Mistakes Made When Targeting TV Ads

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Tara Walpert Levy
Tara Walpert Levy
1. WAXING NOSTALGIC
Breaking news: 18 to 49 does not qualify as targeted TV. We know it was good enough for Hathaway Shirts and Woodbury Soap, but it's not good enough for you -- or for today's consumers.

2. PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM
Your brilliant ad aired to tremendous acclaim as the playoffs began. By the end of the World Series, audiences would rather have seen their team lose than watch that ad again.

3. MICHAEL STARZ ... JAMES PERSE ... OTHER?
Few designers get away with "one size fits all." Few marketers do either. Creative that is forced to the least common denominator makes a shopper feel confused, uninterested or both.

4. SELLING ICE CUBES IN ALASKA
Media buyers love buying air time in advance -- sometimes too far in advance. You lose relevance if you air a winter commercial featuring "hot soup" when the temperature rises above 70.

5. PLAYING CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
The value of dynamic, targeted messaging has already been discovered. Your cousins in print and online media have the maps. Before you set out to conquer the "new world" on your own, perhaps it's time for a family reunion.

6. WHAT ABOUT THE BOY NAMED SUE?
Can there really be 100 boys named Sue in Austin, Texas? Check the data. Let me say that again: Check the data! Make sure demographic information is up to date.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tara Walpert Levy is president of Visible World.
7. RED SOX NATION VS. YANKEE EMPIRE
OK, stop checking the data. These segments have differences, but not in how they buy soap. If you're doing more analysis than NASA does for the space program, chances are you're overdoing it.

8. THE CLOSE TALKER
Don't invade viewers' space. The ability to deliver more-relevant messages in a privacy-protected manner is incredibly exciting. Yelling "pay your damn bill" through the TV set, not so much.

9. ROUND LXVIII: MEDIUM VS. MESSAGE
Strong marketers use at least three times as many unique messages as media segments, and ensure media and creative play for the same team.

10. NO, VIRGINIA, THERE IS NO SANTA CLAUS
Targeted TV campaigns won't take a bad ad and make it good. Not every targeted campaign will outperform the default. But technological solutions, used in the right way, can be magical.

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