Come on, ditch the carpet bombing

Phil Lynagh is regional  managing director at  Tag: MENA

“Does anyone honestly believe that the ‘carpet bombing’ ad marathons we have to watch during evening primetime are effective? Surely they can’t be, but media inefficiency is very hard to prove. There are plenty of formulae to increase frequency to gain reasonable GRP but I haven’t stumbled across one that says: “That’s it. Stop right there. Your brand is hacking the consumer off”.  And there should be.

Perhaps automatons would eat up this sort of ‘media hammering’ and respond accordingly by popping out to their local Foot Locker to buy yet another pair of adidas every time the X Factor goes into an ad break, but I don’t think the human species actually does. We get bored quite easily and we get annoyed even easier.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love TV advertising, it’s still the most efficient way to get your brand to the masses but we should consider creative engagement and conversation rather than beating somebody to death with a frequency stick. Surely we could try different executions, a developing story line perhaps? There’s a thin line between acceptance through recognition, and rejection through annoyance. Being seen 8,000 times during a 45 minute show is actually not a good thing, it’s a bad thing. The target audience eventually glazes over. And when the offending ad has become a nuisance then ‘Houston, we have a problem’. Excessive repetition is annoying.

So why are brands engaged in this type of relentless bombardment? Well, it’s lazy media planning or lazy media buying, or probably both. Time to cease and desist. We know where this excess comes from. We’ve all heard the classic, “If we spend $3 million instead of $2.5 million on primetime we get $300k worth of free spots which is awesome”.  The good news is those ‘free’ spots aren’t airing primetime so they won’t compound the error, the bad news is they all actually do air at 4 am on the Al Toss Network. Which boasts an audience of three primates and a reptile – all holed up in a North African zoo. Nice.”

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