The communications plan is the bridge between What comes first: the media or the creative? You
your brand strategy and the expressions of should look to a concurrent path, where you have a
that strategy. media guideline of a few that you want to explore,
then narrow it down to a media range once you see
You’ll realize you’ll never have enough money to the idea…and then narrow it to a media direction
do what you want. You must flex your Investment as you see your core ads coming to life.
Muscle to ensure that you get the most of what you
have. Minimizing the non working dollars allows you Understand how each medium works, so you can take
to maximize the working dollars. It’s the showing of full advantage of the different choices, and so your
the ad that usually generates the most return. decisions are strategic and not just based on what
LEADER The Overall Communications Plan
Think of it Like an Investment
MUSCLE This is where Art meets Business
You want to focus your spend in a way that has the • Can you combine the production of
highest impact as we all work with limited budgets. TV and print in a way that leverages
The best plans are those that make the most out of similar costs?
what they have, as many times it is the focus of the • Are you aware of your production
idea that makes it even bigger than it really is. talent cycles?
• If you are making a 30, why not make a 25
Try to balance the “non-working” dollars (e.g.: and a 15 so you don’t have to go back to
production) against “working” dollars (e.g.: media the edit studio?
costs). It’s the showing of the ad that usually • Does your media plan balance the use of
generates the most return. 30s and 15s?
For example, if you think of it like a muscle:
• Do you have enough money for a 2nd and In the spirit of maximizing “working dollars”, it’s not
3rd medium? just a media vs production decision—but rather a
• Have you maximized your decision on “just how many projects can we do”.
primary medium? Use this type of thinking right across your brand’s
• Is the weight you are buying wear budget, whether it’s a choice between more media
out weight? and a professional ad, or how we build our pre-
• Do you need to do both English pack program.
As a general rule, the non-working dollars should media…should you be making a $300M TV ad…or
only account for 10-20% of the overall project. would you be better to do only 3 radio ads for
It could also influence what media you pick. $60M…and up the media to $1.44MM. It sounds
For example, if you have only $1.2MM in simple, but it is done all the time.
NEED TO SPEND
If you choose TV, you need at least 700 GRPs in a For Radio, given its inefficiencies in the media buy, it
given flight to begin to make an impact. Anything is almost as expensive as TV, and doesn’t necessarily
less and you won’t reach the ideal weight to provide pay back for our type of brands. Radio is great for
meaningful breakthrough on reach frequency. Also, a call to action event eg: go buy a car, or go buy
you won’t be able to measure it in tracking. Total a suit.
Cost per 100 GRPS is $150M for a total budget of
$1MM per flight. For anything less than these amounts, under the
idea of flexing your investment muscle, you would
For Print or Out of Home (OOH) you could get be better off doing a regional test to prove whether
fair to good coverage with $500M nationally. One it pays back. The Visine outdoor program in Toronto
thing you have to realize is that for outdoor, you will is a great example of utilizing funds to their max.
normally have to pay for producing the vinyl as well, All dollars focused on Downtown Toronto and
whereas magazine has no added costs. received a good read in tracking. The good read
in tracking gives you the confidence to expand
BUDGETING the coverage.
Production Dollars Try to maximize your talent costs by negotiating up
• English TV Production: $250-500M. front and you can usually reduce the talent fees for
• French TV Production $150-200M. extending the talent to other parts of the campaign.
• Print or OOH Production $25-60M Also, think in 13-week cycles as you do your TV
• Radio Production: $10-15M. planning. Don’t waste $20M if you don’t have to.
You can always find any agency to do something Make The Most Of What You have
very cheap, but you pay for what you get. Try to always maximize what you have. Flex that
It depends on what you want or what your investment muscle.
Try to spend the most you can on getting the
Talent Fees consumer to see what you have done. Maximize
• TV 13-Week Cycles: $10-20M. media against production dollars, talent dollars or
• Print/OOH/Instore: $5-25M. even against how many media choices you make.
(Depends on up front negotiation) If you are uncertain about your idea, focus on one
• Celebrity Talent: $100-200M per year medium, one market and one period.
