including newspapers, magazines (both consumer and business publications),
television, radio, out-of-home media (outdoor and transit), directories, and
Some people may look upon media planning and selection as rather
mechanical and matter of fact, but in fact, they can be as creative a part of
advertising as copywriting and art. The success of any advertising effort
depends as much upon the medium as the message. The mechanical part of
the media function is likely to be as routine as any record-keeping or
housekeeping operation. But the planning and selection of the right media
to match the advertiser’s marketing objectives as delineated in the marketing
plan can be both an imaginative and a rewarding endeavor. It is also a vital
one, because the greatest portion of all advertising dollars is spent on media.
Media are dynamic. Over the years, new advertising media have appeared
— some successful, others not. Radio brought the voice of the advertiser into
the American home and became the glamorous medium during the 1930s
and 1940s. Then, after World War II, a new medium — television — took
the limelight to revolutionize the American way of life in many ways and
become a major advertising medium. But the older media have not remained
static. Newspapers developed run-of-paper color for advertisers. Magazines,
once thought to be strictly national media, developed regional editions. And
every so often, someone comes up with a new advertising medium idea —
from skywriting to Beetle Boards (advertising painted on the bodies of
privately owned Volkswagen Beetles).
In the late 1890s, advertisers became possessed with a craze for presenting
messages where the public would least expect to find them. Bald-headed men
were seated in the front row of a theater, each with one letter of a famous trade
name painted on his shining dome. Processions of costumed advertising
characters paraded the avenues. Sign wagons, ringing bells and drawn by mules,
dogs or ostriches, toured the residential areas of a city. At the circus, space
was sold on the side of elephants and camels. Clowns made vocal announce-
ments. Men with carts on which phonographs were mounted played music and
gave selling spiels. At night, slide projection apparatus was used to throw
captions and pictures on the screen of low-hanging clouds. Surprised patrons
of barbershops looked up from their semireclined chairs to find advertising
messages on the barbershop ceiling. Sailboats cruised back and forth in front
of crowded bathing beaches with signs painted on their sails. Fans and canvas
caps were distributed for advertising at parades and picnics. Free advertising
postcards, some of them perfumed, were handed out to willing takers. The
John H. Woodbury soap company started the ‘Facial Purity League,’ with
buttons for all its members. Soon buttons became a nation-wide fad; decorated
with all kinds of slang phrases and jokes, they blossomed out on the lapels
of men, women, and children everywhere. Advertising rhymes and jingles earned
equal popularity. Sheet music for advertising songs was distributed. Trading
stamps were issued by department stores with each purchase and by saloons
with each drink. They became so widely accepted that for a time they were
practically legal tender. Counterfeiters even imitated them.
Many of the novelty media come and go quickly, and even the more stable
media are constantly undergoing change. At the same time, the product,
competition, and market continue to change, so that each new advertising
campaign requires a new look at media and the media plan.
Selecting Advertising Media
The basic problem of media selection is choosing media that reach the markets
or market segments the advertiser is trying to sell to. Accomplishing this
involves, broadly speaking, three steps or decisions. First, the general type
or types of media must be decided upon. That is, should the advertiser use
newspapers, magazines, television, and so forth, or a combination of these?
Second, a decision must be made as to the class of media within a particular
medium type. For example, if the advertiser decides upon magazines, should es
women’s magazines or home magazines be used? If television is decided upon,
should network or local spots be used? And should the commercial be placed
in the format of news, drama, variety, or music? Third, the particular medium
must be decided upon. In the case of women’s magazines, should it be
McCall’s, or the Ladies’ Home Journal, or Good Housekeeping, or some
combination of these? For network television, should it be ‘As the World
Turns,’ ‘Cheers,’ or ‘NFL Football’?
The number of possible choices and combinations makes this no simple
task. But even more important is the complexity of the problem behind media
selection — the marketing plan itself.
‘Advertising’ 4th edition, Mandell (Prentice Hall)
Select the Advertising Media
Advertisers must select media through which to send their messages. The
major types of advertising media are: (1) print, (2) broadcast, (3) direct,
and (4) location. Furthermore, the advertiser also has to decide which
particular vehicles within each medium to use. For example, if the selected
medium is magazines, which vehicle(s) (Time, TV Guide, etc.) should
be selected? These decisions must take advertising objectives, medium
and vehicle characteristics, target receiver characteristics, information
to be communicated, and funds available for advertising into
The more alike members of a vehicle’s audience are in one or more
characteristics that are important to the advertiser, the greater the
qualitative selectivity. Thus, a dress manufacturer that wants to advertise
to larger-sized women should consider BBW (formerly Big Beautiful
Women) magazine to be more qualitatively selective than Cosmopolitan.
The greater a vehicle’s ability to reach people in selected areas, the greater
its geographical selectivity. Southern Living offers more geographical
selectivity than Better Homes and Gardens. But using highly selective
vehicles can be dangerous if the marketer has not defined the target
market clearly. The ads could miss (not reach) important market
Reach and frequency are also important. The number of people seeing
or hearing an ad in a medium one time during a stated time period is
called reach. An advertiser that favors a reach strategy seeks to get the
message before as many different prospective buyers as possible for a
given expenditure. The number of times the same people in a target group
are exposed to an ad during a stated period of time is called frequency.
