Masthead advertising company BrandWorld has added another brand to its stable, with The Extra Mile aiming to attract corporates that have positive tales to tell. And it's got some fairly big names on board to tell them.
“The business behind brands is so critical today," says Mike O’Sullivan, director of BrandWorld. "Companies have realised they have to be part of a community, they have to build a reputation that’s additional to their brands.”
Research from across the world shows if consumers are confronted with two similar brands, at similar cost, they always buy the one they believe comes from the most ethical or trusted company. It’s up to the company to build that reputation through success stories, good leadership, environmental and sustainable initiatives and being recognised as a great place to work, he says.
“The Extra Mile is about communicating that good news. The format allows companies to talk about these things through a third party and reach a wide audience through television.”
BrandWorld, which is one of TVNZ's biggest advertisers, is claiming the initiative is a world first and O’Sullivan says it's been greeted with a lot of interest, but he’s remaining tight-lipped on who the first clients are.
The slot will be hosted by Wallace Chapman, he of Back Benches fame, and it will also draw on the broadcasting talents of TVNZ’s former US correspondent, journalist and novelist Tim Wilson.
As well as the latest addition, there's also Family Health Diary, which has been running for 12 years, Eating Well (seven years), Discover (six years), The Mix (two years) and Smart Choices Everyday, a joint venture with TVNZ, which was launched three years ago, in the BrandWorld family.
And here, as Lesley Springall writes for ThinkTV, is how the whole masthead advertising idea panned out.
People are bombarded by information. Messages fly from the screens and pages of a host of media vying for our attention while we only seem to get busier. That’s why masthead television advertising is so powerful, says Bill Peake, managing director of New Zealand’s only dedicated masthead-advertising company BrandWorld.
The term masthead is borrowed from the print world. Magazines and newspapers have a title, or masthead, and when you hear that masthead you get a fairly good idea of the sort of stories and products you’ll be hearing about, says Mike O’Sullivan, Peake’s BrandWorld business partner and friend for 30 years.
O’Sullivan was the first ad man in New Zealand, if not the world, to create a masthead format. Food in a Minute was directly aimed at time poor people, who wanted simple ideas for a quick and tasty dinner, and the food industry, which was under increasing pressure from the growing takeaway market. Food in a Minute looked and felt more like a mini-programme than an advert, with trusted foodie Allyson Gofton combining several food products for a quick and easy meal.
“It was more about food assembly than from-scratch cooking,” says O’Sullivan. “It solved the time poor problem for consumers and helped marketers sell their food products by giving consumers a quick, easy and tasty idea of what to do with it.”
That’s the key thing about masthead advertising, he says. “It gives people a more compelling reason to buy a brand, now, without reverting to price.”
O’Sullivan took Food in a Minute to Heinz Watties, which loved it so much it bought the whole thing. “It effectively became a format for a client who had many brands and not enough money to market them all.”
With Food in a Minute gone to pastures new, O’Sullivan joined his old pal Peake at BrandWorld. “The same thing was driving both of us: how to make television more effective,” says Peake.
A standard television commercial, if done well, is very effective, but it does a different job to masthead advertising, says O’Sullivan. “Traditional marketing and advertising skills are very brand centric whereas programming skills, which we use for masthead productions, are very consumer centric.
“Masthead advertising is about telling a story. As print editors know, it’s about writing for your reader. It changes your whole perspective of how to create content.”
Using Family Health Diary to build trust and understanding
One of the first masthead ideas BrandWorld developed was Family Health Diary – New Zealand’s first truly multi-client advertising format. The ads are like mini-programmes, where a presenter, or two presenters, introduces a product in an informative manner.
“We were working with a number of healthcare clients and we found that people were confused about a lot of products and what they could do. They just wanted someone to solve their problems so they could get on in life,” says Peake.
Having a third party presenter promotes credibility and trust. Peake and O’Sullivan even admit they have vetoed certain companies from appearing on certain mastheads, such as Eating Well, as they could damage the masthead’s own brand. “That’s what makes mastheads so powerful. They become seen as experts in their own field, offering trusted advice,” says O’Sullivan. “It takes time to build up those reputations so it’s important to us to protect them.”
Pfizer New Zealand Managing Director, Frances Benge, says a number of Pfizer medicines have appeared on Family Health Diary. The third party presenter format is a platform which helps communicate complex information about a disease or illness in a way people can understand. “Talking about effective smoking cessation requires quite a bit of education on how to manage a person’s nicotine addiction, our aim by communicating viaFamily Health Diary is to improve health literacy and knowledge about how our medicines may be able to help.”
But it’s not an either/or television advertising format: the Family Health Diary slot doesn’t negate the need for brand advertising, it just has a different role, says O’Sullivan. “Some ads are more about brand and trying to create that brand personality, whereas Family Health Diary is more about understanding and building up knowledge around the brand itself.”
“Brand advertising traditionally sets out to create brand values. It’s about awareness, image and positioning. While what we set out to do is create brand understanding – we tell consumers more about a brand and show how it relates to them as a person. This amplifies the brand values. The two together are very powerful.”
An affordable way to advertise different but related products
The Mixbrand is carried from the television screen to its own dedicated website to in-store retail stands. Morton says the results have been outstanding.Masthead advertising is also a cheaper way to advertise a number of different, but related products. Michael Morton, marketing manager at Lion, says that was the big appeal of the The Mix – a late night advertising slot which shows people how to make cocktails. “We instantly saw it could do a category job (for Lion’s spirits). On their own these brands don’t have much of a budget, but The Mix allowed these brands to gain massive exposure through television.”
A fast and effective solution
Masthead advertising is also useful if you need to deal with a problem quickly. For example if a grocery brand is in imminent danger of being pulled from supermarket shelves, BrandWorld can turn around a slot on its Eating Well, Check Out or Discover mastheads in a matter of weeks, compared with several months for traditional advertising, because the format is already there and the broadcast slots are already booked, says O’Sullivan.
“That’s why television will never die. It has more eyeballs than ever. It’s where most stories are created. It’s a driver to other media. Research shows 75% of all discussions online are about what people have seen and watched on television.”
But social media is changing BrandWorld’s business. Before everything was created for television, now the company creates video content for all screens, says Peake. All the mastheads are supported by additional online information, their own websites and for Family Health Diary, its own magazine.
Ultimately it is about emotion “There’s only one way to get information into people’s brains: emotion,” says O’Sullivan. “And there are three drivers of emotion: information, entertainment and an empathetic situation. We focus on information and empathy. The rest of the ad industry focuses more on entertainment and less on information – they build brand value; we build brand understanding.”