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You don't have to be a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist to know how influential Steve Grubbs and Harry Keeshan are on Madison Avenue. You just need to be on the inside of the network TV media business. In many respects though, becoming an insider is more difficult to attain than getting a medical or science degree!
As CEO of PHD North America, and executive vp and director of national broadcast, Steve and Harry employ their intelligence and judgment over the North American portion of PHD's global media organization, which plans and invests approximately $5 billion around the world on behalf of its clients. And it looks as if that $$ amount is growing!
The MadAve Journal was therefore delighted to have the opportunity to chat with them, for those of our readers who are mystified about the 2006/07 upfront, as well as for those who consider themselves on the inside. We sent editor, Tim McHale over to PHD headquarters to meet with them. Here's Steve and Harry's view on the health of television and the atmospheric pressures that advertisers will face in the next cycle:
Tim: Some of our readers are not well-versed in the technical aspects of the network TV marketplace, so I wanted to see if we could cover just how the upfront works.
Steve: That's fine.
Tim: Before we discuss this year, let's begin by looking back to last year's upfront. I saw a presentation from a well-known media agency who presented their upfront buy in August of 2005 with the claim that they were able "to beat down the market." It was kind of funny. Their opening slide had their two top buyer's faces glued to prize-fighter bodies. It raises an important question. Can any one agency or client have that much clout to drive prices down in the market?
Steve: No. There is no single agency or advertiser that is able to beat down the market. The upfront TV market has evolved in such a manner that most advertisers pay very similar annual cpm increases or decreases for each network over their previous year's base cost. However, there is still a substantial differential among advertisers' base costs. For example, most advertiser base costs on NBC that were going into the upfront negotiations for 2005-06 were a good bit higher with that network vs. its competitors.
We all root for the American team in this year's Winter Olympics. However, if there was a zeitgeist to compare what the national mood is here as compared to other countries around the planet, all you'd have to do is check out www.gofastgirl.tv
Thematically opposite in every way to America's most popular, soul-searching and pathetic "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" programs, this is one clear example of where the US's head is at vs. the excitement and optimism within the largest country on the planet. Set in the spotlight of an international racing series, the first ever Chinese-produced TV program about Formula One racing is about to start its engines.
Xu Ping, Go Fast Girl's girl is about to generate thrills and chills among her country's 1.3 billion TV viewers; literally like they've never seen before. It's China beating US at its own game in one of the most American of blood-racing settings, only it's in China!
The end of an era. The beginning of an error.
This year's NATPE will be unlike any others. It will focus on generating newer content for the future. Instead of TV, its focus will be broader, as it redefines itself to be an organization that supports producers of video content.
The NATPE institution of old is being torn down. With its new defining goals, we suggest it also upgrade its name to NAVPE, which stands for National Association of Video Producer Executives. Its only a slight change of the word Television with the word Video yet means the world to integrated communications. By doing so, it would give permission to those marketers still nervous about moving beyond television as their primary media vehicle. This historically clubby traditional media group will soon be comprised of a new generation of members; young punk-types who have their own ideas about the future.
www.NAVPE.org - In the spirit of supporting this extremely powerful and important organization, The MadAveJournal is offering to donate this new URL we have domained--free of charge--as a gesture to help it take more of a leadership position on Madison Avenue and as a new enhanced brand for the next era of communications.
The approach NATPE/NAVPE (you decide) is one we heartily endorse. It's already seen in its website. For example, on the front page, part of the rotating tiles which have "thank you's" to its sponsors also includes a tile of a go-tee'd guy illustration. Talk about bleeding edge. Yes-sir-re-bob!
