Why You Need to Keep On Advertising

business couple at computer In a recession, or when things are tough (as they most definitely now are), business owners and marketers tend to put a lid on their advertising spend as a means of capping their expenses. And yet, whilst understandable, it’s often a mistake to do so.

The reason that advertising is often the first expense to face the chop is that it’s the easiest thing to cut. It’s far easier to send out an instruction to your ad agency and media agency to cut, by way of an example,  TV advertising or radio advertising from a media schedule than it is to, for example, retrench staff.

History has shown that advertisers who stop advertising in recessionary periods have some catching up to do when the economy turns for the better. This stands to reason, as the advertiser who continues to advertise in a downturn will be better positioned to capitalise in an upturn as his or her advertising would have remained uppermind over time.  The advertiser who has stopped advertising will have lost ground in the minds of his or her target market. (A matter of out of sight, out of mind..)

One of the most prevalent reasons given by marketers looking to cut, or stop, advertising is: there’s no money out there, so what’s the point? Fact is, that whilst some South Africans have no money (OK, many South Africans have no money), many do..something that was brought home recently when my wife and I tried to find a week’s timeshare on the coast.  After days of searching, it became clear that there was none to be had.

How could this be, if people don’t have money? The cynic would say that they don’t have money because they spent on things like timeshare, but this rings hollow.

South Africans are spending WEEKS on holiday. And as a family who was fortunate enough to have eventually found somewhere to stay and as a result, went away for ten days, we can vouch for how much an extended holiday would cost. Eating out every day and keeping the kids entertained costs plenty. And yet, restaurants are pumping and queues at the movies or fun parks never seem to end.

Another thing that struck us is how many people have second homes on the coast: homes that cost millions. And boats, that sit idly moored to those homes..

People short of money? Certainly not all of them…

It is clear that there are many people in this country (admittedly in the upper LSMs) who have money to burn. And these are people who continue to eat, continue to drink, continue to entertain, continue to drive, continue to bank, continue to invest and continue to holiday.

Quite simply, they need to be advertised to – regardless of the state of the economy.

The bottom line is that if you’re not advertising to them, you’re not in the picture. Simple as that.

But what about the middle class? Or the lower income-earners in our country? Here a different picture emerges because they’re more under pressure, financially-speaking. That said, they still need to eat and drink, still need to buy household goods, still need to put food on the table. So they also need to be advertised to.

What marketers need to do when things are tough is box clever.

If your product is not moving, you need to think of ways to GET it moving. Discount the price, offer a “buy one, get two” offer, start a loyalty program…think out the box and get creative.

The worst thing is to put a stop to your advertising efforts. But if you have absolutely no choice other than to cut back, do it strategically. Cut back on media that you consider to be “nice-to-haves” – this might be in the form of TV advertising, radio advertising, cinema advertising, outdoor advertising, newspaper or magazine advertising – and continue with advertising that brings you response. (Digital advertising more than likely).

With people googling practically everything these days, make sure that your website is professionally optimised for search engines. You need to come up on the first page of Google when people search for the type of product or service you offer. This is imperative. It’s said that the best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google. Why? Because no one ever searches there. Quite simply, if you’re not on the first page of Google, you’re dead in the water.

Google Adwords are also good. If you’re running Adword campaigns, continue running them. And if they’re not delivering the type of response you expect, find someone professional to manage them.

Google Display? Also good. Keep it going.

Blogs? They work well. Blog more than you have in the past.

If your business is struggling, cut your advertising spend if you must – but at the very least – maintain a presence online. You’ll regret it if you don’t because , despite what you may believe, there ARE  people with money out there. And amongst them will be people looking for what you offer.

My name is Gerard Kavonic of This country’s smallest ad agency, Kavonic Hone and I can be reached on gerard@kavonichone.co.za and 083 444 9888. You can see what I’m about on www.kavonichone.co.za

I’d be happy to advise you.

Kavonic Hone. Adjudged “Best ad agency Johannesburg” 2015

 It was with some pride that my ad agency, positioned as This country’s smallest ad agency,  was recently adjudged “Best ad agency Johannesburg” in the African Corporate Excellence Awards 2015.
To be honest, I was surprised that I was even short-listed – but many thanks to all those who nominated me. (And when I say me, I mean “me” as to all extents and purposes, I’m the only one at the coalface).

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Advertising On Facebook Or Setting Up a Google Adwords Campaign. Anyone Can Do It, Right?

Absolutely. IF you know what you’re doing. Unfortunately, many marketers lack the required knowledge – despite them THINKING they know what they’re doing.

