After the objectives are defined there is a need to evaluate each media in order to reach a conclusion about the type of media that will be most effective for the accomplishment of the objectives.
The objects of the evaluation are:
- To see which media are feasible.
- To pick the main medium.
- To prepare for the decision on how it should be used.
- To see whether there are suitable supporting media if required.
There may be obvious reasons why a particular medium is especially suitable for the campaign or another is unsuitable, a coupon is to be included or the absence of colour is critical. Often the preference of the creative group is not backed up by concrete evidence but they have strong views nevertheless about the media to use and those not to use.
The agency is not in the business of reaching consumers with exposures of advertisements (which tend to be the media department’s natural criterion), but in the business of selling the product. So if the creative choice looks at all reasonable in media terms, it is usually sensible for the planning to accept it.
Sometimes the creative choice is unreasonable and may have been reached without full consideration of the alternatives.
Sometimes a media idea, or better an idea which involves media and creative content, is ‘obviously’ right or simply a novelty, which is expected to attract attention and so work. A press advertisement in the shape of the product, using publications that have never before carried this type of advertising, a radio commercial announcing ‘officially’ there is now no shortage of the product, a TV commercial that starts with silence and black screen, a poster that looks like a shop window and so on. Sometimes a change is as good as an increased budget.
When there is evidence that a particular medium is the most efficient, the choice is obvious. The evidence may come from the tests on our own product or from a study of competitor’s activities.
The advertiser often insists on using the same medium as before, even without testing its effectiveness. The best predictor of an advertising schedule is the schedule for the previous year. This is not always laziness. It is partly because the media scene is not very different from year to year: media change is dictated by a major shift in the market place, a new medium, a new definition of the target, or a new advertising idea. Advertisers resist change because it involves more risk than to continue with a proven, viable strategy.
Availability and timing:
The type of product or copy claim may prevent the use of a medium- this is most likely to rule out TV, on which, for example cigarettes are not advertised. The flexibility required by the advertiser, for example being able to cancel or change advertising at a few days’ notice, may also rule out a medium-for example it may make colour press impossible.
“We can’t come off the box, that’s where our competitors are.”
‘Look, there’s no advertising for this product in women’s magazines: let’s dominate there.’
Of the two policies- match the competition or avoid it- the first is more common in media choice. This may be because the main purpose of the advertising is defensive- to reassure buyers and reassure existing buyers and diffuse competitors’ attacks. It may also be a fear of leaving him to dominate a medium. Or the medium normally chosen is simply the most suitable for that product group. Or the consumer and the trade have come to expect the advertising to be in that medium and look for it there, so it works best there.; on the same principle, shops often do better together in the High Street than scattered over the town.
These arguments apply to large advertisers: McDougalls will not leave spillers to be the only large flour manufacturer on TV, nor Cadburys leave TV to Mars. But for the small budgets it could be inefficient to hit competition at knee-level. A small advertiser might do better to dominate a less used medium.