MUSCLE The Use of 15 seconds
How 15s work in Canada Media Timing: As a rough guideline, you should air
the base 30sec spot for 800-1200 GRPs and then
Media Cost: The cost of a stand alone 15sec spot moving to the 15sec spot, which should then air
is 65% of the cost of a 30s. To avoid this premium, between 1000-2000 GRPs. For Reactine, we have
what we have been doing is pairing up the 15sec been using the 15sec spot to continue to drive home
spots, so that for each 15sec spot you only pay 50% the message in the back half of the allergy season.
of a 30s. We have been pairing up the 3 brands For LPP, we have used 15sec spots exclusively
that are using 15sec spots, and will utilize Benylin as since mid 2002 as a way to get media continuity
a future partner. with a limited budget. For Listerine Mouthwash,
we are using 15sec spots at the 1000GRP mark
Production Process and Cost: Usually a 15sec as a way to gain efficiencies once the core ad idea
spot is a cut down edit created after the current is established.
30sec spot has already been aired. The usual
cost is between $15-20M and sometimes the Market Tracking: IPSOS reports that 15sec spots
consequence is a choppy edit. What we have been see a very similar result on break-through and brand
doing is building the 15sec spot into the production link. but see less of the main message breakthrough.
costs and timing upfront which reduces the costs Part of that is biased by the idea that most
and forces the agency to do a script for the 15sec brands that go to a 15sec spot will likely have a
spot ahead of time and film it as a 15sec spot during well established campaign that easily breaks
the shoot. The result is less cost and a spot that through. For us, the main message concern is off-set
flows better. by the fact that we likely have 1000 GRPs of the
30sec spot providing that link to the main message
Our proposed guiding principles for Canada are:
1. Build the making of the 15sec spot into 3. Ensure that the strategy fits the given need of
the initial script and production process. the brand.
2. Look for partners to ensure we do not pay 4. Move to the 15 sec spot at the 1000 GRP level.
MEDIA Media Choices that
Fits your Strategy
Total Branding to the many Me’s of Me
“Be where they are” is an idea that forces you to You might have more time during part of the day.
think through where your consumer is and how You might be more apt to think about your health
they interact with the different mediums. at the beginning of the month or year. (eg Diets
start usually at the first of the month) People act
The converse to investment focus is to try to differently on a Sunday (uptight and planning out
be everywhere all the time or at least give the their week) then they do on a Thursday (excited
appearance of that. Not all brands can do this. about the weekend).
Realize that you think and act differently at different You should challenge your teams to think about
parts of your day or week or even month. how the consumers mindset is in a given activity
before committing. If you have a cold, are you out
TAKE A WALK IN driving a car or inside reading the TV guide?
THEpretend to be the consumer.SHOEScreative out for a “test drive”. Don’t
CONSUMER’S Also, take the
If it’s outdoor, go see the place they recommend judge a print ad by seeing it on a nice board, but
and try to feel for how your ad will feel. Same thing rather ask for it in the situation of where it would
with any medium — pretend to see it on tv or be bought. It’s amazing how different it will feel.
in a magazine. It’s amazing that sometimes the ad Your decision making will be different, if you act
actually feels different in the environment then it like a consumer and see how it looks and feels in
does on a board. or in a drawing. that situation.
FIRSTThe Media or the Creative Idea
Sometimes it’s the Creative Idea, mediums before seeing whether it would work or not.
Sometimes it’s the Media, That might actually be a test as to whether it is a
Sometimes It’s Chocolate”. good idea.
Lynn Mayer, Zenith Optimedia
On the other hand, some ideas work harder in
A good ad idea can be stretched up, down and different mediums. Trying to force fit the ad idea
sideways. If it is a truly good idea, it should be able into the wrong medium might spell disaster as you
to carry across various mediums. I like to ask the could end up with an outdoor ad with 38 words
creative team to take the ad into a few different on it.
You have to be the “expert” on this decision. With both sides and try to feel how it may or may not
two different agencies, it is you that should listen to work in a given setting.
LADDER From Strategy to Expression
Where Are We?
