The first job of advertising is to get seen and noticed. Otherwise, what’s the point?

With the South African economy being on the ropes as it is, many advertisers are faced with shrinking budgets and the added pressure of making their advertising work for them. When faced with this kind of pressure, it’s easy to look at digital advertising and social media to deliver the results as it’s supposedly “cheaper” and “more effective”.

But is it?

I’ve spoken with a number of advertisers recently – business owners and brand managers alike – who bemoan the fact that despite being active on social media, and spending money on online marketing, their ROIs have not been mindblowing.

As someone who has been in the advertising industry for a good 30 years, I’ve never been one to suggest putting all eggs into the digital basket and cling – perhaps stubbornly, perhaps even naively – to the fact that a strategic mix of advertising media invariably produces the best results.

I have always been a fan of conventional media – newspaper advertising, magazine advertising, TV advertising, cinema advertising, and OOH (Out of Home) advertising in the form of billboard advertising.

Whilst I am obviously aware that readership of print titles has dwindled, and that with the never-ending plethora of screens now fighting for eyeball attention, buying advertising on TV has become complex, I do not buy into the “digital and social is everything” mantra.

In my opinion, the best advertising results from advertising strategically across multiple media over time.

The last two words in this are important ie over time.

I have often met with clients who want to see immediate results. (Perhaps understandable in this tight economy).
Advertising very seldom delivers instant results – unless you have an incredible offer, or – for example – a clearance sale with hugely discounted pricing.

Your target market will need to see your advertising a number of times before acting on it, so a campaign rather than a once-off advertisement somewhere will invariably work better for you.

Then, with regards “multiple media”.

Armed with a decent advertising budget, and in-depth market research so as to accurately define one’s target market, a marketing manager, brand manager or business owner should always look to reach the people within an identified target market in as many ways as possible. Once you know a person’s media consumption habits and have an understanding of how, when and where he or she watches TV, listens to the radio and reads print titles it makes it relatively easy to plan an advertising way forward.

An old school advertising-type I may be – after all, I’ve been a copywriter in advertising for a good 30 years now – but I’ve always had a soft spot for conventional media, especially if used correctly.

A good TV commercial can work wonders. Yes even in this digital age.
An eye-catching magazine or newspaper advertisement can gain the attention of many a jaded eye.
And strong creative work on a billboard can sell like no other advertising medium.

On the subject of billboards: I work with an OOH (Out of Home) specialist and can, though her, ascertain billboard availability throughout Southern Africa, and get discounted pricing in many instances.

Billboard owners often have unsold inventory – especially in these tough economic times – and are more open to negotiating now than they normally would be. From their perspective, it’s a case of rather than having a client than no client.

As someone running an advertising agency in JOhannesburg (albeit a, TINY…advertising agency), I have four skills – both honed over the years:

Conceptualising of creative ideas

So not only can I come up with single minded and strong creative work, I can try to obtain pricing that as a client, you may be able to afford.

Billboard advertising, street pole advertising, maxi pole advertising, washroom advertising, bus advertising, train advertising, taxi advertising, newspaper advertising, magazine advertising, TV advertising, cinema advertising, radio advertising…I can do it all, and I can do it less expensively than a lot of the big ad agencies out there.

Social media? Online advertising? PR? Not my strengths, although I could put you in contact with specialists in these fields. People who don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk. Yes, they’re that rare…

Gerard Kavonic is an experienced copywriter, conceptualiser of advertising ideas and co-ordinator of marketing projects. He resides in Johannesburg and runs This country’s smallest ad agency, Kavonic Hone. See He has been in the South African advertising industry for a good 30 years and during this time has won a number of awards for copywriting. He works on a full agency or ad hoc project basis and also offers a consulting service. He can be contacted on +27 83 444 9888 and His skype address is gerardkavonic if you’d like to add him.