We need ad funded programming to work
JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS THE FOUR-PART CELEBRITY CYCLING SERIES, TOUR DE CELEB, CAME TO AN END. SMASHING C5’S TARGET RATINGS FOR ABC1S AND 16-34S WAS A GREAT RESULT. THIS WAS, AFTER ALL, AN AFP.| February 20th, 2017
The advertiser in question was Skoda in a show that underlined its heritage in, and ongoing focus on, cycling.
Many in the industry have turned their backs on ad-funded programming, frustrated by the complex processes, lack of commissioning guarantees and questionable delivery against hard business metrics. Add to this the legitimate concerns that overt product placement compromises viewer experience, and you can understand the reluctance of many brands to get involved.
But it’s surely a model that can still work when done right. And I think that Tour de Celeb is evidence of that. This was good telly.
Not only can the AFP model work, frankly we urgently need to create the conditions in which it works more often.
Everyone knows that the ways and means with which we’ll be delivering brand messages to audiences in the future will be different to now. Although TV spots still deliver big numbers and can have a measurable and immediate impact on a client’s business, for years most industry people have agreed there needs to be a shift towards brand content that people are more likely to choose to watch than be interrupted by. This is especially the case when you consider how many opportunities audiences have to avoid traditional advertising.
As such it’s completely counter intuitive to reject ad funded programming because it’s too hard or because it’s failed in the past.
It’s also wrong to treat it as a completely siloed part of a comms plan. Concerns about a lack of tangible business impact will be lessened once it’s activated brilliantly and measured as one part of a whole campaign.
We need an industry-wide push towards making AFPs better and more accessible. Commissioning teams and commercial teams need to embrace a more joined up approach. If, and I mean only if, ad funded content is good enough, commissioners need to consider opening up their schedules more. And of course we need more published benchmarks on which to measure success.
Let’s consider also that the creative industries are being squeezed more fiercely than ever and I think brands should be focusing on helping produce quality creative content that wouldn’t otherwise get off the ground were it not for the brand’s investment. This is one way that brands can really make a difference and show true value to the audiences they are trying to attract.
Follow @weareMBA on Twitter for more news and information on the work we do