Special Report: Media Planning Challenge: What happens after the revolution?: In-home consumer panel

Strategy invited media planners to take a trip into the future where the revolutionary technologies of today have become just another part of the mix.For the past three years, we have invited media planners to develop extensive and detailed media plans...

Strategy invited media planners to take a trip into the future where the revolutionary technologies of today have become just another part of the mix.

For the past three years, we have invited media planners to develop extensive and detailed media plans for invented niche market products and services as a means of demonstrating creative media thinking.

Pizzazz Pizza, Executive Airlines and a value-added service for travellers called Body Guard were the subjects of our challenges in years past.

In a fresh twist on an established theme, this year we asked our media planner participants to picture what the media world will look like in the year 2005.

The objective was to give media people an opportunity to synthesize – and put into concrete form – a lot of the speculating they have already been doing about the fast-approaching new media universe.

We deliberately tried to keep the brief as simple as possible.

We asked them to look into the future – 10 years from now – and imagine what communications vehicles they might use to market a mass market, everyday product.

The product we selected was a tube of toothpaste.

We chose toothpaste because it is a product that will surely be needed even 10 years from now, and because it represents one of those classic mass market products that has depended on mass media to establish an identity and to differentiate itself in people’s minds.

It has also been a captive of traditional retail distribution outlets.

Here was the starting point from which we asked everyone to begin:

Imagine it is the year 2005.

You are the top planning executive responsible for a media/communications program for a toothcare product (known as toothpaste back in 1995).

It is mid-March and your client is beginning to budget for the coming fiscal year.

The client is not expecting to make any hard and fast decisions yet.

You have simply been asked to present an executive summary – a quick sketch, basically – of the communications tools, new and traditional, you are considering using for the coming year with respect to the toothcare product.

Tell us how you imagine this product will be getting its message to consumers 10 years from now.

You have about 750 words.

The report includes submissions from David Cairns and Company, Genesis Media, Initiative Media, Leo Burnett, McKim Media Group, Media Buying Services and Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising.

The report continues to page 35.

Jeff Osborne is group vice president at Media Buying Services in Toronto.

As you know, the marketing communications arena has undergone massive change in the past decade.

This has been driven largely by the technological and communication industries’ decision to replace sound business planning with a stampede-like charge into new technological and product development.

While there have been many corporate casualties, we marketers have been the winners in that we now have a number of very effective marketing communications tools available to us.

We are recommending a number of these for the 2005 Fine Tooth marketing plan.

We also now have an excellent ability to understand the dynamics of the marketplace, the consumer, and the consumer’s habits.

The combining of consumer debit card and upc product information gives us a formidable database.

Additionally, the recently launched in-home interactive tv consumer panel is providing an excellent, albeit expensive, source of attitudinal information.

We have applied these tools to our recommendations.

Current customer

retention incentive

We are detecting some loyalty weakness among current users.

This appears to be a function of lessening value perception in the face of low introductory pricing from new entries.

We have conducted a geographic propensity analysis (gpa) and have identified 24 geographic areas representing 15% of population, but 36% of our customer base, where a customer retention program will achieve the greatest return.

We recommend the use of the new Consumer Loyalty Reward (clr) technology.

First, we will use the instore kiosks where customers can scan the product upc and receive an added value coupon.

We will use kiosks only in our designated geographic areas.

As you know, the cost of the clr technology has dropped to the point where over 60% of homes have access through their interactive tv system.

We can expand the clr program into homes in our designated geographic areas and build in some attitudinal questions as part of the transaction.

New customer


There are some tremendous opportunities for Fine Tooth marketing communications.

As you know, over the past 10 years, conventional media have undergone enormous metamorphoses.

In today’s digital world, a television ‘bit’ looks no different to a telephone bit to a fax bit or a newspaper bit.

The media companies and license holders have evolved essentially into bit producers and distributors.

We are now blessed with what we have dubbed the ‘Virtual Mega Mall’ where shopping, entertainment, learning and interacting will all take place.

The mall operators, whether they are the telco, cable or cellular companies, are leasing space to a vast assortment of information providers wanting to reach a consumer, either as part of the consumer product communication chain, or as a pay-to-enter product in itself – like the cinema or virtual reality stores that have cropped up.

The populace has embraced the Virtual Mega Mall with enormous enthusiasm and, in doing so, has created great demand for custom use, user-friendly receivers.

The manufacturers have responded with a wide range of products to the point where 75% of homes have six or more receivers.

These range from high-definition large screen units primarily used for entertainment, to inexpensive units in kitchens and study areas.

An increasing number of consumers are purchasing the new flat screen, mirror-like receivers that can be hung anywhere, including bathrooms.

Like car radios of old, these new receivers are preprogrammed with most-used services.

For instance, we have learned that bathroom units are largely programmed to headline and financial news, and are being viewed during the morning bathroom routine.

The Virtual Mega Mall has become so pervasive that the average home has at least one receiver on from 6 a.m. until midnight.

Interactive serial story

While there are a number of highly targeted communication opportunities available, we want to focus on the Interactive Family Learning Channel.

This service has been highly successful by creating advertiser-supported interactive stories and games with educational value.

They have drawn audiences by providing prizes for successful completion of interactive projects.

We propose developing, with the service, an interactive serial story that would be of interest to both parents and children, and running it, at the outset, during the breakfast period.

We will integrate the Fine Tooth sales propoposition into the story.

Under consideration is a talking tooth that could become personalized and then used in other forums.

We will monitor access to and demographic profile of the users of the program.

Of course, payment to the service will be based on defined demographic profile areas.

We will also monitor customer purchase through the in-home upc scanning system and adjust the program regularly for content and geographic opportunity.

Other opportunities

We have compiled a summary of various other opportunities.

These can be reviewed on the mbs service in your interactive mailbox.