The sad thing is, they lose heart once they find that the only responses they get are from people looking for jobs and from people trying to sell them something.

When I first heard of Facebook (all those years ago) and was told how it was a potential gold mine waiting to be tapped, I set up ads promoting another business that I was involved in at the time and sat back waiting for the phone to ring. Needless to say, it didn’t.

I then allocated a budget to Google Adwords and set up a series of ads. I ran the campaign for three months or so. The result here too was disappointing. (Although I’m sure Google were happy).

The lesson I learnt was that as much as I THOUGHT I could set up successful Google Adwords and Facebook advertising campaigns, I was pretty clueless – even though I’ve been in the ad industry nearly 30 years.

This said, Google Adwords and Facebook advertising can work amazingly well. IF set up correctly and managed professionally.

There are way too many people out there – website designers and developers in the main – who profess to be experts in online marketing, when they’re nothing but. They may know how to design and build a website, but when it comes to marketing that site online, their knowledge is basic at best.

I’ve learnt over the years that really good online marketers in South Africa are few and far between. (Over the last few years, I’ve handed online advertising projects to a number of “online marketers” only to be disappointed by the results. Invariably, they talk the talk, but fail to walk the walk).

Fortunately, a year or so ago, I was introduced to a really good digital agency so my frustrations are now over. These guys are good and they have an in-depth understanding of how to make facebook advertising and Google Adwords work for their clients.

Setting up a Google Adwords account can be a time-consuming process as it involves setting up multiple accounts – of which a Google Plus account, Google Places account and Google Partners account are some. Detailed keyword research, competitor analysis and marketing research and analysis then need to be conducted.

Once done, and the Google Adwords have been set up and activated, the ads need to be managed. This, to see which ads are working, which are not, and if not, why they’re not. Simple things like changing words here and there could make a world of difference. (The managing of Adwords campaigns is crucially important).

Then there’s the “cost-per-click” aspect. When someone clicks on your ad, it costs you – and often-times, it could cost you more than it should.

By having a professional online marketer manage your Adwords campaign, your cost-per-click can be brought down with the aim of getting you more clicks per your allotted ad budget. (Once your ad budget has been used up, your ads stop appearing).

As a marketer, you’re looking for as many clicks as you can get – but not just any clicks. Clicks from people who have nothing better to do all day than click on ads are a waste of time and your ad budget because they have no interest in your product or service. What you’re looking for are clicks from people who ARE interested. By having your Adword campaigns managed by people who know what they’re doing, your online advertising can be targeted – so that you reach the right people, at the lowest cost.

This pertains to Facebook advertising too. You need to have the right ads on facebook, communicating the right things and aimed at the right target market, for less cost. All this may seem obvious, but online marketing is a science – and should be left to savvy online marketers who know the tricks of the trade.

With approximately 1.28 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the 2nd-most visited website (behind Google) and all these eyeballs means a lot of exposure for your advertising, so long as it’s targeted. Fortunately, targeted advertising is catered for on this platform in that you are able to target a specific group of people based on (for example) their age, geographical whereabouts, personal interests and more. Facebook can even comb through user profiles to place your ads only on pages that mention a specific keyword.

As an advertiser, you can also choose between CPC and CPM pay structures (cost per click and cost per impression) allowing you to tailor your ad campaign any which way. When all’s said and done, advertising on Facebook can be inexpensive (and profitable), if you know what you’re doing.

My advice? Call in a good online marketer, and ask to see the deliverables ie what he or she has achieved for others. It’s important that you separate the wheat from the chaff, and the talkers from the doers.

Facebook advertising and advertising on Google needs to be approached professionally. If they are, advertisers can reap the rewards.

Chabad’s Billboard and Street Pole Advertising Campaign. All Good, Save For…

Chabad is an excellent organisation with a good heart, there for South Africa’s Jewish community and to foster more involvement amongst its members, but I believe one of two elements of its outdoor advertising “kosher” campaign are
a tad misplaced – in that some of its billboards are oddly positioned.

With the Jewish population in Johannesburg largely spread over the North Eastern suburbs of Glenhazel, Sydenham, Sandringham, Orange Grove, Fellside, Houghton, Highlands North, Norwood, Orchards, Gardens, Melrose North and Oaklands, and to a lesser extent, the northern suburbs of Gallo Manor and Sandton, I would have thought that its billboards should have been concentrated in these areas – to the exclusion of any other areas.

And yet, driving north along Rivonia Road this morning – in Rivonia – and north of Sandton, I see a Chabad billboard urging people to keep kosher and wear tefillin.

