On the Re­la­tion­ship of Ad­ver­tis­ers and TV Net­works


TV net­works need to un­der­stand and adopt ad­ver­tiser brand val­ues for a more pro­duc­tive, re­ward­ing re­la­tion­ship.

Prod­uct place­ment in­vest­ment (glob­ally) is an­tic­i­pated to ex­ceed $16 Bil­lion in 2018, as ad­ver­tis­ers con­tinue to seek more en­gage­ment for their brands. How­ever, with the ris­ing de­mand from ad­ver­tis­ers to lever­age prod­uct in­te­gra­tion, there is an in­creas­ing level of con­cern by TV net­works of turn­ing TV pro­grammes into com­mer­cials.

At Dubai Lynx, Dolly Saidy Makhoul, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor at Mint MENA, ad­dressed the cur­rent is­sues fac­ing stake­hold­ers in­volved in the process of branded con­tent cre­ation and while an­swer­ing all-im­por­tant ques­tion: how to cre­ate a bet­ter syn­ergy be­tween the two worlds?

The last decade has wit­nessed a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in all forms of prod­uct in­te­gra­tion in the MENA re­gion: spon­sor­ship of TV shows, prod­uct place­ment and cre­ation of branded con­tent. Makhoul af­firms how­ever, that there is no pub­lished data to know how much is be­ing spent on prod­uct place­ment and brand in­te­gra­tion in the Mid­dle East. “We are mak­ing progress but we have a long jour­ney ahead,” she says.

Makhoul dis­cusses the first form of branded con­tent, which is found in the iconic novel, 'Around the World in Eighty Days', writ­ten by Jules Verne in 1873. Ship­ping and trans­port com­pa­nies com­peted to be men­tioned within the con­text of the fic­tional jour­ney. Makhoul goes on to give key ex­am­ples of prod­uct place­ment through­out the decades. Rayban is ac­knowl­edged as a com­pany that re­vived their im­age through prod­uct place­ment. Af­ter the com­pany had ex­pe­ri­enced a de­cline in sales, the brand agreed to Tom Cruise’s wear­ing of Way­far­ers in the 1983 movie, 'Risky Busi­ness', which marked the be­gin­ning of the Way­far­ers phe­nom­e­non; 360,000 pairs were sold that year.

These are prime ex­am­ples of global suc­cess sto­ries but Makhoul ques­tions, “What can be done to im­prove the re­la­tion­ship of ad­ver­tis­ers and TV net­works for more suc­cess sto­ries in the re­gion?”

Makhoul em­pha­sises the im­por­tance of cre­at­ing a process of work­ing bet­ter to­gether. “There must be an early stage of en­gage­ment with the TV net­works that must man­age ad­ver­tis­ers ex­pec­ta­tions. Ad­ver­tis­ers must also un­der­stand that forced in­te­gra­tion is no way to go. There must be a rel­e­vant col­lab­o­ra­tion.” Early in­volve­ment of ad­ver­tis­ers pro­motes seam­less brand in­te­gra­tion and will pro­vide sturdy foun­da­tions for an ex­change of ideas and in­for­ma­tion. “In­te­gra­tion if not sup­ported by deeper strate­gic and cre­ative def­i­ni­tions will be in­ef­fec­tive,” she con­firms.

TV net­works need to un­der­stand and adopt ad­ver­tiser brand val­ues for a more pro­duc­tive, re­ward­ing re­la­tion­ship. As more and more peo­ple shift to new view­ing pat­terns, there is a need for TV ad­ver­tise­ment meth­ods to change. And con­se­quently, there is a need for brands to adopt softer mar­ket­ing ap­proaches lever­ag­ing TV and Film. In re­cent decades, na­tive ad­ver­tis­ing has spread across the en­ter­tain­ment land­scape. Makhoul high­lights the Bond movies as a key ex­am­ple of suc­cess­ful brand in­te­gra­tion - util­is­ing prod­uct place­ment to promi­nently place or cre­atively in­te­grate brands into par­tic­u­lar story lines or scenes to pro­mote brand aware­ness. In this case, a lux­ury watch and car is weaved into the nar­ra­tive of the story. “Bond can­not achieve a mis­sion with­out ac­cu­rate tim­ing or a fast car,” she says.

A story must al­ways re­main rel­e­vant to view­ers and must be cre­ated to trig­ger emo­tions and to en­gage view­ers in a cap­ti­vat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Makhoul ex­presses a need for both par­ties to in­vest in ac­quir­ing en­gage­ment mea­sure­ment tools and to seek new op­por­tu­ni­ties with brand in­te­gra­tion man­agers to en­sure seam­less brand con­tent in­te­gra­tion. “For the past two years, TV net­works, me­dia buy­ing agen­cies, me­dia sales com­pa­nies and cre­ative agen­cies, have started to cre­ate brand in­te­gra­tion units/de­part­ments, to en­sure prod­uct ad­ver­tis­ing is in­te­grated or­gan­i­cally,” she af­firms.

She also high­lights the im­por­tance of dig­i­tal in­ser­tion, which has be­come a highly ef­fec­tive means of rel­e­vant ad­ver­tis­ing to au­di­ences all over the world. On the one hand, it doesn't in­ter­fere with the cre­ative process – it all hap­pens in the edit­ing suite. On the other, with big-bud­get TV pro­grammes of­ten sell­ing to 200 ter­ri­to­ries world­wide, deals can be tai­loured lo­cally.

Makhoul be­lieves that one must pave the way for greater in­cen­tives in the re­gion. “We must give fo­cused recog­ni­tion in the Mid­dle East, for best brand in­te­gra­tion. Cre­ate an awards cer­e­mony and cel­e­brate those achieve­ments as a mo­ti­va­tional in­cen­tive to reach new heights of suc­cess in this spe­cialised do­main.”

For Makhoul, an open di­a­logue is a key as­pect of im­prov­ing the over­all re­la­tion­ship be­tween ad­ver­tis­ers and TV net­works. “A con­tin­u­ous di­a­logue to as­sess per­for­mances at the end of each sea­son or show, to share learn­ing and suc­cess sto­ries, is the way to im­prove the qual­ity of work,” she con­cludes

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