This year's CBGB's also will be unlike any others. However, contrary to NAVPE, it will focus on generating older content from its past. Bands who made the club famous will end the year with an all-out tribute to this once bleeding edge (sometimes literally) haven. At the moment, the CBGB institution is planned to be torn down, replacing the once anti-traditionalist clubby (sometimes literally) group with new members. The location will continue to have a club on its premises though it will be filled with older/former punks who have replaced their guitars with stairmasters, free weights and treadmills. The CBGB's land will become a new luxury condo
Research Has Significant Application To 2Q 2006 Upfront TV Cancellation Options
LONDON, Dec 29 - The Madison Media Research Institute (www.mmri.org.uk) announced today a break-through study that measures and compares media usage integration among all consumers, as well as their impact in the future. The data specifically addresses the importance and relevance media has in 21st century culture.
MMRI is a not-for-profit institute made up of senior-level National/Network TV Buyers from Top Madison Avenue media agency holding companies.
The study data is based on field research projectiles for all of 2006, 2007 and the foreseeable future. Its purpose is to enable advertisers to make better strategic choices with their media investments as well as to challenge/clarify these learnings for both brand managers and account planners.
The Institute believes its data has long term ramifications on Madison Avenue media practices, yet is also most immediately relevant to helping marketers determine their options for Q2'06 upfront TV cancellation options coming up in January.
Summary of Methodology
The following details specific highlights gleaned from the analysis against qualitative consumer query measurements such as suability/loyalty, technological innovation, cannibalization and convenience.
The Importance/Relevance Of Television
The data suggests that 98% of the all USTV households believe that the presence of the TV in the home has had a most profound impact on virtually every aspect of their lives. This also applies in virtually all western and 3rd world countries. Examples below:
a. Home Construction - Initially stationed in most people's living room the study shows that consumers continue to increase their attachment to Television. 90% of all households have augmented their entire living quarters to create a special "TV room" or "Den". This has impacted home contractors to now re-configure architectural designs to make this addition permanent. Has anyone ever heard of a Newspaper room, or a Magazine room or a Radio room? Our point, exactly.
b. Media Usage By Room - Other than a few insignificant trends which indicate consumers view print media in the bathroom, the study suggests that 100% of all bathroom media usage "is secondary" to consumer bathroom visitation. In addition, while most bathroom visits are between 10 and 20 minutes long, TV viewing consumption is significantly higher.
On the occasion of last night's new season "The Apprentice" premier, we found ourselves thinking of a story one of our editor's shared with us about his experience with Donald Trump. Whether you like 'em or not, Mr. Donald Trump is memorable. Here's an interesting account of seeing Trump from the inside, long before he transformed himself from real-estate tycoon to successful Primetime TV entertainment icon.
By Kurt Brokaw, Culture Editor
Two years before the making of Bamboozled, Warren Beatty's political satire, "Bulworth," posited an exhausted senator who orders and pays for his own assassination, and then - in a final bid for what Putney Swope would have called truth & soul - starts telling various constituencies (African-Americans, Jews, Hollywood fundraisers) the buried no-no's of political life. "Bulworth" stayed on safe ground (well, mostly safe ground) because Beatty was nearly always giving a rich white man's perspective of what he felt minority audiences needed and perhaps even longed to hear: raw truths.
Beatty never crossed an invisible but quite clear audience line; he mocked and insulted himself, not his audience.
Even when he starts rapping his message, and he's very good at this, Beatty is a cartoon politician, not a put-down artist. The fact that he's drawn to no less a beauty than Halle Berry, and she to him, helps the overall perspective Beatty gives to viewers, and viewers accord back to him. Audiences cut him a lot of slack. The picture got fairly mixed reviews and never made much money, which probably didn't surprise Beatty one bit.
Spike Lee's "Bamboozled" has a whole different set of pitfalls. In the first place, as an artist and director, Lee is the first major black filmmaker with a top Madison Avenue affiliation - Spike DDB, a vigorous and ongoing concern with some outstanding clients. But as a movie maker, Spike Lee has always marched to his own drummer, and here the drummer is like that black kid who carries around, sets up and pounds a huge set of pots and pans on the sidewalks of New York - he's a real noisemaker, a traffic stopper. This kid can stop a lunch hour crowd in its tracks and hold them for half an hour. "Bamboozled" has the same kind of power.
