The Narrowcasting Dichotomy

Media is produced globally. Because of the cost of producing content, major brands and organisations are keen to reuse their creative messages around the world. This is why you see those cheesy overdubbed ads from Germany and those nauseating ads from the US on British TV. Once upon a time it should not have been acceptable in the UK, but it seems to becoming the norm.

Now, I remember working with creative guru TrevorBeattie when he was the creative head at TBWA and his argument was simple – ideas that travel. That is, a good idea should appeal to any consumer, of any wealth anywhere. You can take Ferrari as an example. If you’re a billionaire you covet a Ferrari and if you’re penniless and shoeless you also covet one. (Let’s not get into the moral argument for now..).

But this does not mean that you don’t have to adapt the idea to local markets and local languages. When Jif became Zif it lost major market share, when Marathon became Snickers, it fared even worse. But the idea of a bleach cleaner and peanut toffee chocolate product have global appeal.

Meantime, in mediabuyingland, media budgets are horrifyingly  local. If you advertise on a website in the UK and 10% of the viewers come from outside the UK (with an ad that’s dubbed from Swahili), then you huff and puff and demand 10% rebate on the media.

I’ve yet to hear anyone demand a rebate for producing idiotic localised content based on internationalised ideas.

So, here lies the crux. Advertisers use all kinds of science in their art, but they are stupid beyond belief. They think that impact overcomes message. This is the equivalent of an Englishman shouting at a foreigner so that they better understand his language.

We’re trying to apply Ford Model T philosophy to an affluent, Tiffany world.

Media is no different. If I have the money, why can’t I see what I want to see when I want to see it?  And why isn’t this hugely valuable to an advertiser?

The value of an audience of one is hugely underappreciated.