Now, whilst not privy to how many Jewish households there are in Rivonia, I would guesstimate that there are very few and further, that a good 90% motorists passing this billboard each day would have no interest in keeping kosher (simply because they’re not Jewish) and would have no idea as to what tefilin are (for the same reason).

So, a bad site for a billboard in my opinion.

If a billboard on Rivonia Road was free (or donated), I’d say great – go wild. But billboard advertising in Johannesburg is not free, and by no means cheap.

The billboard in question probably costs in the region of R20-30 000 a month to flight, which is by no means an insignificant amount. In my opinion, this money would have been better allocated to online marketing in the form of either running a Facebook campaign or a video (or series of videos) on You Tube. Or by sending out newsletters to members of the South African Jewish community. Or by blogging. Or remarketing.

I also have a question mark over the street pole posters in the Marlboro area – even though it’s possible that some members of the Jewish community might work in the area and drive past the boards on occasion.

The issue is one of wastage. Far too many people not of the Jewish faith would see the advertising and have no interest in the advertising. So why advertise to them?

Better, to my mind, would be to focus on the low hanging fruit ie the people in the predominantly Jewish areas of Johannesburg who might be inclined to go to shul once in a while and to participate in Jewish affairs to a degree. It is these people who would be more inclined to “go kosher” or “lay tefilin”.

That said, as billboards or street pole posters, Chabad’s outdoor advertising works. And hats off to the organisation for the initiative. I just feel that the campaign should be more geographically-focused so as to reach the target market more effectively.

Rivonia and Marlboro, to my mind, are suburbs too far.

And then, just a general comment regarding outdoor advertising: I’m a great believer in billboard advertising and street pole advertising working with other advertising types so as to increase the chances of success. So it would be interesting to see what other advertising media Chabad are using, or looking to use. These days, online marketing and social media – used correctly – can work extremely well and besides being effective, are extremely cost-effective.

If Chabad wants to see results, where more members of the Jewish community decide to “go kosher” and “wear tefillin” they’d do well to commit to a medium-term campaign, using a multi-pronged marketing approach.
Also to come up with advertising that stands out and gets talked about.

The current billboard and street pole campaign may raise awareness in the short term but I feel that it needs to be upped a notch, and to be a bit more “creative” in execution.

First things first though: the Rivonia billboard should go, and consideration should be given to removing the Marlboro street poles.

Unless I’m missing a trick, of course, and there’s a strategic reason for them being there..which I guess is possible.

Advertising in Newspapers. How much?

With hundreds of newspapers in South Africa, advertising rates vary tremendously.

There are many variables – of which the size of the ad, the position of the ad, the numbers of colours in an ad, the day the ad is booked for, and the number of times the ad is booked for, are just some of them.

Then, full colour newspaper ads are more expensive than black and white newspaper ads. (Normally, a lot more expensive). And two colour newspaper advertisements cost less than full colour advertisements. Also, publishers of newspapers charge different rates depending on their number of readers and their circulation figures. So it’s no easy task answering the question “How much to advertise in newspapers?” (even though I get asked this A LOT).

To give you an idea of newspaper advertising costs:

A full page black and white advertisement in The Sunday Times will cost you R399 600 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The Sowetan will cost you R69 264 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The New Age will cost you R169 344 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in Ilanga will cost you R28 413.84 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in Isolezwe will cost you R37 223.55 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The Sunday Sun will cost you R45 045 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The Daily Sun will cost you R93 093 (Mon-Tues), R96 642 (Wed-Fri) excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The Business Day will cost you R108 000 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The Times will cost you R 58 656 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The Cape Argus will cost you R44 499 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The Cape Times will cost you R70 983 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The EP Herald will cost you R45 900 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The Sunday Tribune will cost you R89 424 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The Natal Mercury will cost you R57 056.40 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The Daily News will cost you R67 008.60 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The Natal Witness will cost you R25 488 (Mon-Tues),
R28 296 (Wed-Fri) excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in Die Beeld will cost you R92 400 (Mon-Tues),
R96 250 (Wed-Fri) excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in Die Burger will cost you R85 250 (Mon-Tues),
R89 100 (Wed-Fri) excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in Die Volksblad will cost you R32 400 (Mon-Tues),
R38 880 (Wed-Fri) excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The Citizen will cost you R38 688 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in Rapport will cost you R230 0400 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The Star will cost you R140 551.20 excluding VAT
A full page black and white advertisement in The Pretoria News will cost you R40 969.80 excluding VAT