"Bamboozled" starts with a peculiar and charged situation at that mythical TV network in midtown Manhattan. A young Harvard-educated black producer (Damon Wayans) needs a higher-rated show for his foul-mouthed white boss (Michael Rapaport), who by the way happens to have a black wife and two biracial kids. Wayans seizes on two young street dancers (Savion Glover, Tommy Davidson) who are performing downstairs on the sidewalk for chump change. Wayans' million dollar idea is to put them in burnt cork blackface and star them in a hackneyed vaudeville-style revue with every black stereotype in the history of the stage and screen. (In case we think Lee just dreamed this up, the closing credits show us a montage of editorial clips echoing all the stereotypes we've watched in his movie.)
The revue, "Man Tan: The New Millennium Minstrel Show" is dazzlingly colorful, superbly choreographed and danced by a large black cast supporting Glover and Davison, and, yes, filled with offensive remarks, songs, costumings, props and actions. We don't know quite how to respond to this outrageous display, so Spike Lee cues us - the large, all-black audience watching the show live in a TV studio is taken aback for a while, but then slowly comes to enjoy, affirm and finally celebrate the show. Lee is similarly inviting us, the audience watching his movie, to do the same thing. And so we do - or don't. A lot of name critics reviewing the move bow out at this point, saying they can't condone racism on the screen, period, well-intended or not, directed by a black director or not, enjoyed by a black audience or not.
The satire deepens as the show gains national popularity. Wayans' white network boss is thrilled. Wayans' assistant (a street-smart Jada Pinkett-Smith and one of the key characters we watch carefully for reaction) more or less accepts the show's success, though she's uncomfortable with the elements of extreme prejudice. But there are warnings of trouble. The two stars become weary of their roles as Man Tan and Sleep 'n Eat, particularly when they return to their roots in their uptown 'hood. A number of young blacks called the Mau Maus, an Afrocentric rap group who know the stars, respond with anger and hostility to what they view as a racist show and a betrayal by their brothers. Wayans' own father, a nightclub comic in his twilight years with a traditional, old-school, routine, is not happy with his son's work.
One of Spike Lee's not inconsiderable talents is in projecting growing waves of tension and lurking violence. The film does explode in violence and death – a payback of sorts that is best not revealed here. One's responses at the conclusion are, to be sure, mixed and confused.
Lee is challenging the way we look at television, at advertising, at movies, at society, at history, at violence, and at ourselves. This is his job as an artist, and he has done it with care, surety and brilliance. How we respond is the question mark. But this movie is, at least outwardly, like the original 1984 Apple commercial done by Chiat-Day (directed by Ridley Scott), and telecast only once on the 1984 SuperBowl. It was a teaser spot so different, so haunting, and so outwardly negative, that all of top management under Steve Jobs didn't want to run it at all. Chiat-Day's creative head Lee Clow (it is said) told Jobs he'd put up $500,000 out of his own pocket to air it if Steve matched him with his own $500,000. Steve reportedly laughed and said, heck, if you believe in it that much, I guess we'll have to run it. The rest is history.
"Bamboozled" needed that same kind of angel going in, maybe a vote of confidence and chorus of approvals from black leaders or black opinion makers or black cultural heroes, in its initial release. Instead, the film's logo and poster puts up Man Tan and Sleep'n Eat in all their burnt-cork glory, crouching behind a medicine show poster that flags and fans all the film's controversies – practically an invitation to come in and dislike the movie. Or stay away from it and dislike it more. And, unfortunately, that is exactly what happened.
By Kurt Brokaw, Culture Editor
1976: "Network" had the audacity to suggest in the 70s what is happening at the network level today - the disappearance of the wall between entertainment and news. The Manhattan-based United Broadcasting System (UBS) is plagued with low ratings, and so top management puts the whole news division under the control of the Communications Corporation of America, the entertainment division.
