Sunday, April 13, 2014

3 Things TV Can Learn From Social Media

Bob Hoffman's talk at Advertising Week Europe has generated a super-fun controversy.

A commenter on Campaign Brief opines: "So glad this is out there. Sick of the so called 'social specialists' in the agency talking shit the entire time."

Whereas my old colleague Carl Moggridge describes Bob (via Twitter) as "The world's most jaded and deluded adman," and points out that Bob's speech, which largely praises TV and derides online, was sponsored by the UK's largest free-to-air TV broadcaster.

The comments I've seen on the various ad blogs seem mostly to be on Bob's side, in a ratio of about 5 to 1.

And yet a lot of those commenters are angry.

Yes, there's a lot of bullshit spoken about social. And I applaud Bob for calling it out. But my question is - rather than being angry about the rampant rise of the online world, would it not be more interesting to consider what the old world can learn from the new?

So here goes, with 3 things TV can learn from social media. 

1) Social media campaigns are short

When a cancer charity asks people to post a 'no make-up selfie', it asks them to do it once. Not six times. And the whole campaign is around for about a week, not six weeks. And yet media buyers insist that people need to see a TV ad multiple times. And that a TV campaign must last for weeks. Is that really necessary? If it's impactful enough, do people need to see it multiple times? Would it not be better to invest in different executions, rather than hitting people over the head with the same one, again and again?

2) Social media campaigns get people to do something

It's well-known that getting people to do something makes them more likely to buy. That's why vacuum cleaner salespeople are so keen for you to have a go yourself. And yet 95% of TV ads are nothing but one-way messages. Please note I'm not saying that every ad needs to urge people to enter a competition, or go to a website. It just doesn't need to be a closed loop. It could ask questions, or make people think. Rather than just broadcasting at them.

3) Social media campaigns are light-hearted

Marketers have quickly worked out that to get engagement online, you have to do something funny, interesting, or quirky. Because that's what people respond to. And yet when it comes to TV, that learning seems to go out of the window. There's a belief that it's okay to broadcast ads which are wall-to-wall product benefit, testimonials, or rational sales messages. It's not. Just because you're paying to send someone a message, doesn't mean they'll respond well to it.

Despite Bob's assault on it, the internet is not going away. But nor is TV. So wouldn't it be great if the two sides could play nicely, and see what they can learn from each other?


Anonymous said...

I don't think Bob is angry about the rampant rise of the online world, in fact he embraces it and credits it for the success of his blog and his book "101 Contrarian ideas about advertising" that he sells via Amazon.

His speech is more about the bullshit that's spun regarding the effectiveness of online/ social media channels to sell products to consumers.

the idea that people want to 'engage' with brands online or via social media is a deluded thought that ultimately hurts the agency, the clients and the industry.

He's angry at Marketers persistence that traditional advertising channels are dead, when in fact measurements show they are still effective in reaching audiences.

I think if people take the time to read his blog and listen to what he says we may all become a little more enlightened.

Anonymous said...

What's most idiotic is diving selling between brand/above the line, below, digital and social.

It's just a way for holding companies run by money men to extract more money but does the agencies doing the actual work nor the clients any favors.

Ever heard of Wieden + Kennedy's Media or Digital agency spinoffs?

A lurking media guy said...

The bigger issue for TV is firmly in those measurements that you speak of there Anonymous, and the way they are collected and then given to us in the media world.
If TV companies want to be completely transparent, give us minute by minute ratings so we can see how it changes during the ad breaks that they charge such high rates for. Don't give us 15 minute block that they then claim to prove how many people are watching TV and therefore the effectiveness of the ads. Yes, people still watch TV, but do they still watch the ads with the amount of 2nd screens now available? I'm saying no, so tell me how to better utilise content, social channels, programme associations etc to find the reach that TV used to have.

Find a better system than 1200 boxes across the country to measure one of the biggest revenue generating media.

Simon - agree completely with your points 2 & 3.

TV is in danger of going the same way of the physical print newspapers if they're not careful and come up with effective and better reasons to keep us suggesting traditional style TV advertising over individually measured online options.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous media guy, based on your logic if you cant accurately measure the performance of a medium then it must be useless?

Measurements have shown Social media is no where near as effective as other traditional channels in terms of getting people to act and ultimately purchase something(although I'm not able to cite specific data please take my word for it).

TV has its limitations but I don't think social media will ever get the edge on it.

Ultimately a great idea is all that is needed to make any medium effective.

Anonymous said...

I think Hoffman simply plays a deliberate villain in a "social miracle" infested world.

bottom line is - he's 100% correct.

not that TV is god and social is crap. but that the two are interconnected and can hugely support each other if working in unison.

he's balancing stuff. which is common sense. and I applaud him for that.

Jim said...

You must have noticed very few people sell vacuums (or anything) door to door anymore, except con men of course.

Just saying.

Social media is probably quite good at appealing to people regarding social issues. I thunk it struggles in many other categories. Very few people actually want to talk about brands on or off line.

Once the hyperbole from social mediaists dies down a bit then hopefully it will be seen as an extra channel at best for marketing campaigns. more like at customer complaint dump..what is my train late, why is flight delayed, what was my burger which you'll get a vacuous sorry about that etc maybe with a token gesture.