`Anybody home?’

With the heaviest part of the fall tv buying season wrapping up, last issue Strategy asked Steve Jones, national director of sales for cbc, to comment on what he would like to see happen in the next few years. Among other...

With the heaviest part of the fall tv buying season wrapping up, last issue Strategy asked Steve Jones, national director of sales for cbc, to comment on what he would like to see happen in the next few years. Among other things, Jones said tv needs better numbers and less control of the medium by research-oriented ad agencies which have lost their creativity. His article elicited the following response.

Steve. Your article.

Where do I start?

Hello, Steve. Is anybody home?

You said in your article that ‘Looking ahead, say five years from now, it would be my hope that, in general, the value of tv would be re-established.

‘On the broadcaster’s side, we need to have a sophisticated inventory management system in place, based on qualitative values rather than just grps.’

Right on, Steve.

Uh, this qualitative thing, how do we get there, Steve? Let me see if I’ve got this right.

You said, ‘We don’t need numbers,’ and, ‘The problem is, agencies are so research-oriented that they have lost their….horse sense.’

Jeez Steve, I hadn’t thought of that.

You also said that ‘Eventually, we will have better data, it’s inevitable. In the meantime, we could go a long way, and do a lot better for our product by using horse sense.’

So Steve, let me see if I understand this. Eventually, we will get the data thing, and then, I guess, we can relax the horse sense thing, and do the data thing.

Do you have a time-frame in mind, Steve? You mentioned ‘looking ahead five years.’ Can we say the time-frame for the data is five years, Steve?

So Canadian advertisers probably have about $10 billion more to spend on television over the next five years. Then we can probably get to the data thing. Umm.

You said, ‘We would like to be talking to the planners more than we are, and while the planning cycle’s going on, we would like to talk to the advertisers as well. Mostly, we deal with buyers in a clerical manner.’

Novel idea, Steve.

Uh, are you suggesting that planners and advertisers would be better at the horse sense thing?

I betcha buyers do the data thing, eh? Hey Steve, know what? ctv, tsn, Baton, the entire magazine publishing sector, the entire out-of-home media sector. Those guys, they’re doing what you’re talking about.

Honest, they see planners and advertisers all the time. Not sure they’re talking the horse sense thing. In fact, maybe we shouldn’t count the magazine guys. For sure, they do the data thing, but check out the other guys.

Your article stated ‘The fundamental problem at the moment is that the agencies are doing the agency’s job first and not the advertiser’s job first…flavor objectives…threats.’

Strong stuff, Steve. Nothing to make light of there. Name some names, Steve. Cite some example, experience. Do it, Steve. It’s an integrity thing.

And not incidentally, Steve, you soiled me with those statements. I’m one of those agency guys, so charge the guilty, Steve. Don’t stereotype, it’s not a responsible act.

You say that ‘We are paying [reps] based on volume, but also part of the plan now is based on activities that don’t necessarily result in the close of the sale. Reps get paid [commission] for going out to see the advertiser.’

Steve. Big idea. Is it called a ‘see commission?’ Your fax machines will go idle. Eerie. The Corp came up with this big idea on their own, didn’t they? Wow.

‘We’re going to sell more inventory because there’s a lot more action out there than cbc gets,’ you state. ‘Our effective rate is going to go up….inventory control.’

Attaboy, Steve. I’m reading lots about your inventory control system. Heard it’s high tech stuff. Let me see if I understand this. You use a sophisticated inventory management system to price it, and we use horse sense to buy it. Well, at least sophistication is in half the equation.

‘So, in our uniqueness, we have the opportunity to push this forward and thrive,’ you conclude.

Steve. Unique. Absolutely.

Terry Sheehy is media group manager at ad agency Leo Burnett in Toronto.