Whereas

A half page black and white advertisement in The Sowetan will cost you R35 520 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The New Age will cost you R84 672 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in Ilanga will cost you R14 571.20 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in Isolezwe will cost you R19 089 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The Sunday Sun will cost you R23 100 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The Daily Sun will cost you R47 740 (Mon-Tues), R49 560 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The Business Day will cost you R54 000 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The Times will cost you R30 080 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The Cape Argus will cost you R22 820 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The Cape Times will cost you R35 491.50 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The EP Herald will cost you R22 950 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The Sunday Tribune will cost you R44 712 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The Natal Mercury will cost you R28 528.20 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The Daily News will cost you R33 504.30 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The Natal Witness will cost you R12 744 (Mon-Tues),
R14 148 (Wed-Fri) excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in Die Beeld will cost you R45 360 (Mon-Tues),
R47 250 (Wed-Fri) excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in Die Burger will cost you R41 850 (Mon-Tues),
R43 740 (Wed-Fri) excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in Die Volksblad will cost you R16 200 (Mon-Tues),
R19 440 (Wed-Fri) excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The Citizen will cost you R19 840 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in Rapport will cost you R115 200 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The Star will cost you R70 275.60 excluding VAT
A half page black and white advertisement in The Pretoria News will cost you R20 484.90 excluding VAT

Looking for the cost to place a quarter page newspaper ad? Work on approximately halving the cost of a half page ad. (Although it doesn’t always work like this). Want to place a third page ad? Or an island solus ad? Or a 20 x 4 column ad? Or a 30 x 6 column ad? Or a 39 x 7 column ad? Or a full colour ad? Or a two colour ad? Or a wrap-around? You’d need to get hold of an advertising rate card by contacting the newspaper in question. But, what if you’re not sure about which newspaper to advertise in? Ah, now there’s a thing. And the reason why you’d be better served by speaking with a media planner or media consultancy. (Or an ad agency if you have one).

By briefing one of them, and by giving them your advertising budget, your target market and your marketing objective(s), they’d be able to recommend the newspapers you should be considering. Not only that, they could give you advertising rates, negotiate these rates (if possible) and make advertising bookings on your behalf.

And maybe – just maybe – you could get all this done for FREE. (Although there would likely be terms and conditions attached). That said, this would be a far better route than approaching newspapers directly. (Unless you have plenty of time on your hands).

Newspaper media planning and media scheduling is a science and best left to the professionals. If you don’t know of a good media planner, I could give you a name or two.

At the end of the day, a good media planner, media placement agency or advertising agency could help you take the guesswork out of newspaper advertising – by replacing subjectivity with objectivity and thumbsucking with data.

Advertising and PR, And Why They Work So Well Together.

Advertising says: We’re a great company
PR: News24 says: They ARE a great company

Differences and similarities between advertising and public relations (PR) have long sparked fierce debate as to which discipline is the most effective in interacting with a target market, whilst delivering the highest return on investment.

Advertising and PR differ substantially. Firstly, in the way in which messages are conveyed to the public and secondly, to the extent of control the business has of the communication once it’s been released into the public domain.

When, where and how one’s advertising appears is controllable. Whereas in PR, whilst message creation is controllable, once the news is out there, there’s no turning back. The fact is, viral communication and the internet render a large portion of corporate communication outside the control of the client, or PR agency. Be it positive or negative. But, this is where fame turns to fortune. As Oscar Wilde said “The worst thing than being spoken about, is not being spoken about”

Despite these differences, PR and advertising go together like salt and vinegar in flavouring the perfect marketing mix. They are both vital tools through which to generate and manage public interest and awareness around a brand or service, with the aim of increasing sales.

PR and advertising also engage the same channels of communication ie print, television, radio and the internet.
As such, the combination of the two communication types is extremely powerful. Consumers receive ‘one way’ messages through advertising, but by adding the power of PR, are able to be moved closer to the purchasing decision through interactive calls to action through the media, online articles and social media platforms.

Whereas advertising raises awareness NOW, and shouts the message from the proverbial rooftop, PR amplifies and supports the message over time, and in a variety of ways – with the aim of keeping the communication uppermind.

Well positioned and timed PR increases public exposure to niche target groups while third-party communicators such as bloggers and journalists increase the importance of the brand message via endorsements through blogs, articles and reviews.

Advertising ensures paid for strategic and creative visual exposure while PR secures free editorial exposure based on tailored, timeous, well-written and relevant news around the product or service. The two combine to ensure that consumers not only see the brand advertised on the various advertising media-types, be they TV, cinema, radio, outdoor, print or online, but come across articles online a day later, see a column in their community paper or a link to the company’s Facebook and YouTube through inbound marketing.

