Magazine article Marketing

How Big Can an Ad Budget Be before It Becomes a Burden?

Magazine article Marketing

How Big Can an Ad Budget Be before It Becomes a Burden?

Article excerpt

I have not met a marketer who has not, so to speak, wished he had a large one

In a few days' time, I have to speak at a conference on 'How to Manage a Large Advertising Budget'. I was comfortably into my preparation and homework when a worry occurred. What in heaven's name is a 'large' budget?

I think, like the snooty shop assistant in Pretty Woman, I need clarification: are we talking 'profane' or 'really offensive' amounts of money?

I have yet to meet the agency boss who turns ashen and whispers to his client: "But Ron, you can't possibly spend that--it's far too much!" nor have I met the marketer who has not, so to speak, wished he had a larger one.

Just a very few times over the years, advertising campaigns have been so intrusive as to utterly swamp the media. Back in the 60s, it was Brentford Nylons fronted by Alan 'Fluff' Freeman, advertising of such toe-curling banality and relentless repetition it made you actively loathe the company.

And in the 80s, the British Gas flotation gave us Sid. Sid was like Godot,an eerily dominant but absent figure, who we were entreated endlessly to tell of the great gas shares bonanza.

A colleague tells me the frequency of that campaign was 42, and who I am to doubt him? Whatever, it was a hell of a lot, and the offer was -- in the event -- 15 times over-subscribed. Profligate use of advertising money -- public money, at that? Possibly, but if it had been my responsibility to take gas public, I wouldn't have wanted to risk the flotation flopping. In the event, the money raised paid for the campaign dozens of times over. …

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