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"Let me explain newspaper advertising to you," said my new client, the owner of a national chain of oriental rug stores..."It
is like buying real estate except you pay for the column-inch instead of the
square foot. So, you need to make sure that you use every single column-inch of the ad
to get the best bang for your buck..." Well... I actually agree with the sentiment that every column inch should be used to good advantage, but not by cramming every column inch with "stuff." As I explained to him, one of my favorite ads is a full page, full-color newspaper ad containing about 99.9% "white space"
except for the center of the page which had a full color, life size image of
a single Hershey's Kiss. The copy simply read, "In case of emergency, PULL." Ogilvy & Mather used every column inch to VERY good advantage to break through the clutter while displaying their tiny silvery product in full-living-color (color costs far more than black and white). This advertisement would have made a great outdoor billboard as the message could be understood quickly and easily. By the way, this extensive use of every single column inch in the "Little Hershey's Kisses" campaign which ran in print and broadcast media throughout most of the 1980s and '90s helped to restore Hersheys lead in the US candy industry in 1989 with a 43.5% market share from 27% in 1975. [After I 'splained these facts in detail, my client's perceptions regarding cramming column inches with "stuff" began to change.]
While this full page newspaper ad was used effectively for branding, newspaper ads can also be very effective for detailed price and item listings. But, an outdoor billboard would probably not be quite so versatile due to its limited space and the fact that prospects usually have only a matter of seconds to view them at the risk of plowing into the car ahead. Hopefully, not even my previous client would consider using a 30 second television commercial for
detailed price and item listings. Nor would broadcast
television covering a large DMA (as noted in a previous blog entry) be used efficiently to target prospects in a small local neighborhood. Indeed, the plethora of media vehicles out there can
be used to great advantage -- or misused and even totally wasted. So, before continuing my blog
entries on buying specific media, I thought I would write about
the "whys and wherefores" of specifying appropriate media.
While the creative department develops the concept the media planner's job is to determine which media will
be most efficient and appropriate.
So, an important part of our creative journey is the development of
a media rationale for the creative brief. Often these decisions are obvious,
but sometimes they require studious evaluation. In light of these facts, my next blog entry will contain an overview
of a variety of different media and how they might be used effectively.