We live in a digital world and there is no doubt it has turbocharged the public relations agency business. But if the Internet was the best and only way to communicate, brand management would have long ago abandoned television advertising.
It’s true that in 2017, for the first time, digital ad spending outpaced TV ad spending worldwide $209 billion to $178 billion, according to Magna, the research arm of media buying firm IPG Mediabrands. Nevertheless, NBC was able to command $5 million for a 30-second spot during this year’s Super Bowl, and the network sold out the game’s inventory.
Likewise, major brands are all over popular network and cable television programs despite DVRs. And local market TV stations have been reaping big advertising profits since the end of the Great Recession.
Thus, in the minds of brand managers, television has a vital role to play in their marketing mix. If they thought it wasn’t helping drive sales, they certainly wouldn’t spend the kind of money they do on TV advertising.
If brand management values the television medium as an important way to reach target audiences, it stands to reason that television publicity should figure prominently in the complementary programs PR agency professionals develop and execute for their clients. That’s not always the case, however, as many of those same pros grew up in the digital age and may regard television as old school even if their clients don’t.
There are many ways to include television in PR campaigns, from in-studio interviews to B-roll to satellite media tours, but to generate results that will matter to clients, these need to be well thought out, targeted and re-purposed across all available digital platforms.
We recently worked with a major sporting goods retailer, which retained an A-list celebrity with a compelling back story. First, we distributed branded video shot behind the scenes at the making of the commercial to network entertainment and sports TV media, where it aired repeatedly. Network news feed services also provided branded footage to their local market affiliates. Meantime, we offered the video to relevant major and secondary web sites, bloggers, and other digital platforms. The clicks and shares ensured the video went viral.
All of this happened before the commercial actually aired, but by the time it did, there was considerable Internet buzz and additional interest from digital media that missed the video the first time around. In addition, the agency made sure the clients presented the video on its internal digital platforms so the brand’s stakeholders could enjoy the campaign’s success.
That’s just one way to use TV to close the marketing loop, and there are many others. It’s also the best way to demonstrate you understand how important television is to your clients. You don’t necessarily need celebrities or even breaking news to interest television editorial decision makers. You just need to tell a good visual story because their hunger for video content never subsides.
Kevin Foley is founder and CEO of KEF Media, an Atlanta-based provider of broadcast and digital services.