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Traditional Media: The Non-Traditional Approach?

JANUARY 2015 Millennial Marketing Insight from HypeLife Brands: "Traditional Media: The Non-Traditional Approach?"

The shift away from traditional media isn’t news. To the savviest of firms, it hasn’t been news for more than a decade. Here's a fact: Marketing online is a cheaper way to get eyes – specifically Millennial eyes – on your brand; a statement that’s more true today than ever before.

But because this is common knowledge, because not having a Twitter account means your brand isn’t relevant, there also may not be a better time to consider traditional media. Put another way: Do things no one else is doing. 

We’ve all heard the doom and gloom of cable TV, of broadcast television, or the clever moniker aptly dubbed to Millennials as ‘cord-cutters.’ But consider this: Last year, the popular content management system Squarespace ran their first television commercial in its 10-year history. And they ran it during the Super Bowl, an event guaranteed to receive millions of oogling Millennial eyes. Up until that commercial aired, they had relied solely on Google AdWords, sponsored online posts and online media buys to drive its growth from its launch in 2004. They had done well, averaging 1,000 new sign-ups a day and garnering millions of registered users. But they wanted more. 

Here’s a statement that gets thrown around a lot: Online marketing is the most cost-effective way to advertise. While this sounds a lot like the first fact I gave you up in paragraph one, it’s actually quite different, and not a fact at all. For some brands, the statement is true. Sometimes resources mandate a certain marketing strategy, and so focusing solely on a sound online marketing plan is absolutely the best play. But then there are other times when an important question must be asked: What’s cost-effective really mean?

For Squarespace, they spent well into the seven figures for a :30 spot during the Super Bowl (if you'd like to guess, a :30 spot is selling for $4.5 million this year). That’s $150,000 per second, without spending any money actually making the commercial. Crazy? Perhaps. But also consider that last year's Super Bowl between the Broncos and the Seahawks was watched by 112.2 million people, a record for a live television event. Plus, it's the only time all year where the commercials garner nearly as much hype as the game itself, assuring a massive audience for a litany of branded messages. 

So was it worth it? Only Squarespace can know that. But they’re running another ad during this year’s big game. So I’m thinking it was money well spent; perhaps even a more cost-effective marketing solution than their online campaigns.

Of course, cost-effective is a relative term, as not every brand can afford to advertise during the Super Bowl. But big, established brands are re-allocating some of their traditional media buys to hot online markets every day. And as these online markets become more crowded, and inevitably, more expensive, now may be the perfect time to consider a well-crafted ad paired with a strategically sound television media buy aimed at Millennials.  

One more thing: In a postgame study, Squarespace’s :30 spot ranked as the 4th most memorable ad out of the 48 that aired. It showed that those new to the TV medium performed, on the whole, much higher with audiences than the gameday regulars, e.g. Bud Light, Pepsi, the car companies. So there's a lot of upside in the traditional space for some brands who may be new to TV. And while it's too late to get in the game (see what we did there?) for this year's Super Bowl, this insight is driven to give you some more ways of thinking about getting those coveted Millennial eyes for your brand... Which, believe it or not, might just mean doing something traditional.

As we always say, go where your competition isn't. ZAG when they zig. 


Curt Cuscino
HypeLife Brands