On the Sunday ahead of Heritage Day last year – branded as National Braai Day – Woolworths chose to wrap a braai-themed campaign around two national weekend newspapers, Media 24’s Rapport and City Press.
A statement from Ads24, Media24’s print advertising arm, highlighted the value that advertisers can find in using national media. While regional media are considered more cost effective and more targeted, national media is still thought to give advertisers unparalleled reach and brand building possibilities.
Says PHD managing director Wayne Bishop, “In national media, wastage is always high. The Sunday Times for example talks to a wide range of people from LSM 5 to 10. The profile of the title is very broad… [But] national is better for branding and that is a long-term project. As long as your return on investment is high enough to justify that level of wastage, you’re speaking to many people.”
The wide reach of national media means that it is ideal for getting to the light users of a brand, says Bishop. “This opens up your net. The success of every brand depends on how you convert light users into heavy users.”
The Woolworths Braai Day wrap was all about brand association, the Mail & Guardian reported in September, saying that advertisers were starting to recognise the significance of National Braai Day. The wrap was an industry first, says Ads24 head Linda Gibson. “Woolworths are the first brand to have used the cover wrap and this has created a talking point, both about the brand and about the newspaper titles,” Gibson says.
Media agencies, marketers and publishers say that the best media mix depends on getting your messages out to specific audiences with the most efficient use of budget. And while regional media can speak to local objectives and in the local vernacular, national media is still considered a good long-term investment.
“[With national media] you reach a broader community, rather than just a single small area. But it all depends on your objectives,” The MediaShop group managing director ,Chris Botha, says.
“National media generally underperforms when compared to regional media, when measured in a region. It provides a veneer of coverage. It doesn’t give the in-depth reach of a given area.” That can only be achieved by using regional media, says Botha. “Regional media is, however, very expensive by the sheer number of channels one has to use.”
Taken individually, it does cost less to advertise in regional stations and publications. The Sunday Times, with a circulation of
422 869, charges R1 059 for a colour advert on page one. Its Times Media Group daily sister in the Eastern Cape, The Herald (total circulation 22 255), charges R282 (both basic rates for the front page per single column centimetre) for the same space. The SABC’s Radio Sonder Grense, the Afrikaans national station that reaches an upper LSM audience of 1.8 million people, charges R8 040 for a 30-second slot on its weekly drive time slot. Ikwekwezi FM, catering for Ndebele speakers in the far north of the country, charges R1 200 during its peak slot, though it reaches more than 1.7 million people.
Companies like Mediamark, Media Connection and Caxton’s National Advertising Bureau (NAB) provide centralised platforms that make it easier for advertisers to go through multiple channels and can often tailor national campaigns for local audiences in various ways. Caxton advertising director Debbie McIntyre says, “In instances where regional promotions are required, magazines can do inserts and change them per region as requested.”
Starcom Mediavest deputy group managing director Celia Collins says that comparing national and regional media doesn’t make sense. “It’s a much of a muchness. It depends on what builds your reach best. It depends on your target market. It’s easier to get bigger reach on national than on regional. But if you’re going for a price-led campaign, I would have regional first because you have to run the ad so many more times.
“It’s really about your objectives. Building brands gives you longevity, but if you’re going with product and price, by all means go regional,” says Collins.
Television in South Africa is still very much a national medium that favours broad messages, though the landscape is set to look very different in the future with the advent of digital terrestrial television. Collins says, “You can communicate anything on TV. Brand, sponsorship, association… But what really works? These days it’s about how TV is being consumed. In the old days everyone saw the same thing and had an opinion about it, but with all these new channels coming out, advertising will have to be more targeted.”
DStv media sales CEO Chris Hitchings agrees that there will be some attempt at making advertising more targeted. This is already happening in overseas markets. Sky TV’s AdSmart, for instance, broadcasts different ads to different households watching the same programme. “Technology will change the game. But you’ll still need big mass market advertising media to build your brand. Then you’ll need to activate the brand and this is where TV and online will work together… I still think there’ll be a place for mass media,” says Hitchings.
