If the Christmas period is crucial for your business, start your research and planning now to secure inventory.
We already know that this year’s Q4 will be an anomaly. Even more cluttered. Even more expensive. The Christmas period falls together with the World Cup this year running from 21 November – 18 December.
Usually, September until December is by far the most expensive period in TV anyway, let alone when the World Cup falls also into that period.
Commercial TV’s marketing body Thinkbox has already urged brands to start planning their TV campaigns back in November last year.
The fight for attention will be a tough fight this year. And an interesting one from a messaging point of view.
Sure, there will be high reach around these events on TV. But, as a small brand with very limited budgets, what do you do? Do you enter that fight in the crowd, or do you avoid it and be louder in other periods relevant to you?
It is similar to the question if you should be focusing all your efforts on Veganuary when there is a full year to be smart with your messaging and getting buyers to come and stay beyond just that hyped period.
Do you need to advertise around Christmas and the World Cup?
Of course, a lot of businesses rely heavily on the Christmas period to make their chunk of their yearly revenue. No doubt this will be tough this year and early planning has to happen.
There a two big questions to ask yourself when making a plan.
How relevant is Christmas to my product and my sales across the whole year?
Is the World Cup relevant to me? Do I have cultural permission to advertise in and around the World Cup?
If the answer is no, do you want to be in such a cluttered place? Is the effort and the increased costs worth being in there?
You can get so much more for your money during other times of the year. Find ways to be even louder and more visible outside of that period if you can. The big ones will be out there and will eat up space and grab attention.
If the answer is yes to one or both questions, there are a few options to consider.
Think about channel choice and phasing
What is the message that delivers the link and gives relevancy to one of these events? To gain awareness driving attention is key. What is it you can say and get across that grabs attention in all that clutter and that delivers against your brand promise in a credible way?
Think about the channels carefully. Do you need to be in TV when prices will go through the roof and big brands are shouting right, left and centre with their multimillion pound budgets buying themselves the scarce space?
It has always been a smart strategy to avoid when and where the majority of competitors are out to then grab the attention outside of that period and place.
Channel choice can be that option for you. Are there channels where there might be less clutter due to the nature of the channels and its advertising options and formats? Go and be loud in that channel during this period.
If TV cannot be avoided, look at smart ways to find placements with high reach in your category, placements that allow for less clutter with other advertisers but give you a strong link to your brand.
Sponsorships of formats that have a natural strong fit with your product and target audience can be one way to grab attention via contextual ads and messaging and don’t require a multimillion pound budget.
Thanks to the time difference between the UK and Qatar, live matches are now scheduled across the day starting at 10 in the morning, followed by two afternoon slots and the latest one being at 7pm GMT.
Look at certain daytimes that might be more relevant and outside the more expensive prime time.
Also look outside of the days and times of live matches if buying ad space inside these live matches are out of the question and you want to reach World Cup viewers.
And look at phasing. Is there value in starting earlier than the usual messaging around Christmas and World Cup core periods by linking to these events close enough to them but avoid being drowned out on TV?
Phasing different channels can help you being present for a longer period and orchestrating channels based on availability, pricing and clutter can help find a smart way to link to these events.
One thing is certain. Early planning and buying is crucial to secure media inventory.
With Spring just beginning it might seem that there is plenty of time left. But don’t put it off.
The important thing is – if this period is crucial for your business – make a plan now. Do your research now. Speak to media vendors about inventory, options, formats etc now to make a decision and start buying and securing inventory already.
This article has been kindly published by The Media Leader on 19th April 2022,