Special Report: Media Planning Challenge: What happens after the revolution?: Advances in research will be equally important

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.

Ruta Zibens is a media supervisor at Leo Burnett Company in Toronto.

The abundance of communications options in 2005 will indeed present the planner with significant challenges.

While, by then, technologically-established vehicles including interactive shopping channels, downloading of commercials onto cd-rom and direct marketing on the Internet may be useful components of some campaigns, it will be the planner’s challenge to assess the relevance of leading edge media vehicles against the target group.

In our opinion, advances in research capabilities will be as important as the advent of all of the new computer-dependent media vehicles, in that much more sophisticated targeting of population segments will be possible.

What does this mean for our mass market product?

In marketing our established adult toothpaste brand, we recognize that our efforts cannot be all things to all people; research such as DayScan and InstaSource will provide much more timely and comprehensive information on media behaviour.

We further believe that this research will indicate that the relevance of media with a high technological component will decrease as the age of the target group increases.

We have chosen to target Adults 45+, a group that will account for 53% of the Adult 20+ population by 2005.

Because of this group’s absolute size and its members’ concerns with health maintenance, it represents the greatest volume potential for the category.

Media plan building blocks

All of the media components included will contribute to supporting and enhancing the product’s brand essence which states that the toothpaste plays a key role in maintaining dental health due to its tooth decay- and gum disease-preventive ingredients.

Within the 45+ target group, each medium selected will contribute to reaching specific segments within this broadly defined target.

Research tools such as Target Track will allow much finer discrimination of these sub-groups.

The dissemination of the brand message will flow as follows:

Mass media ¥ Segmentation ¥ Store level ¥ Database ¥ One-to-one marketing.

The base plan will include a combination of conventional television using short form commercials and specialty channels using long form (depth of message) commercials.

The conventional tv buy will use day-after viewer research by market to allow for a precisely targeted buy.

Specialty services will have expanded to meet the interests and priorities of an aging population.

Stations such as Money and Living Now will focus on older segments within the 45+ target group with an emphasis on good health maintenance, personal financial management and the arts.

These television services will attract a large concentration of 45+ viewers, allowing for inexpensive and efficient reach of the target group.

This base plan will be integrated with complementary efforts in other media, including magazines and newspapers, which will be similarly selected to reflect the older target group’s interest in health issues.

Television and print will be flighted to provide year-round national support, recognizing the product category’s lack of seasonality.

Relationship marketing will also play a role in the support of the brand, with efforts focused on building a database via on-pack value offers.

The on-pack program will include brand loyalty inducements including loyal user programs (buy three, get one free) as well as one-time discounted purchases using retail affinity cards.

The database-driven relationship program encompasses dental health information and material offers related to other areas of interest to this target group, for example, travel and tour availabilities packaged on video.

The target group’s interest in travel may be further exploited by offering travel packs, which include our toothpaste product free of charge, through the airlines, hotels and tour operators that are identified by research as being preferred by the demographic.

Dental care professionals are another critical contact point for the target, as frequency of visits to dentists and other related professionals will increase with age.

Branded information pamphlets and sampling through these professionals and in cooperation with manufacturers of related items, such as toothbrushes, may be integrated with ongoing sponsorship of specific events, such as seniors’ day at particular retail outlets.

Finally, restaurants, theatres and transportation points such as airports may be targeted for product access in washroom dispensers.

All of these secondary vehicles are meant to work in conjunction with the base television campaign to maintain the brand’s position against all of the segments within the broader target.

We believe that the increased sophistication of research available for all media will be as revolutionary to the planning of media campaigns as are the new media vehicles.

Traditional media will still be attractive for many campaigns, as targeting on a much finer basis will be available.

Evaluation of a campaign’s efficacy will also be enhanced by the increased timeliness of data.

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.