Media planning challenge: when new media are old hat

Those who pine for the good old days when traditional media - that is, broadcast tv and radio, newspapers and magazines - were king might want to pour a stiff drink before reading our special report on media planning in the...

Those who pine for the good old days when traditional media – that is, broadcast tv and radio, newspapers and magazines – were king might want to pour a stiff drink before reading our special report on media planning in the year 2005.

As Nancy Smith notes in a separate opinion piece beginning on this page, the last two decades have already seen traditional media lose much of their dominance to ‘alternative, or new, media.’

Smith, who spent most of those years in the tv industry and is currently president of an independent Toronto media consultancy, NextMedia, is referring to what could be termed ‘old’ new media such as club programs, stadia, blimps and 800 telephone numbers.

In this special report, which begins on page 21, seven of the country’s top media planners – David Cairns of David Cairns and Company, Jeff Osborne of Media Buying Services, Ruta Zibens of Leo Burnett, Tom Batho of McKim Media Group, Bruce Baumann of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, Patrick Patterson of Genesis Media and a non-bylined piece from Initiative Media – take individual stabs at portraying what the media world will look like 10 years hence.

They do so in response to our challenge that they sketch out a media/communications plan for a mass market toothcare product.

The picture they draw collectively is one in which traditional media, most notably broadcast tv, has receded well into the background, displaced by a host of alternative media options that the planners attempt to weave into broad-reach plans.

In the imaginings of our media panel, ‘old’ new media will have grown in significance in the marketing of this classic mass market product.

And ‘new’ fragmented, high-tech interactive media will have leapt from the drawing board, where it currently resides, to centre stage in such formats as two-way, addressable tv, on-line services, the Internet, virtual mega-malls, cd-rom and more.

In the words of Leo Burnett’s Zibens, ‘Media planning in the year 2005 will be guided by the principle that advertising will need to be needed in order to be effective.

‘Our approach will recognize that advertising-by-intrusion is a weak option to advertising-by-invitation.’

Perhaps, Batho’s communications strategy is the most telling. He envisions two-way tv as the lead component in the launch of ‘NoCavity premium toothprotection’ in 2004.

By this time, mass-reach, non-paid tv has all but disappeared, popular programming such as 60 Minutes and major league baseball has migrated to advertiser-supported video-on-demand, and the Internet has graduated to a compelling true mass medium.