An advertiser that favors a frequency strategy in placing magazine ads
would use fewer magazines but a greater number of insertions in the
chosen one(s). Reach, for example, is favored when there is strong loyalty
to the brand. Frequency is favored when there is weak loyalty to the
Media cost is based on the number of people reached, frequency, and
the expense of producing the ad. Rates are quoted in standard units, such
as line rates for newspapers and spot. rates for TV and radio. This allows
advertisers to make rough comparisons between different media. By itself, however, the price of placing an ad does not tell if it is a good buy.
Comparisons usually are made by a cost ratib that is used for all media,
with some variations. Cost-per-thousand (CPM) is computed by the
The rise of media buying
The world of advertising is full of little ironies.But there is one which really matters to clients. It is the rise and rise of the media buyer.
Once upon a time media buying was simply an auxiliary service that agencies offered to
tie up the loose ends of a campaign. A bit like putting the petrol in the newly designed and
engineered car — it has to be done, but it’s hardly something you agonise about.
Then came the advertising boom. Ad budgets mushroomed and the media mushroomed with them, fragmenting and differentiating along the way. As it has become
more complex, media buying has grown in importance.
In one sense, clients recognise this. Research by Marketing this week shows that when assessing agencies, clients rank media buying skills higher than brand strategy and planning.
Three quarters agree there is a need for media independents or centralised media buying
departments (see page 30).
The media buying revolution has exposed the inadequacies of media research, and now publishers and space buyers are demanding to know much more about who reads what
But it is an unfinished revolution. It has hardly touched creative departments — how many agencies or clients ask the media buyer where the ads will appear before furrowing their brows over those natty catch jjn es? And agencies still measure theiradvertising success
in terms of billings when really it should be the media’Eiuyer’, of anyone.
Far too many clients still trustingly leave media buying ‘to the experts’. Marketing is
trying to do its little bit to help. Each week we focus on one or two brands’ media buying
profiles (page 12). We aim to show that media buying is not some technicality where there
is only one correct answer, but an art and a skill in which millions of pounds of client
money is invested — or wasted. Yet the sad thing is that when we ring up clients to ask
them why they choose to be in this TV station or newspaper as opposed to that, they
haven’t got a clue: ‘I leave that to my media buyer’.
This is quite staggering, coming as it does from people who spend hours and hours
poring over the minutiae of the ad itself. Whether it is breathtakingly trusting or
breathtakingly irresponsible, is a matter for clients to decide.
‘Marketing’ 15 November 1990
An open door to fame and fortune
Debate about the journalistic merits of Hello! is fast becoming irrelevant as
the magazine’s circulation figures begin to speak for themselves. After a shaky start circulation is now forging ahead, having enjoyed a per cent rise over the past year. According to
latest ABC figures it is now selling 263,366 copies a week.
Like it or not the advertising industry, which has been extremely wary of Hello! is being forced to consider finding a place for it in the schedules.
Some publishers argue that it is about time too and that the ad business
has once again displayed its most conservative face in its attitude towards
Kevin Kelly, who has launched anumber of highly regarded titles including Business Magazine, W, Interiors and most recently the awardwinning grocery trade title Checkout,
knows only too well the problems of exciting the jaded palates of agency
‘The problem Hello! has had is that instead of media departments recognising innovation they are bound by tradition,’ he says.
‘You did not need to be an Einstein to recognise that Hello! would be a winner and it should be on a lot more schedules than it is.’
Kelly does not expect agencies to act as charities for publishers trying
to establish new titles, but he does believe their excessive caution means
their clients could be missing valuable new opportunities.
‘The problem for independent publishers is sustaining a product for long enough so that conservative media buyers put it on the schedule. But it really is in the interest of
agencies that there are innovative publishers around,’ he says.
UK editor Maggie Goodman is so hopeful that the latest round of figures
will finally persuade agencies to look more seriously at Hello!
‘Circulation is up and readership seems to be very much ABC1, 55 probably more than we would have anticipated,’ she says.
‘I think agencies had a problem categorising us at first — most other
women’s weeklies are practical, with so a lot of cookery and knitting. But I think the ads will come in now.’
But it may be that she is still being too optimistic. Saatchi & Saatchi media director Alee Kenny argues that
Hello! is still difficult to categorise.
‘I think this thing of looking through the keyholes of the rich and famous to see how they live is very unBritish,’ he says. ‘Even now people are asking precisely what does the 70 reader get out of it all. What sort of animal is this magazine? Is it a women’s magazine or an adult
magazine? It is in a sort of no man’s land even though people seem to like it now. I think it probably needs a sharper, more clearly defined image.’
Paul Walmington, media director at Delaney Fletcher Slaymaker Delaney
Bozell, agrees with Kenny, saying that so he would be reluctant to place an ad
for upmarket clients within the pages of Hello! and is surprised that some
agencies are beginning to do so. Like Kenny he finds it hard to find a slot for Hello! on the media schedule.
‘It has massive clout in Spain because of its reputation, but I wouldn’t argue that it should have that same clout here as it doesn’t have an 90
‘Marketing Week’ 10 August 1990