Kate Bulkley, Media Analyst.

TV Ad Model is Being Disrupted

By Kate Bulkley

Broadcast News

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For Broadcast July 04, 2019

Brands are blurring content and advertising lines to reach their audience, says Kate Bulkley

When a senior executive at a well-known global fast-food brand told an audience at the Cannes Lions advertising festival last month that its company makes content “that is as good if not better than the traditional content makers”, it turned a few heads in the TV world.

That is what Marisa Thalberg, the global chief brand officer at Taco Bell, said, adding that the traditional “transactional relationship” between TV and digital platforms and advertisers has been disrupted. Thalberg said TV advertising remains popular but that many firms now want to make content directly for their own customers.

On- and off-screen talent that makes award-winning, culture-defining programmes is not going away, but will be employed very differently by the ad world in the future. Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at the world’s biggest advertiser, consumer goods fi rm Procter & Gamble (P&G), even suggested advertising as we know it may come to an end.

With TV advertising reach in decline and exponential growth of OTT streaming services, it’s time to reinvent creativity and advertising, he suggested. His plan is to merge the ad world with those of music, film, journalism, comedy and technology and make people excited by their next engagement with brands.

P&G hasn’t abandoned traditional TV advertising slots, but Pritchard believes that marketing products on the small screen needs to be “more useful, entertaining and interesting” to work with today’s viewers.

He pointed to P&G’s National Geographic Global Citizen project, which integrates brands into issues that people care about – like deforestation and racial equality – and Gillette’s ‘First Shave’ ad, where a father teaches his transgender son how to shave.

The lines are blurring between content and advertising: SK-II, a P&G skincare product that eschews traditional TV advertising, is the ad giant’s fastest-growing brand.

The Late Late Show host James Corden and actress Chloe Grace Moretz feature in online show Bare Skin Chat, which showcases SK-II products. The show attracted a whopping 40.6 million views in just two weeks.

This pivot from interruptive spots to content creation is because P&G research has found that 70% of respondents think ads are annoying and 40% of women think advertising objectifies them.

At Cannes Lions, the new form of advertising was also being embraced by film mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of Quibi, the mobile-first programme-making platform that has raised $1bn (£800m) to make premium short-form content.

“With all the plans for brand-driven content, the traditional TV makers need to figure out how to engage with the advertisers in new ways”

The service will work with advertisers by allowing them to create 60 seconds of brand-integrated content that will be broken up into four parts, with the story developing as viewers watch other content on Quibi.

Katzenberg has announced that $100m (£80m) of advertising has already been secured for Quibi in advance of the platform’s launch next year, from companies including Walmart, Pepsico, Google, Anheuser-Busch InBev and P&G.

With all these plans for brand-driven content, the traditional TV makers need to figure out how to engage with the advertisers in new ways, and broadcasters need to quickly offer advertisers simple platforms to target audiences across multiple screens – linear or on-demand.

Working with Facebook and Google has its challenges around brand safety and verifiable measurement, but advertisers love the ease of use and the data they get.

James Corden isn’t likely to become more famous for his SK-II online show than his CBS chat show – but could he? P&G is certainly happier to spend its marketing money on bespoke SK-II online content than on traditional TV spots.

WPP chief executive Mark Read told the Cannes Lions audience that his company has flipped the traditional ad campaign formula and now prioritises digital and social platforms, and uses TV spots to “make the digital buys more important”. This is a huge shift in how the advertising agencies and brands look at TV. Head-turning stuff, indeed. ­

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