Black and white

Things have changed since the days of black and white TV. Today, it is a colourful experience, with entertainment and news on tap.
Black and white
By Eric Mirabel
Fri 04 Jul 2008 04:00 AM

Things have changed since the days of black and white TV. Today, it is a colourful experience, with entertainment and news on tap.

The increasingly digital, interactive nature of the content has given rise to a new media behaviour among consumers. The remote control has put viewers in charge and interruptive media strategies are fast being challenged by rising levels of advertising avoidance. In this new landscape, how is a brand to advertise in order to reach the hearts and minds of its consumers?

Instead of force-feeding consumers through increasingly hard to afford (and justify) high advertising frequency, the tactic is now to pull consumers towards the message by making it more relevant and appealing.

Local brands and advertisers have the chance to leap-frog our international counterparts.

The speakers at the recently-held OMD creative masterclass showed there are two main ways to get close to consumers: emotional proximity and physical proximity. If the former is linked to content such as music or filmed entertainment, the latter is more technology based. And one can't get any closer than through the mobile phone.

The sense of hearing is powerful and intimately connected to emotions. Music is a powerful ally for a brand. Sonic branding isn't particularly new but it is being taken to new heights.

In the late 1990s, Daimler Chrysler established a department whose sole purpose was to improve the sound of their car doors. You can't sell a car without the clunk. McDonald's famously signed a deal with girl band Destiny's Child to feature their new "I'm Lovin' It" slogan in one of their songs, while Pepsi is creating a movie featuring its Arab artists, taking the brand ambassador role much further.

Filmed entertainment has also featured brands for some time. The region's growing level of professionalism and maturity is giving local brands and advertisers a chance to get into the action and even leap-frog our international counterparts.

Product placement/integration deals are now exploited way beyond the mere movie or TV programme. Digital media formats are making the delivery of filmed entertainment, such as branded content or programming funded by an advertiser, much easier and wider.

Online, the viral wave can transform a small clip into a cultural icon: Brands are not just about a product but also a content experience. With today's level of professionalism in agencies this is eminently possible here. OMD, for example, has a host of local case studies, some award-winning.

Mobile phones penetration levels are record-high in the region, with mobile internet forecast to overtake fixed line internet before long. This creates a host of opportunities for brands to create close relationships with consumers. Combining highly engaging content with the 24/7 delivery only they can provide, mobile phones will soon become the killer marketing application.

Global mobile advertising will be close to US$14 billion in 2011 alone and its growth will be hastened by its integration with other advertising formats, such as outdoor, ambient and other traditional and digital media.

Don't think this is pie in the sky or a nascent trend. PQ Media has estimated advertising investments in alternative strategies, to be worth close to US$80bn in 2008. Even against the total investments in traditional media, some US$480bn, it is highly significant.

We live in a digital, connected world that can deliver what we want, when we want it. Your consumers have exactly the same aspirations. Instead of giving them what you think they need, give them what they want.

Eric Mirabel is the business development director of Omnicom Media Group Middle East.

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