A great benefit of being involved with training is that one gets to have some really interesting discussions with a broad range of people. Although my current training focus is on the craft of media planning, it is both fitting and inevitable that the subject of creativity seeps into the conversation.
In a recent discussion, I referred to a point that Monique Claasen, director of media and digital at Kantar Millward Brown, made at the JCDecaux ‘Connected Cities, Connected Consumers’ event. The particular statement that had stuck in my mind was that, although all ads were annoying to some degree, consumers are more forgiving of “advertising intrusion” in “traditional media”.
Looking back now at the presentation, I see that Claasen demonstrated, with data from the AdReaction SA 2016 survey, that consumers were four times more receptive to TV advertising than to mobile advertising. Moreover, this receptivity ran across generations: with Gen X (35-49) being far more than intolerant of mobile display and video, as well as online video than their Gen Z (16-19) and Gen Y (20-34) counterparts.
Unsurprisingly, the sentiments of the 50 plus brigade did not warrant a mention. As a member of the Boomer generation, and based on a sample of one, I would testify that receptivity to mobile and online video advertising deteriorates further in this group. (Of course that might have to do with the fact that I am assailed by messaging in Afrikaans – a language for which I have great admiration, but in which, I have little proficiency. Added to that, Uber keeps encouraging me to download their app and use their services. I have (years ago) and I do (regularly).)
Channel impact and creative execution
But I digress. Claasen went on to say that channel impact is dependent on creative execution, supporting this with an outdoor example. Picking up on this in my conversation, I took the next step by suggesting that in some instances advertising is an integral and, indeed, essential part of the media experience. I cited as I usually do, the example of Vogue: without the sumptuous advertising, reading it would be a quarter of the experience – and not merely in terms of size.
British Vogue has just released its tenth so-called Business Report – actually a survey executed by YouGov, intended to provide an understanding of the fashion conscious (and affluent) woman. Gratifyingly, this survey wholly endorses my point. Unsurprisingly, the survey suggested that three quarters of respondents described themselves as being much more focused when looking at the physical publication. Apparently nine out of 10 women claim to pay attention to the advertising in the magazine, and over two thirds “actively enjoy” the advertising. The survey goes on to underscore that enjoyment is not unconnected to sales results: most respondents indicated that they had bought at least one beauty or fashion item as a result of their exposure to glossy magazines.
Another example of advertising amplifying the media experience, which I raised in our discussion, was Monocle. A favourite of mine, this publication has always succeeded in establishing mutually productive partnerships with its core clients. It always produced valuable advertorial and promotional campaigns for its clients, and nimbly took advantage of the “native advertising” trend. The Monocle brand has a number of extensions, including Monocle 24, its radio station. Here, too, enormous care is always taken to ensure that the level of aesthetic congruence between advertising and programming content is maintained. Many of the shows are sponsored, and Monocle 24 crafts the ads for the sponsors, delivering an enhanced listening experience.
Of course, both of my examples are niche media. Because the pool of appropriate advertisers is tightly defined for each media brand, it is easier to tailor advertising messaging that enhances the media experience; but that should not prevent better efforts at ensuring that the right message appears in the right place.
Britta Reid is an independent media consultant.