Cheap, fast and frequent

A number of advertisers and media planners think newspapers are not effective at reaching certain demographics. I beg to differ, and hope to demonstrate that newspapers should be considered a vital element of the plan for many demographics, including women.

A number of advertisers and media planners think newspapers are not effective at reaching certain demographics. I beg to differ, and hope to demonstrate that newspapers should be considered a vital element of the plan for many demographics, including women.

In particular, daily newspapers effectively reach upscale women. On a weekday, newspapers reach 51% of all women 18+, and on weekends this rises to 62% (NADbank 2001). Of these women, 56% have household incomes over $50,000 and 57% are university graduates. On the weekend, 66% of women readers have household incomes over $50,000, and 69% are university graduates.

To demonstrate newspaper effectiveness, I will use a fictitious product aimed at a female consumer aged 25 to 54. Imagine a revolutionary, highly nutritious breakfast bar is being launched, and time is of the essence as the competition is trying to beat us to market.

The target demo is active and on the go. In the morning she is off to work or busy carting children around. For this example, Ontario will be used as the market, as it is a competitive media marketplace. Furthermore, Ontario is generally included when planning as it makes up a huge volume of consumers.

The key objectives for this launch are to:

* Maximize reach

* Maximize frequency (to showcase the product and make it top of mind)

* Get the message out ASAP

Many packaged goods products targeted at women are launched using TV and magazines. Chart 1 (above) demonstrates a launch plan using these media. Let’s take a moment to review all the major media and determine if there is an alternate plan that might suit this particular situation better.

We should take the following into consideration:

* We need a visual medium to highlight the package and brand name and facilitate its familiarity with the target group

* A copy conducive medium can explain the key point of difference – the special nutritional benefits

* Launching as soon as possible is imperative in order to beat competition to the market

Because the product is an on-the-go breakfast food, consideration will be given to creating synergy between the timing of exposure and timing of consumption.

Given these considerations, we will evaluate each major medium to determine its applicability in this case.

In Ontario, a television buy consisting of about 1,200 GRPs is within the budget (see Chart 1). We can heavy-up occasions in the more affordable morning time period to provide synergy with consumption, but watching TV in the morning is incongruent with our target’s busy lifestyle – she cannot watch on her way to work or while shuttling children. Furthermore, given our example, the TV buy cannot be executed in the required time frame (such buys are generally completed two to four months in advance). Finally, frequency cannot be maximized with TV alone.

A total of nine magazine insertions could also be afforded within the budget (Chart 1). Like TV, a traditional female-targeted magazine buy cannot be executed quickly, as it usually requires a three- to four-month lead time. The consumption of magazines can’t be linked to morning or weekday to fit with bar consumption. Finally, this is not a high-frequency medium as most magazines are monthly.

Newspaper can quickly deliver high reach and, when combined with other media, frequency can be maximized. An exposure made while reading the morning newspaper (commuting, at work or home) offers synergy with the time of day and the day of the week (weekday) that the product is typically consumed.

This launch also suits a news medium, as the revolutionary nutritious benefits are newsworthy. Furthermore, the newspaper is a reliable source for health information. This medium allows for visuals, copy and a trial incentive (coupon). Also, the newspaper Web site can be used to drive consumers to the manufacturer’s site for a coupon or a contest. Finally, the media buy can be executed quickly, usually within two days.

For this campaign, out-of-home can be used to pique initial interest and subsequently used as a reminder vehicle. It also effectively generates frequency. However, out-of-home alone is not sufficient for this launch, as it does not provide synergy with consumption, detailed copy, or a coupon mechanism.

As this target is active, radio during morning and afternoon drive times would make sense. A visual cannot be shown, but this medium can be used tactically: to promote stores carrying the bar, for a contest, or to direct the consumer to a coupon or contest found in the newspaper. Radio also provides a high level of frequency, which is important to ensure top-of-mind awareness.

Based on the above analysis, a combined buy of the following should be considered:

* Newspaper (160 ads across 14 markets, 1-2 /wk/mkt, 1/4 page, 4 colour)

* Outdoor (transit shelter ads)

* Radio (AM/PM drive)

Combined, these media achieve all the key goals for our nutritional breakfast bar launch (see Chart 2). More than that, this campaign delivers a frequency of 30 (see Chart 1) – almost twice as high as the television and magazine option – without sacrificing reach.

Suzanne Raitt is VP marketing at the Canadian Newspaper Association. She can be reached at: