Hyper-local is the new black
Part of the appeal of online video is the ability to
hyper-target , that is , the ability to pinpoint media and
commercial messaging within a narrow catchment area. In Blacksburg,
Va., for example, there are 30,000 students residing at Virginia
Tech. The Obama campaign's Hulu buys targeted the schools' zip code
with "Gotta Vote" spots to encourage students to register and turn
Broadcast advertising, too, was tailored to local issues. In
Ohio, Mr. Obama's campaign targeted blue-collar women by promoting
its track record on jobs, whereas in Florida, the Romney campaign
sought Cuban-American voters with hard-hitting TV commercials
claiming Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez supported Mr. Obama's
policies. We saw local radio play a role, too, in this
Are we as marketers really taking opportunity of localizing our
media and messaging? Despite a lot of talk about targeting, many
marketers still emphasize efficiency in spending over relevance to
different customer segments and markets.
Adaptive marketing is rising
I've written previously about adaptive marketing, but
both candidates just demonstrated its value again as they reacted
to voter polls and feedback in nearly real time. And although all
marketers listen to consumer responses, it was the speed and
consistency with which both the Romney and Obama campaigns were
able to respond that impressed me.
On multiple occasions we saw Mr. Romney test a message or
storyline in a campaign rally speech. If it got a reaction from the
audience, video spots would quickly follow online. If there was
strong response online or pickup by cable news networks, the ads
would appear on broadcast TV ... all within a matter of days, often
adjusting further as the campaign progressed.
Adaptive marketing doesn't always require massive spending and
machinery, either. Both candidates also expertly tapped into their
advocates to push out tweets during the debates to reinforce key
punctuation points to the base or counter comments by their
Long-form content can persuade
A good showing in the first debate jolted Mr. Romney out of the
doldrums and into contention. While he didn't win in the end, he
closed the gap sharply. Brands, for their part, don't have to win
an election; all they need to do is improve market share. What can
be learnt from this? First, all brands have the opportunity to
re-invent -- or at least drive re-consideration -- and it can
happen quickly if done well. Second, long-form branded video
content is a medium that is underused. Sure, the mass reach of a
presidential debate and the subsequent news coverage isn't
available to brands. But deeper content outside of ad units can
Negative ads are a negative
Negative advertising was a feature of both candidates'
campaigns, subjecting each candidate's brand to a beating.
According to the Wesleyan Media Project, negative ads between June
and October accounted for 62.9% of spots, compared to 39.7% in 2008. I
suspect that turned off voters and contributed to the apparent
decline in voter turnout from 2008. I hope we don't see this as a
trend for brands in 2013.
Presidential elections are not just a boost to the coffers of
the media companies, but serve as a benchmark for brands. For me,
the next election can't come soon enough.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Antony Young is CEO
of Mindshare North
America, a WPP strategy and media investment agency. He recently
authored Brand Media Strategy a Palgrave MacMillan and Advertising
Age publication offering strategies for communications planning in
the Google and Facebook era.