Brand Issues We Face
Media Guidelines Strategies to Meet
Media Range Creative Strategy
Big Ideas Communication with
Creative Expressions Agency should go up
Final Media Direction Ad Architecture and down this ladder
The media choice has 3 major touch points in the have an idea of where, the range begins to focus
advertising process. The guideline is where you on a one or a few, and the direction is where you
With our budget levels, it makes sense to build your do to set it up so that our primary choice works
media plan around one primary medium—the one even harder. Ideally, work on the secondary in
that you feel will work the hardest for the task you conjunction with the TV, as it could save on costs
need to do. and give a better link into the main idea.
The secondary media becomes the supplement to There is ample research that shows that two mediums
the primary. What I like to do is to think “what is working together in harmony, will produce better
my primary media NOT doing?”. Is there a target results. It’s not always easy getting your 2 mediums
we are not reaching,...is there a message we are not on at the same time,....but it creates large benefits to
able to get through,...or is there a task we need to your task.
CHOICES Strengths & Weaknesses
Immediate reach with strong frequency There is an opportunity to target via specialty
channels or selective “appointment” TV.
It’s the most intrusive —
and creates a “talkabout” factor. Creatively, because it has sight/sound/motion, it’s
the easiest medium to get a complex idea to the
Efficient versus mass targets—the highest reach for consumer. You can demonstrate easily, you can
the money. break through in a big way…and it’s the best vehicle
for showing emotion.
There is a high cost for continuity It’s a more highly regulated and
The production costs are the greatest—around
$250M - 500M for the making of a TV ad. Make It has long lead times to book
sure you have enough weight to make the most of weight, but also long lead times
the fixed cost. to make the spots, which means
TV has a lot of clutter and people have a love/hate
with TV ads. Creatively, people get fixated on the 30 second TV
ad—and tend to gravitate to traditional rather than
Understand the TV Calendar
The “old” TV media periods were always: G2 = Xmas Season: Pay the highest premiums.
P1 = Sept to Dec, P2 = Jan to May, P3 = Jun to With the most new news for brands, will you even
Aug But more in a modern sense, there feels like stand out?
5 different periods. Each period has its benefits, but
you should try to understand how your brand fits G3= The Cold Dead of Winter: Efficiency Plus.
or doesn’t fit. My favourite media buy. It has the highest viewership,
yet is still low demand. Great for a non-seasonal
G1 = Back to School: All the new TV shows. brand because of the great value. Many high reach
You can find some very rich high reach properties that vehicles can supplement your value GRPs such as
are great for launching new news, but you might want award shows, Super Bowls, etc.
to supplement it with some great inventory of tried,
tested and true, if you have a limited budget. Avoid too G4 = Season Finales: Spring Time. The retailers
much uncertainty, given 1 in 10 new shows makes it. start advertising now,…heavy beer and spring
seasonal brands (allergy/lawn mowers). With the G5 = Summer Time. It’s not as bad as it used to be.
high reach over this period, it’s good value even at In fact in the modern world, there are many new
the higher prices. Can get great specific target buys shows to take a chance on. 90210, Survivor and
with the live action sports. Millionaire were all summer start ups. After 9pm,
viewing is almost equal to peak seasons.
Get a feel for the TV Math
Most TV media finds their efficiency balance around working demos, you might want 70% prime but you
100 GRPs, with a 60% prime split and a 20% have to pay for it.
For % of specialty, it depends whether your target
For most of our brands, 100 GRPs per week should can skew towards appointment TV. Two targets: (eg:
be enough. Realize that media is a balance between working moms and sports nuts have viewing habits
reach and frequency. Going beyond around 150 “by appointment”) You can sometimes best capture
GRPs, you reach the diminishing returns on reach them by focusing on key shows or networks.
and start spending all on frequency towards the
heavy TV viewers only. A Tip: lay down a basic plan of around 100
GRPs and set aside a 10% fund to supplement
For % prime split, it depends on your target. If it in whichever strategic way makes best sense.
you have a family or female skew, you can lower With LPP, we did high reach award shows. With
the prime ratio to 50% and get more media for Reactine, we did live-action sporting events.
your dollars. Conversely, if you brand is skewed to This will balance efficiency against
your brand’s objectives.
