Where the F@&! Should My TV Spot Send People?

By Kiran Aditham 

As part of our ongoing series of op-eds from agency folks, we bring you this contribution from Shaun Quigley VP, Interactive Practice Director at Brunner, who says that brands know how to make a strong impression online, but where exactly?

Despite the fact that 40% of America is time-shifting their TV habits, broadcast TV remains the most efficient way to grow or defend a big brand—and for some—initiate a quality engagement on the web.

But for advertisers who are serious about using TV to drive online, the decision about where to engage is tougher than it was a year ago.  Simply sending to the “web” is officially up for debate. And brands, regardless of category, face social scruples on where to direct traffic.

Facebook is killing the corporate website, says AdAge. Toyota drivesKlondike screams, and Old Spice is cleaning up on YouTube. And BestBuy continues to tweet for Twelpforce.

So should spots point to social media or a brand site? Annoyingly, there’s no right answer. The hub-and-spoke model that made sense on PowerPoint ten years ago seems to have fallen apart.

“Spokes are the new hubs,” say the social media boutiques. “Fish where the fish are.”

But will Facebook really kill your brand site?  There are plenty of opinions herehere and here.  But what does it matter, really?

Here’s what we do know:

Audience is paramount.

Where do they participate? How do they behave there? Facebook should no doubt be considered, but should not be the automatic default for every social experience. Challenge your agency partners to conceive ideas that connect with your audience in all relevant media. Not just bought—but also owned, and earned.

Be seen, be heard.

Budget constraints have forced many TV advertisers to reduce spots to fifteen seconds. And as a result, traditional spot writers hesitate to allot any time for a closing voiceover that drives to the web. Fifteen seconds is barely enough time to cram in equity claims, they say. This is a big mistake. Site and sound have more impact. Use both voiceover and super to bring attention to the URL you are promoting.

Get mobile. Quickly.

U.S. mobile Web usage grew 110% last year. There are already 70 million Americans surfing by phone. And by 2013, mobile web usage will be more common than any other form. Does your mobile experience deliver something interesting? Does it even exist?

When they arrive, the old rules still apply.

Ensure that your web experience—social, mobile or otherwise—answers these questions:

1.       Where am I? What is this place?

2.       How do I get around?  (be courteous, and don’t make me wait)

3.       What do you want me to do next?

4.       How can I easily share it?

The days of the brand site as sole engagement vehicle are over (forever).

The web gets more social every day, and brand sites should continue to find ways to harness the viral effects of social. Connect all your properties (give me one reason why not). Set aside an innovation budget to experiment, track and measure new things.  And don’t let the brand site’s content collect cobwebs in the rush to swing the digital budget toward social.

Look at what the leaders have done. Toyota, BestBuy, Old Spice and Klondike all have well–conceived, integrated experiences that go beyond social. How did they decide which to pick for TV?  I’m not sure. But I’m guessing each brand assessed the most valuable way to drive engagement, and simply promoted that.

You can email Shaun at
squigley@brunnerworks.com or @squigster.