The new engagement
Channel 4′s head of strategic sales set up The Plannertarium to
convince clients and agencies to try something new, Jane Bainbridge
writes. Four years on, the event has delivered in spades.
In the few years that Channel 4′s Plannertarium has been established,
the TV landscape has changed phenomenally. “Within the four years we’ve
been running it, we’ve gone from talking about some of these things -
connected TV, mobile TV and iPads – as future-facing, to being a
reality. There has been an incredible change,” Mike Parker, the head of
strategic sales and commercial marketing at Channel 4, says.
“TV is migrating from a linear broadcast model on the TV set to a model
which we call: whatever, whenever and wherever – viewers can
increasingly watch whatever they want, whenever they want to, wherever.
The platform – whether it’s the iPad, PS3, YouTube or PC – means you can
watch TV on devices that are mobile, out of the home, or multiple
devices inside the home, that are on-demand,” Parker adds.
Further technological advancement means it’s not just how the ads are
watched but what goes into them. It’s possible to put live streams into
broadcast ads and, furthermore, Channel 4 has developed Ad Elect online,
where consumers choose the ads they watch.
It’s not just technology that has changed over the intervening years.
Parker started The Plannertarium to make TV advertising more effective
and believed that one way of doing that was to create better
relationships with media agencies – in particular, media planners. “The
Plannertarium has been about improving the way we engage with media
planners and it has allowed us to push the innovation agenda about ad
breaks and environment. So it’s been a combination of innovation in the
ad break with engagement with media planners. We have driven interest to
the point that media planners brief us all the time – we get dozens a
week compared with one or two a year, five years back,” Parker says.
More than 100 planners have been on The Plannertarium so far, and
Channel 4 has maintained a dialogue with them – they, in turn, have
become advocates for a different approach to TV.
This year’s theme is TV in the new age of engagement, Parker explains:
“A lot of change is happening – some regulatory, some technological -
and there is a need in any media environment to engage more than ever
because there are more ad messages out there.”
Regulatory changes have made broadcasters freer in a number of areas.
They can now use their talent in different ways with the talent
appearing in ads in breaks in programmes in which they appear.
“In a framework where there’s got to be integrity between editorial and
advertising, there is a freeing up of regulation around talent and a
more generous interpretation of what’s editorial and what’s advertising.
Then there is product placement, which allows brands to have exposure in
the content of a show. Even if a brand didn’t appear when the drama was
shot, with post-production techniques you can still get the product into
the show,” Parker explains.
Another area being covered in this year’s event is about the powerful
partnership between TV and social media. Parker talks about the role of
“owned, earned and bought” media, and while TV is bought to get the
message to consumers it drives people into the earned space of social
media. “TV has a fantastic ability to engage consumers and drive them to
talk about brands in social media and engage with content on social
media platforms,” he says.
From a point where Channel 4 almost never got a brief from a media
planner, it is now commonplace – and with that the role of media
planners has moved higher up the decision-making chain in how TV is
used. The Plannertarium has certainly found its voice in a fast-changing
period for TV advertising.
EXAMPLES OF ENGAGEMENT
- Pizza Hut and E4
The 12-month promotion involved creating spoof ads especially for E4
viewers offering them special offers each night. The URL shown in the
ads takes the viewer to an E4 URL reinforcing the partnership.
- Microsoft’s Bing Christmas campaign
Bing-fronted advertising breaks targeted Christmas shoppers by using
narrative ad links to spots for other brands appropriate to the story.
Each subsequent break featured shoppers using their Windows Phone 7 and
the Bing search engine to help solve a different aspect of last-minute
shopping, such as getting directions to the nearest Sainsbury’s in order
to buy a turkey.
- Jameela Jamil T4 presenter and Maybelline
Maybelline was one of the first brands to take advantage of the change
in the BCAP rules. It created BackStage Beauty, featuring Jamil, and
blurred the boundaries between ad and editorial with backstage fashion
reports. Two ads showed different looks created using Maybelline
products and were transmitted during ad breaks in Jamil’s programming on
T4, Channel 4 and E4.
- Inspiring speakers, the brightest agency stars, five-star luxury -
just a few of the things you might experience at The Plannertarium on
Thursday 7 July 2011. Stay at home, however, and you’ll miss out. To
apply for a place, log on to Channel4sales.com and answer a few easy questions. The deadline’s Friday 20 May