The TV upfronts are pegged to sales metrics that are less relevant than they were a decade ago and this year’s coronavirus situation is a great opportunity to effect change, Matt VanDyke, Ford Motor Co.’s director of U.S. marketing, said during a marketers roundtable during Ad Age’s two-day TV Pivot livestreaming event.
TV upfronts need to be revamped, says Ford exec: Ad Age TV Pivot
“Adults 25-to-54 is not the future, and for a business like us where less than half of all adults buy a new vehicle in their lifetime, targeting and precision marketing is crucial,” said VanDyke.
“The auto category is responsible for why the upfront takes place in the spring and culminates in the fall—when new programming starts with when new cars used to go on sale.” But for VanDyke, that schedule represents an old way of thinking, and he’s advocating for the upfronts to switch to a calendar-year basis that better aligns with contemporary marketing practices.
Investing in cross-platform measurement and improving the legacy holdovers that define the upfronts are two changes that VanDyke hopes can be accelerated, given the forced change of format to this year’s events. By 2021, he hopes the upfronts will be more fluid to reflect advertisers’ goals.
After all, he added, “New vehicles are launched every month of the year.”