By John Houle
The two presidential candidates, their respective parties and all the Super PACs spent an unprecedented $1.08 billion on one million ads, primarily in ten battle ground states. This extraordinary level of advertising was up 40 percent from four years ago.
So, any one who thinks that TV advertising is a vehicle of the past should not soon forget the bombardment of advertising and spending we just endured. While the total over-saturation is a topic for another column, TV advertising was the choice when everything was on the line.
Like other advertisers, the candidates had numerous options available to deliver their message. They are not alone, since other multi-million advertisers also have selected TV advertising as their primary medium.
In 2011, Walmart spent 70 percent of its advertising dollars on television, followed by 11 percent in magazines, 7 percent on radio, 6 percent in newspapers and 5 percent on Internet display ads. Subway, who introduced us to an “Average Joe,” or Jared, that allegedly lost weight eating Subway sandwiches, spent more than 91 percent on television.
This may be great for national companies, but what about smaller, local businesses?
What you see on your local TV news stations are car dealerships, furniture stores, and insurance agents and companies. And of course over the Fall, we witnessed an influx of local Congressional, Senate and bond referendums. Whether it is selling a Chevy or a reason why you should elect a candidate, these divergent advertisers have realized that ads placed around local news programming is the most effective strategy to reach informed consumers today. They also understand that to deliver the level of frequency to compliment their higher placed spots on the local news that cable advertising delivers that added punch.
The fact is more people learn about products that they would like to try or buy by watching TV commercials. Four times more people turn to TV than the Internet and newspapers, according to a study by Knowledge Networks, which conducts surveys for Fortune 500 companies, universities and government agencies.
Television is also considered the “most influential” for making a purchasing decision, more than three times more than newspapers, and 6 times more than the Internet, according to the TVB Media Comparisons Study 2012.
This is probably something we already suspected based on many of our own habits and those of people we know. The average adult spends more than 5 hours watching TV, and less than half an hour reading a newspaper. In other words, a person spends more time watching TV in one day than on Facebook in an entire month.
As a marketing consultant, I can as easily do a social media campaign for a client as I can implement a television campaign. I read my daily newspaper every day, faithfully listen to the local talk radio station, and check my Twitter, Facebook, and Linked-In accounts. I believe I bring objectivity into determining the best marketing medium for clients, which is often based on strategic objectives and resources.
While there has been such an emphasis on new media, we cannot dismiss the advertising reality that has been slapping us on face every election cycle. TV advertising works. Ask Walmart, ask Subway, ask Cardi’s.
This does not mean that you should disengage in social media or put down your local community newspaper. You should do both, and if you want to be where the big players are, it’s still TV.