The TV influence

Posted on 17/11/2010


It wasn’t so long ago that in the wake of Stephen Gately-gate and early wins from PR and marketing agencies using social media for clients, that people were proclaiming Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as the future of marketing.

True, social media has shown itself (on occasion) to be the better of print and outdoor (sorry, not meaning for this to turn into a ‘best of’ blog post).

But, the one area social media hasn’t proved itself against is TV.

In fact, during thegeneral election, we even saw TV really start to fight back and lead social media.

And this, I think, is continuing.

Data from Thinkbox shows that among the most ‘connected’ segments of society, 52% of people have made online purchases while watching TV and that even more than that consume multi-format media at the same time (especially watching TV and surfing the net).

So, is this the chance for TV to lay down a challenge and lead social media?

Well, yes and no.

The opportunity is there for TV to spark discussion, online search and even influence buying behaviour. But, I personally think that some advertisers haven’t got it quite right.

Recent campaigns from Dolmio and L’Oreal have all tried to get consumers to ‘advocate’ on behalf of their brands using social media. But, if you look at their YouTube pages, the number of real consumer uploads is pitiful compared to the total spend.

How many people really want to do it like Dolmio?

This points to a major misunderstanding of what people are prepared to do.

Yes, they may want to get onto X-Factor, but they don’t want to star in a Dolmio ad (well, 23 search results come up on YouTube for ‘Do It Like Dolmio’). What you offer has to be amazing – people don’t just engage because it’s on YouTube.

And what you ask of them must be realistic. Most people engage fleetingly with almost all forms of marketing – whether it’s reading a news article or watching an ad.

Getting people to prolong that engagement has always been a holy grail for marketing – and this is where news that sparks opinion and debate, experiential, live events and an ‘easy ask’ coupled with engaging content on social media are fantastic forms of brand engagement.

But, while people do want to discuss brands and events on social media, they don’t want to be overly led, feel the conversation is too managed or that they will be exploited just to make an advertising campaign work.

All of these points mean that (as usual) the best approach is to integrate your marketing, try to avoid one discipline leading the mix, consider all channels – being realistic on the relative stengths and weaknesses – and start with what the consumer wants and is prepared to do.

If you keep a real understanding of the target audience in mind you won’t go far wrong.