Flying Seraph
How To Treble The Power Of Your Advertising Dollar

Reg Bryson* has the finest Planning mind in Australia.

Without a doubt.

Elected to the Hall of Fame of Australian advertising, he hired me as his Head of Planning at The Campaign Palace. Only because I got very lucky one year and beat him in the Effectiveness awards – a tournament he had made his own.

His partnerships with fellow ‘Hall of Famer’ Ronnie Mather, and other creative greats, produced a body of work that – to this day – is unparalleled in Australia.

Here’s their secret to Effectiveness. They, and their most successful clients, knew the value of Impact. They used it as a secret weapon to amp up the value of every single media dollar. Their proof of effectiveness would typically show the cost per unit of impact compared to competitors.

Take, for instance, their Daewoo case. It consisted of a stunning body of work. Each 1% of Daewoo advertising awareness cost 100 units (indexed). The next closest was Honda at 163 units. Mitsubishi advertising dragged the chain at 310 units.

That shows how much extra had to be spent in media by competitors to compensate for weak advertising. It galls me still, to watch big advertisers banging away with creative that had very little chance in the first place. Believing – misguidedly – that frequency, reach, or time in market can compensate for lukewarm creative.

Reg’s strategies were beyond smart; they were audacious. The Palace’ ideas were to die for. Their executions were lovingly crafted.

To many clients and competing agencies, that was lavish. Indulgent even.

I shudder at what today’s ‘value’ chasers would think: folk who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. I wonder if a single procurement executive has ever given thought to this kind of metric?

Here’s a very simple 4-cell box that sums it all up (apologies to the media folk but, like ours, theirs is really a simple business, too.):

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Imagine the outside of the box is a fixed size: It represents the total budget. Within that we have 4 levers we can pull. Reach: what proportion of all people we reach. Frequency: the number of times people ‘see’ our communication. Duration: how long we can afford to run the campaign. Impact: the ability to elicit a response in people.

Within the fixed box you can re-size the 4 cells. Re-allocate money between Reach, Frequency, Duration and Impact as you see fit. But the budget won’t grow, so the outer box stays constant.

Reg’s proof comes into its own here.

Skimp and spend as little as you can get away with in the Impact box – you’ll never have enough in the remaining three to do the job properly.

Conversely, spend as much as you can afford to in the Impact box.  So powerful is the multiplier effect of great creative, you’ll need far less money in the remaining three.

That is how Reg demolished (almost) all in his path.

Simple and elegant, really. The path to the Hall of Fame.

*Reg is principal of Brand Council, a brand strategy consultancy.

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  1. Craig G

    Mark, this is so simple its brilliant, or vice versa. 🙂 As an in-house creative, I’m always pushing for design to lead our marketing efforts, but, alas, it rarely happens. A typical scenario sees us completely committed to a paid media schedule before the idea of “how” is even considered, let alone first considering how the creative & messaging is best presented to the consumer once its fully developed. Most marketers seem to measure impact on the front end, thinking more paid impressions equals a sure route to success. Anyhow, well written. I loved it. You added to my day and I thank you.

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