Event advertising deserves equal billing with Event TV

Carl Nawagamuwa, an account director at Mediaedge:cia, who attended Channel 4’s 2009 Plannertarium, on how media owners and agencies need to work together to make good Event advertising happen more often.

Event TV is what most clients crave to see on their schedules, and it is the jewel in the crown of ITV1 and Channel 4. It is the slide that clients always want to see when shown what programming highlights their TV budgets will appear in.

It strikes me as entirely fair to say that many a campaign has been made or broken by presence in event TV programming. It has that power.

TV stations can be much maligned, but credit where credit is due as some have allowed TV advertising to reach new levels in recent times.

From an agency perspective the hope is that more will follow suit taking advantage of the huge audiences they attract through programming. Ad placements such as the lastminute.com ‘hands up’ campaign, Honda’s ‘live Skydive’ and now Channel4’s Comedy Gala are showing us a way to tap into consumer’s enjoyment of TV advertising, by making an event of the advertising itself with a direct link to editorial.

Taking C4’s Comedy Gala break (which featured Jimmy Carr) as a recent case in point shows how TV has evolved. Moving from the idea of contextually relevant breaks to themed breaks to event breaks all within appointment to view programming.

This is more obvious – you clearly know it is an ad break, and yet it’s more subtle than say advertorials you may see in print or online. The consumer does not feel they are consuming editorial and thus does not feel in any way cheated on the realization it is an ad.

Personally I’ve always had a slight concern over advertorials, especially on TV in that the relative cost of making them look so much like editorial is not necessarily what consumers want. Yes TV historically has been seen as overtly loud and obvious but that’s one if its massive strengths for me, there’s no confusion over what it is and when watched it takes your whole attention. It’s the whole screen, it’s easy to consume and it’s to the point. In my eyes that’s one of the major reasons TV often performs well for ROI in comparison to print, online or outdoor.

The Comedy Gala break had the correct level of editorial influence to be successful – people still knew it was an ad break, they were in no doubt as to what was going on. These one off events use the best parts of TV, they make a big noise, but are entirely contextually relevant, and from a consumer perspective there is no confusion.

Media owner, agency, and creative should all work together to make “Event advertising” like this happen more frequently. Don’t get me wrong being a part of the Comedy Gala break was an administrative nightmare, but I believe from an agency perspective and hopefully from a client perspective the ends justify the means.

After all it should be Event advertising as well as Event TV which we showcase in our strategies going forwards.

  • Tom Atkins

    I don’t know why we don’t see advertisers doing more of these and working with broadcasters like C4. This stuff is gold. It gets press attention and moves advertising to a new level…and yet we have had very few examples. Come on what are people doing, where are teh advertising ideas?