Tuesday, May 17, 2005

looking at tvcs

When Nikki and I are in TV addict mode (for American Idol, The Amazing Race, Survivor, or any of JJ Abrams' recent shows), we resign ourselves to the inevitable slew of commercials. To get us through the hebetude of the ads, we started to observe just what TVCs (television commercials) were being placed in the time slots we favored - because, when I wear my hat as an ad guy, it is important to see if the target market for all these products or services is actually being reached (or if, in the case of Dean versus the feminine hygiene product ads, there is a form of catachresis).

On free TV, we get bombarded by softdrinks, food, soap and shampoo ads (plus the aforementioned shudder-inducing feminine wash product). On cable, we are proffered cars, liquor, travel destinations, shoes, credit cards, banks and more high-end stuff.

So are these advertisers reaching us via the proper channels? Yes, they are, especially cable TV. The one time they lost me was when, for some reason, they aired a pig food ad.

TV ad placement is serious business, costing more than an arm and a leg for the precious thirty second placement. And of course, advertisers need to place their ads multiple times - if they don't, then their ads will be ineffective (as a stratagem, repetition builds top-of-mind recall, similar to the how religion proselytizes).

Cost of placement depends on several factors including channel, time slot, TV show and number of placements. If you're interested, this should give you a rough idea of cost of the 30s for primetime viewing (15s - fifteen seconder edit downs - are cheaper):

ABS-CBN 2 180 - 200+k
GMA 7 150 – 180+k
ABC 5 80 – 100+k
RPN 9 50+k

The top two networks continue to battle it out, and there are times and shows when GMA 7 is more expensive. (Aside: I'm showing my age here, but there was a time when it was RPN 9 and GMA 7 that were tops - remember when they had Flor de Luna and all the giant robot shows? Channel 2, then called BBC 2 was pathetic, and the government had Channel 4. Heck even Channel 13 had some good shows - and the odd-looking newscaster I always suspected was a tranny).

The trend nowadays is to niche market, and for clients who want TV ads, we offer cable TV. Cable's reach is limited and very specialized (because of cost to have it, among other things), but it is much cheaper for 30s (cost in thousands of pesos for each 30-second placement):

STAR WORLD (American Idol) 25k

So with all this money going into your media plan (where and how often you place your TVCs), you have to understand or make educated assumptions about the audience you want to reach - otherwise, you are spending fruitlessly. The best way (but expensive) to purchase information or conduct your own research with proper methodology - that's the only way you will know that, for example, of the Filipino males and females between the 18-35 years old, AB socio-economic class, who live in Manila, over 90% watch free TV daily; over 50% watch cable TV daily; 10% use a credit card at least once a month; 70% engage in leisure activity daily; close to 50% eat fastfood once a week; and slightly over 30% use the internet several times a week.

If you are advising a client, you need to know enough to tell them not to advertise their pig food during American Idol on Starworld (unless you have a really, really, really magnificent and funky plan).

Next time you watch TV, check out the ads - instead of being bored, you'll see them in a different light and perhaps be entertained a little like us.


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