Effective against many active, especially for the hard Very targeted, with specific radio formats
to reach demographics.
The production costs should be around $15-30M,
Excellent frequency for getting your message to a which is great if you have a smaller budget. The
smaller target. media cost of 60s is only 10-20% more than a 30s.
So if you have a lot of info, opt for the 60.
It has short lead times and more flex. That means
it’s great for a secondary medium to support a TV It’s a “call to action” medium, and you’ll find most
ad you just made. retailers use it. For example, “buy it now” or “get
this cool promo”.
People tend to have it on as a background medium There is a high cost of national coverage for Canada.
(non-participatory) when they are driving, at Radio is bought on a local basis—unlike other
home, or outside. It makes for a low involvement countries like the US or UK, there is no national
medium—yes the audience is captive, but are they radio network.
There doesn’t seem to be much creativity in radio There are a lack of visuals.
spots—lots of room, but no one seems to be doing
Efficient versus a mass target, but has Creatively, there is an
frequency issues opportunity for long copy, which can be very useful
for providing details of information. It’s a match for
Great for announcement or creating immediacy those “medically motivated” types that want more
for action. information.Newspapers are where people go to get
It seems that it’s counter balanced against TV—light
TV viewers It has short lead times and is very inexpensive
Newspapers have a short issue/ad life. No one Like radio, it’s not very national, outside of the
reads twice—say compared to magazines. Globe or Post—which are still Toronto Centric.
It gets very expensive to maintain continuity, Creatively, you will probably be disappointed in
especially if you have to buy papers on a local level. the final production quality. As well, it can be
High frequency and strong reach, which makes it
efficient for mass targets. Creatively, it can have a big IMPACT, especially if
your message is very simple.
You can get to the light TV viewers.
You can be tactical (select locations) or innovative
by going beyond just the normal board.
On a creative basis, there is limited copy scope. expensive if you want to do it for a longer period of
If you look at most outdoor ads, you’ll find time. That means high NON working dollars.
major flaws; too much copy, too small of a tag
line, confusing visual. Keep in mind, you drive by There is a long lead time for space and production—
it, which makes it harder to evaluate while in especially at different times of the year.
In Canada, outdoor is mixed or inconsistent across
There are high production costs because you the country as to how many billboards there are
have to pay for the printing and installation. It gets by city.
TRANSIT Interior & Exterior Transit Strengths
A great vehicle for getting to a youthful or It can have a high
urban audience. frequency exposure to a core target.
Creatively, for the interior ads, there is room for a bit It can be a very captive audience.
more fun or text. It also feels like an environment
that would allow you to be a bit more edgy. The bus shelter ads should be thought of like an
outdoor ad since a lot of the reach is “drive by.”
Interior & Exterior Transit Weaknesses
It can be non-intrusive competing with so It can get to be expensive with material costs for
much clutter. production. That means high NON working dollars.
Limited national reach, coverage is mainly in large Make sure you think through your strategy or your
urban centres. execution. Often this is a nice pick to compliment
TV, but a lot of
times it doesn’t fit.
The match to editorial environment delivers a Like Newspaper, you can do long copy scope.
motivated audience that fully engages in the ads as
much as the rest of the magazine. It can also counter balance TV, as it delivers light
It has strong reach, especially for women, and
fairly inexpensive continuity because people keep Creatively, I would think about your magazine list
magazines around for weeks/months and read them and how people read the magazine. Try to see it in
a few times. the context of the magazine, so you can understand
if there is enough to attract your attention. The 1/3
column pages are great for gaining attention.
Magazines in Canada are much more focused on feels like the creativity of the magazine ads of the
the female target. There is room to advertise in US 60s and 70s are being replaced by a common
magazines like Time (who do a split run) to get to format—which creates clutter. As well, the trend
the male audience. feels like the smaller the font, the better, which I
have issues with.
