Magazine article Marketing

Treading the Rocky Road to TV Advertising

Magazine article Marketing

Treading the Rocky Road to TV Advertising

Article excerpt

DIRECT RESPONSE

Treading the rocky road to TV advertising

The criticisms of Royal Insurance's first ever direct response TV campaign (Marketing, February 14) have fanned the flames of what promises to be an extremely heated debate over the combination of these two very different media.

The encroachment of direct marketing techniques onto the traditionally insular world of British TV advertising is gaining momentum. The dam was breached a decade ago and the trickle of direct response ads has now become a steady stream. This in turn is threatening to burst into a flood within a very short space of time.

But, say the proselytisers, it is all still very new, very alien, very misunderstood. And according to direct response specialists such as the Michael Hope Partnership, it will remain a seriously under-exploited technique as long as deeply-in-grained attitudes towards direct marketing persist.

That means firms will continue to lose millions of pounds in potential revenue as well as vital opportunities to develop database-led marketing strategies and, most important, experience in the kind of "integrated" campaigns which many claim will be commonplace in the not-too-distant future.

The objections to campaigns such as Royal Insurance's range from the the downright obvious to the intricately involved: telephone number too small, too briefly displayed, no voiceover, no explanation of why it's there or what you'll get if you call. But, runs the argument, more disturbing is the advertiser's implicit ignorance of how or why it is attempting to do two jobs at once-boost the company's image and generate quantifiable sales leads at the same time.

When times are tough, as they undoubtedly are at the moment, it is easy to see why advertisers may be tempted to throw everything into the cauldron and hope that all the ingredients complement each other. But the effect of such mix'n' match techniques can be severe consumer indigestion.

Royal Insurance's reaction to the criticisms reported last week is that its use of telephone marketing was "secondary" to the corporate advertising. But at least one disgruntled direct marketing specialist counters this argument with the claim that "diluted objectives invariably fail". And telephone marketing consultant Simon Roncoroni adds that "clients delude themselves about the level of response they will get on TV. …

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