The lead news anchor, Peter Finch, goes ballistic, threatens to commit suicide during his last news broadcast, and instead delivers his I'm-mad-as-hell-and-I'm-not-going-to-take-it-anymore speech one-air, and half the families in Manhattan seem to open their windows and yell it back in unison. UBS promptly rewards the anchor's sudden popularity by giving him his own show, an early "reality" property called "The Mad Prophet of the Airwaves."
This is Finch's Best Actor Oscar, and his work is awesome, as is Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay, much of which has come true. Faye Dunaway is the network dragon lady, and Robert Duvall plus William Holden lend strong support. But "Network" is just a warmup of the mass communications bloodbaths on the way.
Ever wonder who picks the family values-based programming that enters into almost every US TV household on a daily and nightly basis? If you could pick'em, do you think you would do a better job? No, really... we're serious.
There are a few reasons America has the current mix of programming options to choose from. Believe it or not, there's a freudian element to the process that dominates the business. In essence, the TV programs the networks decide to produce are based on the mental health, key subconsious drivers and whimsical fantasies of national network TV buyers. Let us explain.
The Mommy Theory Of Effective Reach
One of Madison Institute-UK's most prominent achievements in 2005 was to identify the genesis behind the highly contentious rationale behind the # of exposures believed to be needed to achieve "advertising effectiveness". MMRI finally discovered it. Where has it been all these years? Right under our noses, of course.
Sometimes we overlook the simplest of explanations, thus complicating the process with gobble-de-gook that takes away from the soundness of the argument.
Had we known it was modeled after a media researcher's own childhood experience, media planners far and wide would have avoided so many sleepness nights, worrying how to explain their 3.0 media frequency to unconvinced clients. Who amongst us can't relate to this?
Here now is the 3.0 ad effectiveness rationale finally explained. Picture it's 1964, you're 10-12 years old and you're glued to the TV:
Impression 1: Mom first calls your name from the kitchen and tells you to "stop watching TV and go clean up your room before dinner". You respond "Yes Mom" and then keep watching. The message has entered your subconsious.
Impression 2: A few minutes go by. A Mom sees you have not acted on her direction and turns up the volume of her voice slightly and includes an edge to her message. (____Your name here), I said turn off the TV and go inside to clean your room. You respond by increasing your voice and express yourself by saying: “Okay Mom” implying with it as if you’re getting up. However, you still sit there and continue to watch some program that is so mesmerizing you just can’t break away. You have re-prioritized her instruction in your behavioral decision funnel. It now has relevance to you, but are not ready to act on it.
Impression 3: Several more minutes go by. Mom learns you have still not acted on her specific direction. Now comes that all important third message which Mom directs to you. Often the third message may be delivered in a high pitched screech-sounding tone, accompanied with a behavioral modification incentive, such as "If you don’t turn off that TV right now and go clean your room, you will" ...
[choose one or more of the following "negative behavioral modication" options Mom may choose from, which comes closest to Mom's knowledge of drivers meaningful to you):
1. Watch no more TV for the rest of the (fill in # day or weeks here)
3. be grounded for (fill in# of days, weekends etc...)
4. Deal with ___ (other prominent authority figure here) when he/she gets gets home from ____(fill in blank here, based on how authority figure is spending his/her time at the current moment outside the house, engaged in work or leisure-based activities).
Impression 4: If none of those work, Mom may take additional action and enter the TV room with a (broom, cooking spoon, ...object of some mass) using another tailored message to insure the desired action will be taken; to change your current TV viewing pattern.
That's it. Makes a lot of sense now doesn't it? See, we told you. So then, answer us this.
How did we go from the "Mommy Archetype Design" (MAD for short) of estimating message effectiveness, combined with Mr. Richard Metheringham’s brilliant method of estimating reach to the gross mis-use today of these two theories? The answer is easy, the reason is based on denial.
In all fairness, denial describes the environment planners and buyers were largely in through the 1960's to the late 1990's; that is, being denied from having any other means of measure media delivery.
Today though, with that no longer being the case, it is more about denial of accepting a new framework of thinking and acceptance, endorsement and utilization of better measurement tools.
