Big, beau­ti­ful brand­ing: is the high-end TVC a relic of the past?


New Zealand Marketing - - Contents -

Has dig­i­tal made the TVC a thing of the past? Jonathan Cot­ton takes a look at the value in beau­ti­ful high-end pro­duc­tions.

Ask any in­dus­try know-it-all and they’ll tell you: In 2018 mar­ket­ing is all about ac­ti­vat­ing brands on­line. With ben­e­fits like pin­point au­di­ence tar­get­ing, ut­terly trans­par­ent re­port­ing and real Mc­coy ROIS, dig­i­tal is where it’s at and the big, beau­ti­ful brand-build­ing pro­duc­tions of yes­ter­day are well and truly be­com­ing a thing of the past.

But is that ac­tu­ally the case? Have mar­keters re­ally turned their backs on the big bud­get main­stream cam­paigns of old? Is there still a place in the mar­ket for the cin­e­matic TVC? And are brands still will­ing to play the long-game of iden­tity build­ing?

It’s not quite that sim­ple

Go­ing by the stats, one could ar­gue that the death of big, glam­orous brand­build­ing con­tent has been some­what ex­ag­ger­ated.

Ac­cord­ing to Stan­dard Me­dia In­dex, agen­cies spent a bil­lion dol­lars on ma­jor me­dia across New Zealand last year, and lead­ing the way in that lot was Tv—stub­bornly hold­ing out against the dig­i­tal on­slaught - with a not in­signif­i­cant $389.6 mil­lion over­all haul.

That’s not to say dig­i­tal is in­signif­i­cant in the scheme of things of course: to the con­trary, dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing is hot on the heels of TV, at $338.9 mil­lion for 2017 - more than seven per­cent growth on 2016. (Out­door is still the out­lier, at $136.3 mil­lion, but up, nev­er­the­less, a whop­ping 18.4 per­cent in 2017).

Sim­ply put, TV still reigns, but only just, and the chaotic fig­ures in­di­cate an in­dus­try well and truly in a state of dis­rup­tion.

That’s a fact not lost on the in­dus­try it­self. Pwc’s Global En­ter­tain­ment and Me­dia Out­look 2017 – 2021 asked en­ter­tain­ment and me­dia CEOS about such is­sues: Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, 56 per­cent said they are ex­pect­ing tech­nol­ogy to “re­shape the in­dus­try” over the next five years.

So let’s call it as we see it: Kiwi ad­ver­tis­ing dol­lars will con­tinue to shift on­line. PWC says as much, pre­dict­ing that on­line ad­ver­tis­ing will grow to $1.4 bil­lion in 2021, over­tak­ing TV as soon as next year.

“What is wor­ry­ing tra­di­tional me­dia is that ad­ver­tiser spend­ing on the dig­i­tal side flows dis­pro­por­tion­ately to a few large plat­forms like Face­book and Google,” says Greg Doone, PWC di­rec­tor of dig­i­tal strat­egy.

The rea­son for the shift? Those pesky mil­len­ni­als.

“The in­flu­ence of mil­len­ni­als and younger gen­er­a­tions on the con­sump­tion of dig­i­tal me­dia is be­ing widely felt,” says Doone. “They seek free me­dia, to stream mu­sic, watch videos on Youtube and con­sume free news. And as they be­come the dom­i­nant de­mo­graphic, these habits look set to stay with them.”

“The trends and con­sumer be­hav­iour we see un­fold­ing in New Zealand are largely in line with global trends, with a slight lag.”

If that global trend is any­thing to go by, the writ­ing is on the wall. Glob­ally, in­ter­net ad­ver­tis­ing al­ready gen­er­ates more rev­enue than TV ad­ver­tis­ing.

“That lead, thanks to the rapid growth of mo­bile ad rev­enues in par­tic­u­lar, is set to in­crease sig­nif­i­cantly in the next five years,” says PWC.

So that’s the stats. The TVC is dead and we have killed it.


But wait, there’s more

Sure, those stats don’t look good for the long-term sur­vival of the TVC, but there’s a world of dif­fer­ence be­tween num­bers on the page and the ex­pe­ri­ence of the boots on the ground. In fact some in the in­dus­try say that higher end brand­ing con­tent may, in fact, ac­tu­ally be en­joy­ing some­thing of a re­nais­sance.

“Dig­i­tal has not killed it dead,” says De­clan Cahill, owner and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of Exit Films.

“The mar­ket still pro­duces brand work and, in fact, ar­guably there is a lit­tle more now than there was a few years ago. It’s hard to quan­tify this, but it does feel as though brands are recog­nis­ing that they still need to mar­ket to both an on­line and broad­cast main­stream me­dia au­di­ence.”

“But it’s fair to say that the bat­tle to re­main com­pet­i­tive has grown.”

There’s still some­thing about the off­line for­mat that has pres­tige and mo­ti­vates brand-builders to en­gage with those medi­ums. Af­ter all, each chan­nel has its strengths and weak­nesses and main­stream broad­cast re­mains the best way to cre­ate and main­tain a pres­ence in mass au­di­ences —tar­get­ing be damned.

“I see it as we're now in a kind of mid­dle ground,” says An­gela Bird, man­ag­ing part­ner at The Work­shop.

“The pen­du­lum has in­deed swung from big brand TV pro­duc­tion through to on­line con­tent and dig­i­tal pro­duc­tion, and I think we are now some­where in the mid­dle. Brands see the value in good TV pro­duc­tion, as well as the ne­ces­sity of be­ing on dig­i­tal chan­nels.”

“Off­line cam­paigns, and in par­tic­u­lar, TV, drive reach,” says Patrick Mca­teer, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer at Nim­ble Pro­duc­tions, “whereas a dig­i­tal ap­proach al­lows us to win with a ‘share’ au­di­ence.”

Case in point: Nike with ‘Noth­ing Beats a Lon­doner’ and Speights’ two-minute film ‘The Dance’, the lat­ter cre­ated by DDB NZ.

“They both had amaz­ing cut-through and show­case great en­ter­tain­ing films,” says Mca­teer. “When they are on TV, they can only be con­sumed by who­ever is watch­ing it, but when they have a dig­i­tal as­pect too they can be eas­ily ‘liked’ and ‘shared’.”

Fast, cheap and good. Pick two.

As the tech­ni­cal and cost bar­ri­ers to film have fallen, new sup­pli­ers have hit the mar­ket, in­creas­ing com­pe­ti­tion and low­er­ing mar­gins. Few would ar­gue that, in 2018, fast and cheap are no longer op­tional ex­tras, even for high-end pro­duc­tions. Rather, that’s often where ne­go­ti­a­tions start from.

“It’s fair to say that is a trend, par­tic­u­larly with your bread-and­but­ter re­tail com­mer­cials,” says Steve Fin­ni­gan, man­ag­ing part­ner and head of sound at Im­ages & Sound.

“A few years ago when we were do­ing a lot more TV com­mer­cial work we’d be help­ing clients on the side with a ‘C’mon, it’s only for the web ver­sion.”

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