Thursday, October 19, 2006

Trade messages on mainstream media… what the?

We’ve discussed how ad agencies don’t prefer advertising themselves but what about award shows advertising on mainstream media… I wonder why that happens.

An example is tonight’s Hall of Fame Awards which was advertised as a banner ad on, and on two walls at Raffles Link – our most celebrated creatives pose for the camera, representing the newly introduced creative director’s award for the HOF 2006.

Another example was the Singapore Media Awards which was advertised on radio and more.

The only people who are interested in award shows are agencies, who then rope in their clients for a “great night at a great table, with great company”, according to one of our blog watchers, thc. Thanks for your comments by the way.

Which is fair. I think award shows are great opportunities to reward creativity and having all your peers gathered together for a few evenings in a year is great. I, for one, love the atmosphere.

So why then, would running an ad on Class 95FM, for example, be of any use? Surely organisers can simply send an email to all the agencies in Singapore. There are only 300 plus of them and if that’s too many, then the usual suspects who are active at award shows are easy enough to identify and target.

One obvious reason why such ads appear on mainstream media is because parties such as SMRT Media are supporters of the award shows and it’s part of their partnership agreement to offer up some free ad space.

But I’m thinking, SMRT Media is a commercial organisation and it can make good money out of the space it’s giving away. I’m all for showing support of a worthy cause, but the support has to mean something.

I think it’s great SMRT Media is providing a platform for people our industry respect, such as Tay Guan Hin, Rob Gax, Ng Tian It etc., to come out from behind the scenes to be acknowledged for the work they do. But I don’t believe these names mean anything to the average MRT commuter, and he/she definitely won’t buy a table at the next award show.

My point is, trade messages in mainstream media does not make sense and there our media planners should know this much better than me.

I’m happy to be corrected on this.


Xeos said...

It won't matter to the average Jane & Joe, however it will matter to people currently working in the industry, people planning to enter the industry (fresh graduates), and if it's big enough, it can bring in talented foreign workers.

The people working in an agency; is the blood of the agency - if your agency is wildly known for it's works, it will bring in the skilled & talented workers. Maybe even pull a few people from other agencies.

For a creative team, the limelight = adrenaline rush. Why be in a band, if not to perform =) ? It's great for morale.

Discoroach said...

The people who run trade messages on mass media aren't sophisticated enough to understand what smart people in media planning & buying refer to as “environment”. To them, it’s just an ad which will be seen by a lot of people, some of whom will hopefully be part of the target audience. Heck, the ads don’t cost anything so what’s the problem?

The problem is twofold:

1. This approach, ignores the state of mind viewers, listeners or commuters are in when they are exposed to advertising which are out of context. An advertisement for a specific B2B product during Desperate Housewives, even if it hits the right decision-maker, is wasted while the decision-maker is at home with his family and has switched off from work. The ad would be far more effective in a trade magazine which provides the correct environment and delivers a decision-making audience in the correct state of mind – thinking about work.

2. Ads placed in the wrong environment and out of context make the advertiser look stupid. Last year, BAS, a weapons systems manufacturer, advertised on a bus. Stupid. MindShare advertised on free-to-air TV. Doubly stupid, considering that the biggest media buying firm is supposed to be a specialist in this area.

These ads might well have been free in terms of dollars and cents, but there certainly was a cost in terms of reputation.

Alfred LARGANGE said...

I was delighted to see all these industry faces in the MRT at a time when I was freelancing for BBDO. It was very inspirational to me.

Putting those posters in SMRT stations like Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar and Bugis was done to target the Media-Communication-Advertising crowd and the aspiring students and young professionals.

Moreover, the profile of the whole local Advertising industry was lifted by the showcasing of mainly local talent, while the general conception is that Foreign Talent is calling the shots in the sector.