Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The TV Gravy Train is Done!

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The title is dramatic but it serves to make a point. TV works as an advertising medium BUT in this quickly shifting Media World it is a waste of money.

For decades the TV Industry and the Big Madison Avenue Agencies have had a cozy relationship with the clients getting the raw deal. During the upfront season Agencies and the TV Industry would pretend to work really hard at hammering out the best deals for their clients. The fact is...were the agencies really going to re-allocate their client's budgets to another ad medium (think New Media) outside of TV when that is where they make the most money? It is all smoke and mirrors with the clients suffering.

The agencies make the bulk of their revenue from the creation of TV commercials and buying TV time. <----Did you hear that Mr. Chief Marketing Officer?

What advertising medium do you think agencies are pitching daily to their clients? Why do you think New Media is still not getting close to the share of ad dollars that TV is getting? Where the ad dollars have been spent in the past has lots to do with agency self preservation.

The TV Gravy Train is Done

Big Madison Avenue Agencies out there who are used to every solution to a marketing problem being solved by how many :30 second TV ads they can run are in trouble. In this Economy when ROI is so important you can no longer hide.

The TV Industry has tried their best to put lipstick on a pig with articles like this one "Network Phenom: Little Broadcast Erosion" which came out on 9/25 and can be found here...bit.ly/40a9I

The article praises the Fall TV lineup and mentions how the TV Networks have experienced only a small loss of audience from the previous year. The Agencies pushing TV on their clients love these stories BUT are frightened to imagine a Chief marketing Officer or even a CEO to see this recent TIVO study from an article that came out on 9/24...bit.ly/XmTDV

The TiVo's Stop||Watch ratings service demonstrated the following...
  • 83% of "Mad-Men" viewers fast forwarded through the commercials
  • Drama programming's viewers fast forwarded through the commercials 73% of the time
  • 30 Rock viewers were LEAST prone to skip through commercials but still did it an alarmingly 64% of the time!
The above information details what we have all known and have probably experienced in our own homes...we don't watch commercials!

If you are a business who is paying TONS of money to expose your product or service to the masses then wouldn't you want the masses to see it?

The time is now for CEOs, CMOs, and Local Business Owners to wake up and realize their are a lot better marketing answers for their money than TV. Don't let ad agencies feed you the TV BS anymore!!!

When your Agency tries to push TV on you then site the above article for a reason why you want to see a detailed Marketing Plan which includes other advertising mediums. If the agency still tries to push TV on you then tell them you are willing to pay 25% of the TV ad rate since that is the average percentage of the audience who might see your ad...HA!

New Media, Social Media, and Local Radio are three VERY effective and Cost Efficient Mediums which can get the job done at a fraction of the cost for TV.

The times have changed and so should your marketing approach!


  1. Less ad money for TV, means less money to content creators for TV as well. You may be predicting the dying off of the medium itself.

  2. Interesting post Jeff. As a content creator I see the change coming too. We urge most clients to at least consider new media as an option for marketing. I think in a matter of another year or two, there won't be much convincing needed.

    Product placement is going to replace the 30-second spot on broadcast TV.

  3. Batman,

    There may be a continued loss of creative work in TV but there should be plenty of creative opportunities in New Media. As the Big Brands shift more of their ad dollars to New Media the need for GREAT creative online will increase.

    Thanks for your comments.

  4. Gregg,

    I am glad to see you are already recommending other forms of media to your clients. There is no justification agencies or CMOs can give for continuing to spend in TV when most of the audience is not paying any attention to the commercials.

    In theory the research on TV commercials should spur the shift of ad dollars to other mediums BUT as long as agencies are making most of their revenue on TV then it will continue to shift SLOWLY!

    Product Placement, Sports, or News is mostly DVR proof and would be my recommendation if a client feels they MUST be on TV.

    Thanks for your comment.

  5. I'm prejudice because everywhere I've worked there's no budget for TV... so I have been forced to find, understand and leverage other mediums, especially word-of-mouth intiatives/platforms.

    In general agencies will only champion ideas that come from their shop and strictly, as a rule, deliver only what is expected.... low hanging fruit and all that.

    Mostly agencies want credt and fees, and fear that if they admit others have worthy ideas they will lose. As you clearly state... TV has biggest dollars to agencies. That fact along with what clients are accustomed to buy make it a forgone conclusion.

    If you're a Marketer, you better be making mistakes. If not, you're not trying hard enough and not learning. Great ideas come from those willing to experiment.

    Consumers today do not switch on and off, the contact and conversation need to be continuos and ongoing. Possibly the most important shift in Marketing today... the shift from campaign to continuous conversation.

  6. Ted,

    You were blessed to not have a TV budget since it has taught you the skills it takes to be agile in this ever changing Media World. The Marketers who have always relied on TV and nothing else are the ones headed for a BIG awakening.

    Thanks for the GREAT comments.