Old Media Retain Ad Clout

NEW YORK While mobile devices, DVRs, videogames and other emerging media channels have gained attention for their potential as marketing vehicles, a new survey from WPP Group’s Kantar Media Research and Pointlogic concludes that new media have a long way to go in terms of delivering effective advertising.

The survey asked consumers about the communication values of 33 channels, and found that mainstream media—specifically TV, print and radio—perform best among all the investment options open to advertisers.

“Consumers recognize TV as the No. 1 medium for building awareness,” the survey reported, indicating that 43 percent of those polled rate it as excellent or very good at doing so. Other traditional media outlets, including magazines (31 percent), newspapers (29 percent) and radio (24 percent) also performed well on the awareness-building front.

In helping consumers decide whether they can trust a brand, TV was first again with 26 percent, followed by newspapers (21 percent) and magazines (19 percent).

The newest media—videogames, video-on-demand, interactive TV and streaming video—are currently regarded by consumers as being niche communication vehicles, per the survey. Their scores for trustworthiness and capacity to build awareness ranged between 2 percent and 5 percent.

Respondents also said that traditional media continue to have the most potential for conveying a brand’s quality, with 42 percent saying that product samples were best suited to doing so, followed by price promotions (27 percent), public relations (24 percent), television (20 percent) and in-store advertising (17 percent).

Not surprisingly, new media outlets scored higher marks among those who use them. For example, the survey found that 18 percent of users of interactive TV consider it effective at conveying trust; 12 percent of video game users rate it highly for driving awareness. However, their usage levels are still small relative to traditional media.

“Traditional media must therefore still be regarded as the cornerstone for brand advertising,” the survey concluded. “They deliver large audiences and they deliver impact. Newer media can help in extending a campaign planned in traditional media, but their low reach means that few brands can rely on them uniquely.”

Other recent studies also caution that, headlines notwithstanding, many new media applications have a ways to go before being fully embraced by consumers. Initiative’s latest InVision study of emerging media, released in July, showed that consumers have mixed feelings about ads that appear in games and social networking sites.

The study revealed that just 5 percent of mobile device owners use their handhelds to view video clips. And only 18 percent of those surveyed use them to check e-mail, access the Internet or download games. Those numbers are up just slightly from a year ago, when a similar Initiative study showed that 16 percent had downloaded a game and 15 percent browsed the Internet or checked e-mail.

“I’m surprised by the slow growth of mobile applications,” said Josh Sarpen, manager of Initiative Insight & Futures. Despite aggressive promotion from virtually all carriers, he said, the study suggests that many of the features promoted in the marketing campaigns of carriers “have not come close to mainstream mass.”