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Television Advertising: Media Mogul



So you want to be a television star? Michael Fruchtman has five tips for getting better value for your money.

SCENARIO: You’ve got a commercial that is nothing short of cinematic genius. And you are ready to unveil it to the world. You contact your local television affiliate to arrange your media buy. The next day a very accommodating and extremely helpful sales representative is at your front door offering you an incredible deal on the station’s latest runaway home improvement hit. She throws a few numbers your way, adds a couple of quick demographics, and … bang! You are the first (and only) corporate sponsor for Watching Paint Dry, a ?riveting? television program airing every Sunday at 3:00 am. And you have successfully secured more than 300 slots over the next six months! As your sales rep strides out the door, you get the sinking sensation that things could have gone better. And you know what? You’re right.  

Here’s five tips that will help ensure that all your television media purchases are productive and profitable: 

1. Plan your media for the year. Chart an annual plan for your television, print and radio. If you’re working with a small budget, consider which months are the most important for your business. Place your television media during those months. Then, eliminate two to four months from your annual buy. It will save you money, and drive customers to your store when they are more likely to buy. 

2. Remember, it’s all in the numbers. A common mistake when buying television spots is the assumption that more is better. If you are working with a limited budget, don’t be fooled by the opportunity to run 75 spots at a very low cost. Those spots are inexpensive for a reason. (Remember Watching Paint Dry?)  

3. Concentrate your buys in two-week increments. You don’t need to run your spots throughout the month. Media buyers often concentrate spots in two week increments called ?flights?. This will actually stretch your media dollars. If you only have $6,000 to spend for the month, you’ll generate more awareness by concentrating your exposure into two weeks than by trying to stretch it out over a full month.  


4. Create healthy competition. Make your sales reps work for you. Never lock yourself into a buy with one station, no matter how great a deal they offer. There are two reasons for this. 1.) Do you only watch a single television station? No, like everyone else, you station-hop to watch a variety of shows. 2.) If you sign with one station, you’ve eliminated the need for the stations to win your business. Let them fight over you. Use your leverage to ask for better placement or added value (for example, having your name featured in a banner like ?The Evening News was brought to you by … Joe’s Jewelers?.) .  

5. Knowledge is power. An informed buyer is a better buyer. Ask your station rep to bring their ratings books. These are published four times a year. Check the date. You should not be looking at a book that is more than seven months old. Know your audience. Even timeslots on a hit show can be ineffective if they’re not the right fit for your product. For example; The Simpsons gets great ratings, but the audience skews young. Is this the best placement for a romantic ad about marriage and anniversaries?



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