PR adds to an advertising campaign and gives it longevity. It also adds credibility.

Whilst advertising can break through the clutter and stop people in their tracks, it is after all only advertising and is seen as “just advertising”. Public relations, on the other hand, has more credibility and is seen to be more believable. In a cynical world, this is important.

By adding credibility to hype, advertisers get more bang from their buck.

That said, if your marketing budget extends to PR, it makes perfect sense to do so. Just make sure you utilise the services of a PR person who has contacts amongst the press, and who lives in the digital space.

There are too many PR companies out there – in my opinion anyway – that are stuck in the 1980’s and do the same tired things over and over. These days, the action is online and digital PR is the way to go. By appointing a young, savvy, go-getting PR person, you can get great coverage at little cost. And your advertising – be it TV advertising, Radio advertising, Cinema advertising, Print Advertising or Outdoor advertising – will be aided in the process.

How Does Cinema Advertising Compare With TV Advertising?

Whilst both are visual electronic advertising mediums, they don’t really compare – not in terms of reach anyway.

Whereas Television advertising is mass media, reaching millions, cinema advertising is more niched and its reach is limited.

That said, cinema advertising has a lot going for it, and as an ad agency, I’ll often look at incorporating it into a media schedule where there is a product/target audience fit. It’s clear that the advertising medium appeals to many marketers, judging from the number and types of advertisers currently flighting ads on cinema screens around the nation. Advertisers include the large national advertisers as well as small advertisers and hence, its appeal spans the divide.

In my opinion, the strengths of cinema as an advertising medium are the fact that it allows for:

Targeting
Flexibility
Intimacy

It’s also cost-effective and affordable, and comes in far cheaper than TV advertising which, is by and large, expensive.

Television advertising is a national medium, reaching millions of people whereas cinema advertising lends itself more to geographical targeting.

Irrespective of the product being advertised, TV advertising will always have “wastage” – where a percentage of people will not, and will likely never be, interested in your product or service. Whilst this is the case, though, people talk. So whilst someone will have no interest in your product, he or she may know someone who may be – and may well choose to tell that person. The importance of “Word of mouth” can never be underestimated in terms of advertising. People will always be more open to making a purchase if a friend or family member has made a recommendation.

Whilst this is true of both TV advertising and cinema advertising, cinema advertising has less wastage as advertisers can better target their advertising. In terms of targeting, an advertiser with a limited advertising budget could decide which cinemas to advertise in and which not to advertise in. So if, for example, you run a plumbing supplies business in Boksburg, you could advertise in cinemas in only the Boksburg area. Or you could choose a number of cinemas in adjoining areas so as to reach a wider audience. This is a huge advantage as it means that you won’t be advertising in places where your target market is too geographically distant to take advantage of your products or service, and you won’t be wasting money unnecessarily.

Besides deciding on cinema location, the cinema advertiser could also select particular cinema releases. This is important. As Ster-Kinekor and Nu Metro will always make a big splash about forthcoming releases they consider to be “blockbusters”, you’ll have the time to plan your campaign. By booking your ad in the cinemas of your choice, and before a movie that you know will be well attended, you’ll be in a good place.

Ster-Kinekor or Nu Metro will promote the movie with a view to getting bums on seats, and so long as you have an ad that “talks” to those there for the movie, you’ll be positioned to capitalise. You must have a decent commercial to flight though.

There are a number of really good advertising agencies in South Africa as well as a number of really good TV producers who could produce a quality cinema ad for you, and the costs do not have to exorbitant. Whilst a quality TV commercial could set you back R650 000 (and upwards), a cinema ad could be produced for a lot less – depending on the concept, storyboard, location and number of actors.

Unless you’re an established marketer with an unlimited budget for production, there are a number of ways to keep your cinema ad production costs down:

Have it produced in-house (there are a number of talented people about who could help you with this)
Call in a freelance TV producer
Get in a good freelance copywriter and art director (a Google search will likely bring up a few)
Insist on a simple storyboard (requiring no actors, or maybe one at the most)
Consider simple animation or pack shots with titles
Source library music (and avoid well-known soundtracks)

Do your homework and you could probably get a decent cinema ad shot for R150 000 to R180 000 excluding VAT.

Once you have a cinema commercial produced, you’ll need to have a media planner compile you a media schedule which will show you when, where and how many times your commercial will air or flight. If you have an ad agency, they’ll be able to put this together for you. (If you don’t, I could put you in contact with someone).

