Great article on advertising in this week’s “Star Tribune”. Well, let me re-phrase that: “A depressingly informative article in this week’s Strib” is what I should have said.

In a nutshell, anyone who’s worked on broadcast media since the turn of the century probably knows much of this stuff intuitively – the production of broadcast advertising has slipped a lot over the past few years. The leading causes? Well, the usual culprits are there: September 11th and the following recession. However, many are of the belief that the actors’ strike of 2000 put quite a dent in the industry, too. In fact, many local union actors, who felt the strike was not in their best interest, still cite that strike as the axe swing that chopped their livelihood.

The other sobering reality that we’ve needed to face is that the time that people spend with media these days is becoming more fragmented and segmented. Therefore, ad dollars that were already short are being spent more cautiously. Many studies are showing that people are co-mingling time with multiple mediums. For example, someone might be watching television while listening to their iPod and surfing the Web. I know, because, well, I’m that kind of ADD.

The answer for many advertisers has been to do guerilla marketing. The BMW Web films come to mind as having been one successful way of getting new and interesting messages out to prospective consumers. The Strib article mentions several other campaigns and ideas that have been successful too – including a job on which I worked for Carmichael Lynch and their client, Porsche.

I spent the better part of a week in Birmingham, Alabama riding shotgun with a professional racecar driver capturing sounds that would go on a CD-ROM that folks could get in the mail. We knitted in a great story line, added music, and finished with some really funky mixing, too. It was interesting work but, as a business owner, I noticed that it was not quite like what happens when you work on a TV or radio campaign – that kind of work can sustain you and your business for a year or even longer. Literally, although jobs like this are quite cool and challenging, they end up being a “one and done” kinda thing.

Here’s a sample of the section where we drove the 911.
(It’s much lower res than I’d like to offer here, but bandwidth can be an issue for some who visit here)

[jwplayer config=”Audio Only” mediaid=”1515″]

One thing that I wanted to share, that is not included in the on-line edition of the Strib article, but was in the print edition, is information related to ad spending on specific media. All categories were down – except for direct mail. However, the only other category that even fared remotely well was radio advertising. In the three year sample covering dollars spent from 2000 to 2003, radio had only dipped about 1%. Amazing. Its amazing because this seems like the medium that so many people in our industry dread producing – yet, it is so cost efficient and effective.

Why is that?

In the coming weeks/months, we’ll offer thoughts and insights on commercial radio production, radio advertising, and the production of alternative media from people whom we know in the industry. (Well, it might take a while to post, I mean, hey, we still have to do the stuff we’re talking about.)

If you work in advertising, media buying, or if you have an insight on radio commercials that you’d like to share, we’d like to hear from you. We’ll edit and share some of the best comments and we’ll keep you anonymous if that is your wish.

* Hocked – To disable by cutting the tendons of the hock; hamstring.

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