Evolution of a Branding Landscape

I originally wrote this article for my company GY&K. Enjoy and learn something!

How to be smart about your media placement.

If you’ve ever seen the episode of Mad Men when Joan is asked to step in as a media planner and read through scripts in order to relay where relevant content advertisers should be placing their broadcast spots, then you can understand how much time, energy and effort goes into media planning. If not, then I will just tell you bluntly: it takes a lot of time, energy and effort to be an efficient and successful media planner.

The landscape of media options has grown from the basics- print, radio, TV, and out-of-home, to include today’s digital universe, along with every other platform people will create in order to land a buck. It’s imperative that your agency’s media team not only have experience, but take the extra steps necessary to understand the placement. Do you really want your Wendy’s commercials airing during a PETA special? We didn’t think so.

Recently, I have noticed a trend in “mindless” placement that got my wheels spinning:

Sonic commercials flood primetime in NH programming. I have not seen a Sonic since I left college in Columbia, SC. In fact, when I walked around the office and asked colleagues, not one person could tell me where one was located. Notice on the map below that not one of those locations is actually in the state. Seems like an awkward media placement.

Next, there is a huge story out about a man whose sister was killed in a car accident, causing Progressive Insurance to refuse to settle her estate and defend the other driver (who was cited at fault by the judge), when it was the sister who carried the insurance policy with the insurer. It bashes Progressive to the core, and the article states that social media is defaming the mascot “Flo.” Horrible and tragic story, yet someone thought it was a good idea to place a Progressive Leaderboard on top of the page? Seems like someone should have put a little more thought into that one…

Note to reader: I was also going to cite the example about the “Animal Practice” commercial that was aired directly following Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas’ historic gold medal win, but my colleagues felt it was a little risque. At least they caught their flaw and apologized publicly.

Last example: Comcast Spotlight is a revolution for the local mom and pop advertiser with a limited budget. It allows you to pick and choose areas of the state where your ad will be shown, limiting the reach to a concentrated area and lessening the investment. It is this extreme geo-targeted detailing that made me laugh when a “Click-it or ticket” ad was shown a few Sundays ago in my Exeter, NH living room. Note to reader: NH does not have a mandatory seat-belt law for adults.

I asked our VP of Integrated Media, Shana Malik, to shed some light on the topic at hand and what GY&K does differently. Shana is a 15 year veteran of Madison Avenue, who recently moved to the Granite State to join our team.

“A media department should rely on an evolving suite of tools for in-depth research, tracking and measurement that help guide the overall strategic approach and media plan development,” she said. “Some key factors include the audience alignment, reach, targeting capabilities, and cost efficiencies. While the examples you mention might be benefiting from a lower placement cost through bidding or bundling, they clearly are not aligning content properly to reach their intended audience.”

So what’s your plan? How are you ensuring that your media dollars are being spent with intelligence and insight?


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