While magazine provides continuity, it can be slower
to build reach/frequency. There is a long lead time for space so you better
I have a problem with where the creativity is going plan ahead, especially for the monthlies whose
for magazines—90% of them feel like interesting material closing dates can be up to 3 months before
picture taking up most of the page, simple catchy the actual publication date.
headline and a pack-shot at the bottom right. It
Bathroom Ads: I think they tend to fit a very social Movie Theatre Ads: Where you have a beautiful
brand and the edgy style marketing. or high impact TV ad or a social target, you could
consider doing this medium. It can be expensive,
Internet: Active audience looking for information. but big on breakthrough. Make sure you entertain
You better have a reason to grab or hold the and don’t annoy.
Direct Mail: Where you have a targeted message
In-Store: The spot where you can close the deal. It’s or want specific action. This medium is very
tightly controlled by News Canada and expensive expensive—so ensure minimal waste on the mailing
on pay back. list. That means high NON working dollars.
SHOULD HAVE P.R. in their Plans
If it’s in the news it has to be true. 2) A spokesperson can create increased
Realize in health care, that people actually seek out 3) Grass-roots events to capture non -
information on their health issues. Having a PR TV viewers.
presence puts our brand into a more relevant and 4) Put it in the news….if it’s news it must
objective light. be true
5) Supplement your brands strategies.
PR can do things that advertising can’t do:
1) Find a way to say what ASC wouldn’t let
CREATIVE “The smaller the strategy,
the bigger the idea”.
Paul Lavoie, Taxi.
GETTING COPY THAT FITS
YOUR STRATEGY Who Writes The Brief?
There is great industry debate on this issue. My team to the task of delivering on the brief. That way,
view is that it’s the creative agency that writes the you’ll never have an agency person say “oh ya, well,
brief; we write the strategic platform, but they write we never really liked the brief anyway”, because it’s
the brief. their brief.
I think that it’s the first chance that you have in getting My first challenge is what is the fear in letting them
the agency to buy into your strategy, and this may write the brief? My second challenge is what if the
be the easiest way. It allows the agency to utilize creative team comes back with an idea that is “off-
their own wordings etc, and it allows the strategic or strategy”. I’d want to see the idea and if it’s better
account people at the agency to hold the creative than the brief, then I air it and re-write the brief. No
consumer has ever said “wow, what a great brief ”.
OR ROOM TO EXPLORE
Learn to write your strategies as tight as you can. strategy or benefit, challenge yourself to cross it out
Think of your writing as almost being like headlines and see if your strategy is even more powerful.
for a newspaper or bumper stickers on a car. They
are tight, but energizing. Tighter language of your The room to explore things is a bit over-rated
strategy will give you tight focus to your key message, and confuses the creative team. If you are
forcing you to talk to one idea only. unsure of your strategy, go through the creative
exploration. If you don’t like it, you can always
Whenever you come up with a secondary objective, change the strategy and explore again. A strategy
that is not executable is no longer a strategy.
Invite the media team to the presentation. It Sometimes it’s best to start the process early.
gives them the chance to explore some media Less pressure on the system can allow you to feel
ideas and allow you to explore how each medium comfortable and soak in with time. Too many times,
might look. it’s high pressure/last minute timing that can restrict
you from doing everything you want to do with the the idea can go, other mediums or what would it
idea. More time allows you to explore where else look like in-store.
The best ads come from true collaboration. Your It’s when everyone can see the big picture of what
job is to energize and excite the team. I always say we are trying to do AND everyone sees something
that “when we are having fun, so to is the consumer”. in it for them that the best work comes about.
There is also an old agency term “you get the ad you The creative team, director, set designer, wardrobe
deserve”. Overall, it’s true. When the creative team person and editor all need to find ways to contribute
and the brand team work AGAINST each other, it is to your idea.
almost impossible to come up with great work.
1. Flex that investment muscle by making sure your paths. Have a guideline of what you want to do, but
“working dollars” are working hard, which means don’t be restrictive.
minimize your “non working dollars”.
3. Learn and understand the different media choices.
2. What comes first, the media or the creative? Don’t just pick it because it works with your creative
Creative and Media should be done on concurrent idea—but make it so that it works with your target.