Let's remember that Metheringham’s curves did not predict when effectiveness would occur, his work simply graphed awareness curves. This was a giant advancement in the industry, which then paved the way for theory-based probability application models to be applied to cross-media mix schedules.
One other minor point, unfortunately, the each model were only that, models. We all see models walking down the runway, but only the most naive will assume they will actually look that way if they buy that item. Most people believe they will somewhat like them, assuming of course that the item "fits." It was simply an estimate, much like how local news weather “anchors” used to estimate weather before the Doppler satellite. They looked out the window, stuck your finger into your mouth or other ares of the body and then held it up to see if they could tell which way the wind was blowing.
For example, if "primetime" planned as part of the buy, the buyer rarely buys the entire daypart in the same way the reach curves were developed. They could buy all NBC or all 10PM -11PM or the most efficiency-based spots. Metheringham Prime R/F curves have no real application to these specific tactics. Metheringham is based on "normal," more disperse media buying model. Plus, they are also based on a Nielsen sample, which we will set aide as a topic right now.
Or let’s say, you are buying advertising in magazines and your client got a sweel , or a not so swell page placement in the pub. Metheringham’s "reader per copy" estimating curves--largely derived from Alfred Politz, the "Father of Magazine Research" ...we’ll get to him later--were developed when you had Life Magazine, Look Magazine, Saturday Evening Post and a handful more. Nowhere’s near the thousands of pubs people breeze through today.
Email skimming patterns have changed the world of media consumption, such that how people interact with all media is dramatically different versus 1964. When you consider the scrolls on the bottom of the TV cable network channels, which can make one dizzy if you try to read the news and watch the "program" ...interesting word in a 1984 sense of the word... may lead to see why so many people are bi-polar. Maybe the real audience Roger Ailes is programming for all have split personalities... which would explain a lot.
Like MRI, (a topic to be covered next week) the number of factors that could, would and will impact the schedule are so numerous that 40+ years later, denial is the only reason Reach and Frequency estimates are put into almost every plan conceived by many agencies.
Any media veteran worth their salt should begin giggling if not break out into side-bending laughter to properly communicate the value and validity Reach and Frequency estimates have when presenting them to clients on media plans large and small.
The Red-Headed Step-Child R&F: Redundancy/Frustration
Another slight problem with going from reach curves to what is or is not “effective” ignores the strength and weakness of the 80/20 rule which applies to all media. Madison Avenue and media companies all understand that in each medium, 80% of the media impressions are consumed by 20% of the audience. Metheringham curves account for this, but effectiveness estimates don’t. While the 3+ reach is always highlighted, no plans we are aware of also detail the negative impact 10+ frequency creates from the campaign.
Agencies and media vehicles such TV, radio, magazines, newspapers and refrigerator magnets always accentuate the positive. We've never seen media plans which have the Redundancy/Frustration estimates, which measure the 20% or so of the audience reached were driven almost mad with the message overkill.
Highly unlikely. Why? Because among other things, it does not sell the plan and makes the marketer nervous that they are spending bad money after good. This falls under the category of denial or downright mendacity.
So, reach and frequency, the old method of measuring R&F must die. Once it is finally dead, we look forward to the emergence of the new age of R & F, which will help marketers, consumers and media vehicles become much less wasteful, with a higher threshold of quality and efficiency into the 22nd and 23rd centuries.
The Case For Recognition and Fermentation.
It's time to redefine the parameters. This is not an academic matter. It’s not a simple matter of word changes. It’s a paradym shift. Here’s why:
1. Reach is a 3rd party assessment. The origination of the term here is based on an outside party determining if A reached B.
2. Relevance is a much better definition of the potence of a media schedule since the content where the message is running is related to the consumer’s mindset. Interestingly, check out dictionary.com on the word "relevance" (it's linked above). It's the first word we have ever seen in the dictionary that was defined through the use of interactive technology, specifically search.
Yet, similar to reach, using the search engine analogy, all 55,000 search matches that may be provided when typing in a certain word may all have been relevant though they were largely ignored, or to say it another way, were not recognized.
