April 13, 2010

How To Buy City Hall


Church and state, the classic Time Inc. term Mr. Hency Luce once used to describe the imaginary wall between his magazines' editorial and ad sales staffs has little relevance today, what with the mating ritual Paradise Publishing and Madison Avenue have given birth to.

The birth of "creativity" being inserted into once purely numeric media planning analyses has fertilized "the street". "Advertorial" is now here and wants everyone to take notice, much like a new born baby getting Mom and Dad's attention at 3AM in the morning.

Mr. Luce's imaginary wall has come tumblin down. Today's media moguls and giants of industry have turned Church and State into Merch and State.

In fact, the child has grown like a bean, as evidenced by recent promotions between media companies and local municipal programs such as New York City's MADE IN NY INCENTIVE PROGRAM.

What are the ramifications? Well for starters, in addition to listing the 18+ media types that TNS-MI measures -- which now also measures product placement -- smart media planners should also list municipal governments into their consideration set of potential, sponsorable media environments. More and more marketers and media companies are imagining new possibilities when they drive by City Hall, much like they view unsold, blank "Your Ad Here" highway billboards, when they glance out of their back seat window in the town car driving them home at night.

Another ramification perhaps is that more and more billboards may wear that "sign of desperation", along with other media as they ironically "fund" their new municipal media competitor, paying local taxes. Everyone knows you can't fight City Hall over your tax bill, now media companies learning they must now learn to fight City Hall for media share.

Smart municipal leaders and elected officials have transformed the descriptive term, media share into a directive, Media, share! Buying public officials has taken on a whole new meaning. If the great Mr. Henry Luce were here today, Mayor Bloomberg, a former media mogul himself, might have serious competition in the next mayoral election.

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