He adds that TV provides very good cost per thousand viewers, at approximately R46 per 1 000, with national print more expensive at R105 per thousand readers.
Hitchings says that for him, successful campaigns include the partnerships between Robertson’s spices and M-Net’s ‘MasterChef’ cooking competition programme, or between Samsung and M-Net talent show ‘Idols’ – brand building exercises.
“[TV] brings immediacy, it taps into emotions. The general consensus is that TV makes a hero out of a brand and provides credibility, while also providing the opportunity for activations and promotions. The brands that advertise with us are FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) brands, retailers and automotive and cellular. TV is now for the first time taking over 50% of measured ad spend in South Africa, so obviously something is working.”
McIntyre says that most of the advertisers in Caxton magazines are manufacturers or national retailers. Caxton publishes Bona, Woman&Home and essentials, among other titles.
“The benefits for these advertisers are that these magazines are trusted by consumers to deliver an edited choice of ‘what’s new’, ‘what’s hot’, ‘where to go’ and ‘what to do’… As long as we keep the reach high and the costs down, we remain a cost-efficient buy with a good cost per thousand for the advertisers,” says McIntyre.
Banks are major advertisers in national media. But again, the selection of channels depends on the campaign objectives and who is being targeted, says FNB head of media Lynne Diab. “FNB products are designed with the clients’ needs in mind and when we select a platform on which to place messages/adverts, it’s important to ensure that we’re speaking to the right target market. It is essential to understand the reader profile of key newspapers because some might have a wide readership, but not necessarily the type of reader or consumer we’re looking to reach.”
FNB’s successful ‘Hello Steve’ campaign is ongoing. The campaign, which aims to get clients at other banks to switch to FNB, has a nationwide message. “The Steve campaign was conceptualised for radio and in South Africa there are only two truly national radio stations: SAfm and RSG. So we have to make use of a selection of radio stations to reach the required target audiences,” says Diab.
“Stations like Metro FM and 5FM are also important because they reach a very unique audience profile, but they only broadcast to the major metropolitan areas. We also have to consider the fact that certain regional stations often have a closer relationship with their audiences.”
FNB decided when they embarked on the campaign that they needed to reach vernacular audiences and for that the best choice was the SABC’s African language stations, Diab adds.
Smile FM, a regional station in Cape Town, recently scored a coup when they landed FNB as a major advertiser. So why go with a small, brand-new station that doesn’t have much of a profile yet, rather than a larger, national channel?
Diab responds, “This was part of a bigger campaign and Smile FM was one of a number of stations we utilised. We mainly use the platform for our Business Banking campaign, which is all about supporting small businesses or entrepreneurs – so it also makes sense that FNB supports new or ‘small’ media industry players such as Smile FM and Power FM.
“The fact that a station is new also means that there’s potentially some competitive advantage for FNB and possibly less clutter. There’s also more room to negotiate the structure of certain campaigns to ensure that both parties are satisfied with the planned strategy,” she adds.
With digital creating new communities of interest that extend beyond regional and even national borders, is it likely that geographical distinctions will become obsolete, or at least complicated? McIntyre says that while this might happen, it hasn’t begun yet. “As online shopping is still a developing trend and by far the majority of people shop in-store and choose the stores most convenient to them, for retailers enough reach around catchment areas of stores is critical. Community newspapers perform this role most efficiently. National magazines play a role in creating brand awareness and making sure that the brand or retailer is top-of-mind and considered as an option.”
But digital is changing the media mix. “Communication has to work harder and so we tend to be working closer to advertisers as partners and bringing in our various platforms, depending on the job to be done – whether it’s branding/awareness, engagement or activations,” says McIntyre. “Our platforms include printed magazines, consumer panels and databases, reader events and digital platforms.”
This story was first published in the December 2013 issue of The Media magazine.