap did a soft launch of their new logo and wanted feedback from their loyal customers, so they introduced it through social media. And, did they get feedback! Received so negatively and with such a backslash, it resulted in 1,094 comments from one of their Facebook postings alone.

Creatively, many felt it took a couple steps back and, well…fell flat on its face. The “generic” look that so many companies are trying to achieve didn’t work for Gap. For many, their goal is to make their brand modern and clean, but when executed incorrectly, the result is a generic and drab look. Modern should not equal generic. Gap has now gone back to their old logo.

This got us thinking…when exactly is the right time to re-brand and why? In Gap’s case, they wanted a new logo to reflect the evolution of their clothing line and multiple modern stores. However, what other reasons are there to re-brand? Take our company, evok advertising, for example. We are actually in the process of a re-brand ourselves. So, why the change for us?

Scott Disbennett, creative director and agency partner, said, “Opposed to a national brand that has spent millions focusing on consumer perception, we don’t carry the same iconic weight. We are a mid-size agency that prides ourselves on staying abreast of new technology and new brands, while staying cutting edge, so being current is actually part of the brand. Also, we focus most, if not all, of our marketing efforts B2B so to many, this new logo will be their first experience with our brand. We aren’t facing the challenges that a national consumer brand might face.”

Larry Meador, our agency’s managing partner, addressed evok’s re-brand by stating, “While the old ‘EVOK’ worked well when we were trying to shout our name out there, we have always had a core belief that we should be behind the scenes, behind our clients’ victories, and although just a minor change, going from upper case to lower case with our logo reinforces that belief.”

So, if wondering whether you should re-brand your company, you may want to consider the following criteria. If you can answer yes to most of the items below, maybe it’s time?

Re-brand IF:

  1. New ownership, new partner
  2. A new highly regarded business practice (such as being green, etc.)
  3. Offering new products or services that will move you to a different segment of your market
  4. If your branding was poorly designed when your company was young
  5. New location, if that greatly impacts your business

So, the question remains to re-brand or not re-brand?  Well, the simple answer is, consider the brand! For our agency, yes it made sense. For KFC and the Y (formerly YMCA), yes, maybe? But, maybe not so much for Tropicana and The Gap. If you are responding to consumer input, yes! Remember, the purpose of re-branding is to keep your current clients and customers, but also attract new ones.

Long live the Coppertone baby!

Is There a Statute of Limitations on Creative Ideas?

Just recently, I heard from an art director that I’d been teamed with years ago. We had a good run as a CW/AD team and were lucky enough to get into several of the major awards shows and books for some of the projects we’d worked on.  The reason for her call was in regard to one of those award-winning ads.

In the latest CA Design Annual there’s a piece that was done by a mid-western design shop and it’s a dead ringer for an invitation she and I did in 2001. Same concept, same size, same color, same library card and pocket, same typeface, same type of client, they even added a small rubber stamp mark, similar to ours. Did someone at this firm see our piece in an award annual and “borrow” it? Honestly, I think they did. It just seems too close to be a coincidence.  Our situation certainly isn’t unique. You see work that looks familiar all the time. But it got me to thinking about what it takes to do great creative.

New ideas take work. Hard work. The more ideas you come up with, the better your chances of getting to something good. Develop lots of ideas. And if something seems a little too far out there, you’re probably getting to a good place. The best ideas make you question yourself. If you’re not sure if it’s brilliant or it’s bullshit, then you’re probably on to something.

The same percentage theory works for headlines. The more headlines you write, the better your chances of getting a good one. Doesn’t matter whether it’s for an ad, a billboard or a web page. You can write 8 different headlines or you can write 80. Chances are the person who wrote 80 has better lines to choose from. It also holds true for art directors regarding typefaces and layouts. The more things you try, the more you experiment, the better the odds of hitting on something good.

You always hear people say things like “There’s no new ideas” or “Everything’s been done before”. I don’t buy it. Take the music video for example. How many of those have you seen? Hundreds? Thousands? What on earth could anyone do that was different in a music video? Check out Arcade Fire’s “We Used to Wait” at http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/ it’s original. And pretty damn amazing considering they used existing technology but just looked at it in a new way.

Probably the key ingredient in great creative is time. And there never seems to be enough of it. When the timeframe on a project is tight, you have to make the most of it. Talk to anyone who’s ever worked at a shop where they do great creative work and they’ll tell you about the long hours that get put in. When I was just starting in the business and working night and day, we’d sometimes call other well-known creative agencies in the middle of the night.  We figured if we’re working, let’s see if they are. Didn’t matter whether it was 11 pm or 3 am, somebody picked up the phone.

Honestly, that kind of commitment isn’t for everyone. And I’m not advocating that kind of schedule. But the reality is these are some of the things it often takes to get great creative work. Or you can just look through some old advertising awards annuals until you find something similar to the project you’re working on. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened. And you might even win an award for your copied ad. If the idea was strong enough to make the awards books the first time, maybe it’s good enough to get into the books again. That is, if you just wait long enough.

Brand Identity Chain

“Who do you think you are” used to be asked of people when they said or did something rude or presumptuous. But now, it’s an important question that provides valuable insight into what motivates your target market to buy.

Welcome to the world of identity marketing. According to Robert Maxwell – president of research consulting firm Chelsea Media – it is no longer enough to create a brand identity to reach members of your target demographic group. You must first understand the social and pop cultural influences upon which people within your target demographic create their identity and lifestyle, then position your brand as one that integrates with that identity.

As explained in plain English by Maxwell in Advertising Age magazine: “If consumers identify with Prada and also identify with Michelob, Volvo, “24” character Jack Bauer, rock group the Killers and Doritos, marketers suddenly have a ‘brand identity chain’ – a group of consumers who share similar identities as well as product and media consumption.

“In fact, anything in the media marketplace that contains symbols consumers might use in constructing their identities qualifies as a brand. That includes companies, services and, most important, news and entertainment. The building blocks of news and entertainment – personalities, TV programs, characters, sports teams, bands, channels, websites and so forth – are all laden with symbols that invite connections with a consumer’s identity.”

Now consider your target market. If it’s the 18-to-34 male mobile entertainment enthusiast, his brand identity chain is likely to include Red Bull, first-person shooter/car racing video games, Scarface, hip-hop artist Chamillionaire, YouTube.com, Honda Civic, Toyota Scion – and probably also Jack Bauer and Doritos. All of these interests and preferences combine to shape his self-image and determine the other brands he buys.

So how can you make your brand one of the building blocks of your market’s identity? Let’s return to the Scion for an example. A CGA (computer-generated animation) commercial for the Scion tC uses video game-style graphics and action as the vehicle changes body colors while driving through a hip cityscape to a techno music track. The creative team for the commercial recognized video games and techno music as building blocks of the tC target market’s identity, and based the vehicle’s brand identity upon those elements.

The take-home message: let your brand enhance the identity of your consumers, and the resulting sale will be more than a purchase – it will be part of who they are.