3. Therefore the best and only measurement and understanding of how we should perceive media delivery is not from the media delivery mechanism, but from the consumer's mindset mechanism, recognition and fermentation.
Recognition. Recognition is a 1st person descriptor. Regardless if a person liked the message or not, if they recognized it, then the first threshold of communication was accomplished.
Decide for yourself among the three definitions detailed below:
Dictionary Definition Of Recognition
Dictionary Definition Of Relevance
Dictionary Definition Of Reach
Source for all the above : www.dictionary.com The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Before we get to fermentation, one last rationale to the case for recognition. Advertising is not aimed at trees, cats or ice cream. It is aimed at people. We all have too often de-personalized our desired audience by redefining them with various terms such as the target, the universe, the segment, or worst, eye-balls, which we believe is the least dignified term. Though by doing so, we are in denial and are presumptive that by simply exposing the message to the person, the person will let it in.
We're living in the 21st century. How often do we go into and important building without getting through security first? Everybody we know considers themselves important, at least if only to them. If people have a pass to get into a building, it's because they are already known. People let messages in that they relate to. The mental "home security" barriers we each have are set up to protect our attention span from veering off to the left, or to not let messages in that we don't want. Like very controverial programming (which includes most of what people call Primetime these days,) often parents do not let their kids view it. They don't want it to get inside their kids heads.
Moving on from recognition, fermentation is the experience every marketer, agency and media company hopes to achieve with their efforts. That is, to create a change in the consumer’s mind in one or more of the following ways:
Whether it’s grape juice fermenting into wine, or thousand Island dressing morphing (or being re-positioned) into “special sauce” … (two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun) some sort of change, either in reality or perceptuality must take place to get from A to B.
Dictionary Definition Of Fermentation
1. A chemical change with effervescence
Dictionary Definition Of Frequency
The property or condition of occurring at frequent intervals.
a. Mathematics & Physics.
Source: www.dictionary.com All rights reserved.
An objective analysis of both will indicate that fermentation describes a change in form, ideation and/or context of something, which in this case is an ad exposure. On the other hand, all frequency measures is repetition of the same action, which in this case, is an ad exposure. It does not measure change results.
The frequency with which someone needs to see an ad is and always will be unknown. That said, today we have the mechanisms in place to measure if, when, and how many it took to measure the desired change (fermentation), which is the basic of objective of advertising. To effect change.
Since Reach/Frequency has taken on Redundancy/Frustration, given the 80/20 media delivery rule, reach and frequency should more often than not, be something to shy away from.
Just ask your Mommy!*
* "Mommy" theory title reflects US Census data in 1964 which indicates the primary managers of the household during the day and late afternoons were female. Title also used to generate interest and/or fermentation of interest in reading the article :--) Our mothers also double opted in to allow us to use them as research subjects. Swear!
By Kurt Brokaw, Culture Editor
1987: A relaxing and welcome word from a friendly sponsor. William Hurt and Holly Hunter are winning, likeable actors, and they make “Broadcast News” into a far kinder, gentler “Network.” Holly’s a responsible producer who worries in public forums about the erosion in news values and comprehensive news coverage; she’s a figure we admire, and she’s partnered with a decent enough reporter (Albert Brooks) who sticks to business and doesn’t make passes.
Holly meets William Hurt after one of her speeches; he’s a local sportscaster who’s been elevated to lead anchor – just the sort of affable fool that Holly frets about. Her job is to upgrade and educate him, though as we discover the sportscaster has a shrewd and opportunistic side, too. Holly soldiers on, a tireless advocate for Better Television.
When a network boss chastises her with “it must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you’re the smartest person in the room,” she modestly and truthfully replies, “Oh, no. It’s awful.” How could we not like her?
Founded on February 30, 1966, MMRI will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2006. Located in Cheapside, London, the Institute's key philosophy is to increase the awareness and sophistication of media research, planning and buying performance while simultaneously, demystify these highly complex marketing elements so that brand managers and the general consumer will understand them better.