Advertising is dead. Yeh right.26th October 2011
There have been many debates lately around the power of advertising and whether consumers are becoming numb to it, or simply taking every opportunity to avoid it, especially on television with the rise in online viewing and catch-up TV.
I’m in the camp that still believes a well executed, well targeted and timely ad campaign works. A case in point being the new Thomson Holidays ad (a TUI UK owned brand) which controversially launched much earlier than is typical for a travel industry that is operating in a challenging economic environment.
The ad is poignant, it evokes emotion. I’m not the target audience, as it is very clearly targeting families. But why now instead of January (the typical “wave” booking period)? And what is the potential halo effect for the rest of the travel industry?
It should be good. But what is the rationale? Is TUI trying to encourage people to spend on their holiday as a Christmas gift for all the family? Quite possibly. The weather’s turned, summer’s over and we all got a luscious reminder of how much we love the sun with our glorious Indian summer sunshine late in the season. This ad certainly makes us want more of that.
Alternatively, or additionally, it’s trying to achieve brand awareness and ‘cut through’ while the holiday ad space is still uncluttered. The ad cleverly communicates a powerful brand message in a subtle way. Creatively however the idea isn’t new – many of our travel PR campaigns have hinged around time – and the precious time together a family holiday gives people. In an age where people are working more for less, the TV campaign really strikes a chord. How many sales are generated remains to be seen.
Social media can really help an ad campaign too – although I’ve not seen the Thomson Holidays ad on TV myself (I’m part of the “catch-up on The X Factor later” crowd) there has been a lot of noise and sharing of the YouTube clip on Twitter among travel types. But I can’t help wondering why Thomson isn’t making more of this on Facebook and using the opportunity to engage and “touch” potential customers again – I couldn’t even find a fan page for them that wasn’t a wiki entry.
In contrast when I went to do a Twitter search on #tui to gauge the public’s feedback – I was struck by the power of another ad campaign from my home nation New Zealand. Tui is a locally brewed beer and its “Yeh Right” billboards have been prominent around the country for years. But they’ve become ultimately more powerful since social has taken off. “Did you watch the game? Yeh Right”. You get it. As do the 139,679 people who like it.
Every #tui tweet pretty much referenced the Kiwi beer! Great additional publicity. This takes me back to my original point – that advertising still has its place in the marketing mix – and executed well the online world can make it even more powerful, whether it’s a television ad or an old-school billboard.