October 8, 2008
 

The 2008 Planescence Tour

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Wake me up inside.

Is your client humming the bars from, "Bring Me to Life," Evanescence's heart-stopping/throbbing song that catapulted it up to the top of the charts? Or is that you?

A little nervous? Would we be overstating the jumpiness MadAve has right now as it begins planning and executing 2008 media budgets for clients who "may not be exactly in the greatest of moods?"

Could the age-old axiom, "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" be the very thing that deletes you from staff "head count."

Wondering what business life will look like in 2008 is good cause for anyone's nerves to be brittle right now.

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Call my name and save me from the dark.

Evanescence's success is a sign of the times. According to many music critics, their music is powerful and memorable because "it is mysterious and dark, and places a picture in the listeners' mind."

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Save me from the nothing I've become.

So picture this. It's 7:30AM and you're on your way to work, thinking to yourself about the reaction your client's going to have in the 9:00AM meeting from the ideas you've written into the media plan. Let's go through the deck, shall we?

Television: Ahh, the writer's strike. Let's come back to that one.

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Radio: Too much clutter. All the good listeners are on Sirius.

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Print. Okay, something I can believe in. Depends on the title. But will the client?

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Newspapers: Hmmm, maybe if they're buying Philly. They're going up. Every other paper is going south.

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Out of home: Definitely. Note to self. Check out digital outdoor.

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Promotion: D*mn, the client has a different agency for that.

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Events: Definitely.

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Digital: Of course, but where do I begin? Client still thinks digital is search and pop ups. Still, it's a "must have" now. It's not going to be easy. Our creative team still wants nothing but TV. They are like, so yesterday.

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Now that I know what I'm without,
You can't just leave me.
Breathe into me and make me real.
Bring me to life.

Where does that leave me/we/us/them/it? Go get another cup of coffee. The answer lies in none of the above and all of the above. Come again?

Media investments in 2008 are going to be based on integrated packages. They should be media company-specific. If you haven't been paying attention, media properties have been consolidated into a handful of major behemoths, which btw are still quite hungry for acquisitions.

Though it's counterintuitive in the sense that you, the agency, think you have to take more meetings, to look at more options, to spend less money, to show your client that you're sweating more blood, sweat and tears on their behalf; the truth is you'll keep your client from wanting to pull yours and their hair out in 2008 by keeping your options structured in a "media company-specific" mashed up approach.

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General Market: Take TV for example, people watch programs, not channels, right? Right. But do you really need to go past Viacom and Time Warner to intelligently spend your big $20 million budget? Together these two alone own half the media world. Or take Disney or News Corp.

Assuming the writers strike ends before the year 2525, the only source that will tell you to spread your limited funds all around town is the network buyer who wants to keep your dough siloed. The media companies will pitch you for it all. And they'll give you a better deal across the board than if your agency allows its TV unit buy the TV, the magazine group buy the print, the digital group buy the digital and so on and so forth.

All of this sight,
I can't believe I couldn't see
Kept in the dark
but you were there in front of me

If you spread your TV budget out with too many companies, the extra value you would receive from a well thought-out additional media program would be nothing more than two tickets to Letterman; versus for example, a VH1 6-week promotion that includes product placement, a contest, a strong tie-in to the site and perhaps limited use of logo rights, or other brag points that your brand/client could use in their sales pipeline. In reality, this could in many ways be where the media budget really comes into play; when it comes to getting next year's products sold in at Wal-Mart...

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B2B: Think Forbes. All in one, multiple print titles, global site, Forbes TV, killer conferences, world-class events, marketing research and integrated promotions ,etc...

Radio: Think ClearChannel.

Search: Take a wild guess.

Print: Think Conde Nast/Time Warner

Outdoor: A little trickier. Go to an outdoor buying agency. Like MacDonald Media.

Kids: Begin with Disney

Sports: Begin with ESPN. They'll plan the rest with you by sports franchise, really. Top tier.

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Social Media: Begin with Slide. In many ways they are more important than Facebook, MySpace and all the others put together. Call Sonya Chawla at Slide. Don't stop there. Do some market surveillance. Talk to them all to educate yourself, but also because the model is not yet set. Certainly Microsoft will give you a number to call at Facebook and they'll also pitch you using aQuantive in the process. Take that meeting. You'll walk away having learned a lot more than you did before you walked in.

Same thing with Google and You Tube. For MySpace, begin with News corp. MySpace reps are pedaling imps. Their big holding companies are peddling deals to get portions of your total budget.

Mobile? Michael Hirshoren at Rhythm NewMedia.

High tech: Susan Bratton. Susan is your best resource for understanding Next-Gen's next gen. She's the Chairman Emeritus of ad:tech, Vice Chair of the ADM, CEO of Personal Life Media and one of the most charming pros in the business.

Whether you're an Evanescence fan or not, it's time to get out of the mosh-pit and into the mash-up. You may not get a big fat juicy kiss at the end of the day, but you and your client will feel more awake inside!

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