Advertising on the big screen ticks a number of boxes in my opinion – although it’s product-dependant ie a chocolate bar or new energy drink would lend itself to being advertised on cinema whereas a new brand of cement might not be.

If your target market is children, parents of children, or people aged 34 or less, advertising in cinema is worthy of consideration. Especially when you consider that you have a captive audience that will be receptive to your message – and focused on your message. (Something that can’t be guaranteed with TV advertising).

Also in cinema advertising’s favour is that, as an advertiser, you could bolster your advertising on-screen by, for example, give-aways, leaflets or other promotional items in cinema foyers. (It’s difficult to do this with TV advertising).

At the end of the day, cinema advertising and TV advertising are both excellent advertising mediums, with the former probably more suited to smaller companies with smaller advertising budgets looking for local penetration and television advertising more suited to companies with larger advertising budgets, looking for a national reach.

Billboard Advertising and Outdoor Advertising. One and the same?

advertising billboardWhilst those within the advertising industry would know the difference between “billboard advertising” and “outdoor advertising”, some marketers may not – judging from the volume of enquiries I receive for eg billboards when what they are looking for are street pole posters, or maxi posters.

So, a quick explanation:

Billboards are generally the free-standing boards you see on the sides of freeways or on main roads in suburban areas. They come in all shapes and sizes, and in portrait or landscape-formats. Of all the outdoor media-types, these type of billboards are normally the most expensive (together with building wraps) and can range from around R20 000 per month to around R70 000 a month – depending on their geographical location, and how many people would see, or pass by, the billboard in question in any month. In addition, there would a reproduction cost for printing the artwork, which would be a once-off cost, ranging from about R15 000 and upwards.

Billboards could be in the form of static billboards and digital billboards; the difference between them being that on a static board, only one advertising message could be shown at a time, whereas on a digital billboard, a number of ads could be shown one after the other. Digital billboards are becoming more and more popular as they are generally cheaper to flight, the messages can be changed quickly and the creative can be “walked” around a pre-determined area, so as to reach more people in different locales.

Outdoor advertising is a more encompassing term than billboard advertising and includes all outdoor advertising types – ranging from billboards, maxi posters, mini posters and street pole posters to building wraps, signage at taxi ranks, dustbin advertising, trailer advertising and bus shelter advertising.

Of these, the most expensive are building wraps where a side of an entire building can be branded if need be. Not only can this be impactful, it can be incredibly costly and can generally only be afforded by large marketers with expansive ad budgets. (Typically, companies in the banking, insurance, telecommunications and liquor industries).

Maxi-posters are also popular and are to be found between the north-bound and south-bound lanes of major freeways. These are extremely effective, so long as the creative messaging is kept simple and eye-catching. The rule of thumb here is to communicate the USP (Unique Selling Proposition). There’s no point in having a poster with a long headline that a motorist travelling at speed would have no chance of absorbing.

But this is true of all outdoor. You have to keep things simple, and understandable. Eye-catching is also good.

Take street pole posters. Generally put up in series of three or four, if the message is complicated, you’ll lose most motorists and your advertising money will be money down the drain. Street pole posters are cost-effective and hence popular with advertisers with limited advertising budgets. Anyone with R15 000 to R20 000 available could probably afford a series of street pole posters (depending of course on what an ad agency or design studio might for charge for the creative concept and design) although that said, one would normally get a better result by having more than one row of street pole posters.

Then there are mini-posters. Like street pole posters, they can work well. But their success is largely dependent on the creative.

In general, outdoor advertising is incredibly popular with marketers and probably always will be.

Many marketers will look at billboards in conjunction with radio advertising and as a strategy, this makes a lot of sense in a country like South Africa.

As with all advertising, however, billboard or outdoor advertising needs to be approached strategically and professionally and the process typically commences with identifying your target markets and researching their media consumption habits. There are ad agencies and media agencies specialising in outdoor advertising who can crunch the numbers. More than this, they could give you current outdoor availability in a specific area, provide reproduction and rental costings and recommend and purchase space on your behalf. Simplifying the outdoor or billboard advertising process as a result.

Whichever the outdoor advertising type, there will always be three costs:

The cost that an advertising agency will charge you to conceptualise the advertising message and supply artwork

The cost that the media owner will charge you to print the artwork

The cost that the media owner will charge you to flight your advertising per month 

If you ever need help in this area, I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

Radio Advertising. It’s Good When It’s Good But Bad When It’s Bad.

Having just spent the better part of the day in a recording studio, producing a series of commercials promoting a new brand of basmati rice, I got into a conversation with a sound engineer regarding the state of radio advertising in this country.

What we agreed was that in a country like South Africa, where radio is the one of the largest advertising mediums, the standard of radio advertising is generally poor.

That’s not to say there aren’t some very good radio commercials produced here: there are. But in the main, they lack imagination, are uninspiring and generally come up short in the “believability” stakes ie they’re unbelievable, in the negative sense.

Which is a pity, as the medium lends itself to creativity and is often described as “theatre of the mind.That’s not to say that writing good radio is easy. It’s not. But there are a couple of pointers to good radio advertising to my mind.

(The following are for copywriters working in ad agencies. Also to clients who like to write their own scripts!!!).

Write a decent script. Use your imagination. And let the listener decide how good your product or service is.
In other words, stay away from words like “simply the best” because that is not only boastful – it’s arrogant, and it’s only your opinion after all.

Stay away from “hard sell” if you can.
People don’t like to be sold things. Far better to tell them what you have, and let them make the decision as to whether it’s a product or service that they want, or need.

Provide reasons to purchase
People buy benefits more than they buy products.
Explain why a certain product or service will be of benefit to them.

Use believable voices.
Some of the voice deliveries I hear in radio commercials are unbelievable in the extreme. (As in, unbelievably unbelievable). There’s no credibility at all. Write in the way people speak.

Talk to your target market in their language.

In other words, don’t talk beneath them. And don’t talk above them. Talk TO them, In language they understand. And can relate to.

Use different voices.
So many voices I hear on radio ads today are the same. As in same old, same old. There are tons of decent voice over artistes out there, but it seems that copywriters have their favourites and use them over and over again, promoting a variety of products and services. Be imaginative. Try and use different voice overs where you can. And please, stay away from the ditzy blonde or the typical Jewish “kugel” type of delivery as they are very tired. Also, please only use American accents if there is a seriously good reason to do so. (The fact that you’re in love with all things American or have just returned from “Nu Yoik” are hardly reasons).

In the radio commercials I produced yesterday (and which are on my website www.kavonichone.co.za), I requested voices that had never been heard on radio before. With careful direction, they worked out well. The people I used had likely never been into a recording studio before, but they enjoyed it – and made some money out of it to boot. I even used my own voice, and I’m by no means a professional voice over.

Radio advertising done well can work wonders for your brand – whereas bad advertising can kill your brand, or seriously damage it.

There are many instances where bad advertising does more damage than good and my feeling has always been, if you’re going to advertise, do it professionally or not at all. There is nothing worse than putting out cringe-worthy advertising. Your brand deserves better. And so does your reception as a copywriter – or radio-writing client/marketer.

Advertising on radio is expensive (especially if you’re looking to advertise on mainstream radio stations like 702, Highveld, 5FM, Metro, SAFM and Jacaranda). Also remember that bad radio advertising costs the same as good radio advertising, so why produce – or settle for – the former?

It just doesn’t make sense to do so.

If you’re planning on producing or flighting a radio ad (and you don’t have an ad agency), either commission an experienced freelance copywriter to script and produce your radio commercial for you, and if you’re a copywriter, try to push the boundaries and explore radio as an advertising medium to the fullest. It’s a great medium and there are always ways to be more creative and more engaging with your audience.

Finally, if it’s a product that’s hard to be creative with, there’s always the tried and trusted route of live reads, where you get a radio announcer to read your script. It may cost more, but you’ll at least create the perception of the announcer endorsing your brand, even though you’ll be paying him (or her) to do so.

Online Advertising vs TV Advertising vs Newspaper Advertising vs Outdoor Advertising vs Radio Advertising vs ???

Online marketing is the way to go for the marketer with a small ad budget

With tough economic times having been with us for quite a few years, and with things likely remaining tough for the foreseeable future, advertisers need to ensure that their advertising works as hard as it can.

As an advertising person running his own agency, and having been in the advertising industry 29 years, I am often  asked called into brainstorming marketing sessions and asked for my thoughts as to an “advertising way forward”.

Whilst experience dictates that the building blocks must be present before going to market (read, logo, corporate  identity and website in the case of start-up businesses), “gut feel” is often not enough to go on these days.

The media landscape is forever changing, and it’s changing faster than anyone could have imagined. So much so  that even experienced advertising-types are battling to keep up. Whereas in the past one could look at a brief and think “TV advertising” or “Radio Advertising”, today, things are not as clear-cut.

Fortunately, there are now analytical tools, data, forecasts and research available that can remove much of the guesswork and help marketers arrive at better decisions. That said, the following excerpt from a Pricewaterhouse Coopers article throws up some interesting facts that may (or may not) reinforce your existing beliefs, or raise an eyebrow or two.

Revenue generated through advertising will increase by R18 billion between 2013 and 2018, with the fastest-growing segment – online advertising – showing double-digit growth as a result of the substantial increase in Internet access over the period.

Online advertising’s anticipated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.7% will be driven by search and mobile advertising, with Google propelling the South African search market. This will grow digital to a 10% share of adspend by 2018.

Mobile advertising will be driven by an increase in smartphone penetration and the increasing number of South Africans who are becoming mobile internet subscribers is forecast to rise from 15 million in 2013 to 35.2 million in 2018.

Display advertising will grow at a CAGR of 18.8%, driven principally by the second most visited site, Facebook, while video advertising will grow substantially from a low base of R2 million in 2013 to R9 million in 2018, as broadband speeds gradually improve and internet access widens.

The second-fastest growing advertising segment is video gaming, albeit from a low base of R29 million which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.4% to reach R60 million in 2018. This growth will be inextricably linked to the number of video gamers who play online, as video game advertising’s main asset is its ability to target users based on their playing behaviour while online.

Radio advertising, the third-fastest growing segment, will enjoy a healthy CAGR of 8.2% thanks to radio still being widely consumed throughout South Africa.

TV advertising remains comfortably the largest South African advertising sector. It will grow at a CAGR of 6.8% over the forecast period, reaching a projected R18.4 billion in 2018. This growth will be driven by more competition and larger broadcasting audiences, as television continues to have the largest reach of any media format. A growing middle class with greater disposable income will lead to a rise in pay-TV households.

Magazine and newspaper total advertising revenues will show growth of 4.0% and 6.0% respectively, and in both cases, the advertising spend from printed editions will consume the overwhelming majority of total advertising revenues. Who said print was dead?

Printed newspaper advertising growth can be attributed to locally distributed, free newspapers which build strong connections between consumers and brands, while print magazine advertising will be driven by niche magazines covering topics like home improvement. Digital advertising in both instances is still in its infancy, but will see a double-digit CAGR over the forecast period.

OOH (Out of Home media) maintains its ground, with growth over five years forecast at 5.9%

A compound annual growth rate of 7% across all segments is a fortunate position to be in.

Despite dramatic growth of the Internet, traditional advertising media will prevail. The likes of television and radio revenues are still guaranteeing the kind of captive mass audiences that online cannot yet offer.

The tipping point from traditional media to digital media remains a long way off in South Africa, atleast in terms of revenue. Advertisers would do well to focus on the digital consumer, who may well have greater disposable income, but for the time-being, traditional media will constitute the majority of revenues”

Having read this, it’s clear that whilst online (digital) marketing is important in the media mix, it’s certainly not the only game in town: something I’ve believed for a long time. Conventional media, such as TV advertising, radio advertising, outdoor advertising and newspaper and magazine advertising are still big, and will be big for some time still.

In meetings with clients, I tend to find that the younger the client, the more adverse he or she is to advertising in “mainstream” media, whereas the older (and probably more conservative) the client, the more adverse he or she is to advertising online or participating in social media.
This is of course understandable. If you’re not on facebook or don’t “do” twitter, you’ll likely not want to advertise on them. And if you don’t watch TV, you’ll assume that not many others watch either. As a result, you’ll shun TV advertising.

This is of course problematic. As responsible marketers or advertisers, with responsibility for our brands, it requires of us, less subjectivity and more objectivity. By analysing data, by seeking out articles like the one above and by being guided by people who study media consumption for a living (rather than being swayed by our own personal perceptions and beliefs), we can do justice to our available marketing budgets and spend our advertising monies wisely.

What’s important is that we fish where the fish are. Not where we’d like them to be. We need to establish which media is consumed by our target markets, and when. Once we have a clear picture on this, we can then plan our advertising campaigns. Whilst gut-feel will always be important, gut-feel backed by research and armed with knowledge and foresight will serve you better.

By requesting the involvement of an experienced media strategist or media planner, you’ll be better positioned to see whether TV advertising might be more suitable than radio advertising. Whether outdoor advertising might be more cost-effective than newspaper or magazine advertising. Whether you should shun all of the aforementioned in favour of a digital marketing campaign. Or whether a multi-media campaign encompassing all media might be the optimal approach.

It’s all about arming yourself with knowledge, with a view to minimising risk and maximising the effectiveness of your next advertising campaign. I’d be happy to point you in the right direction if you like.