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Erwin Ephron Made Advertising What It Is Now & His Advice Still Works

“Before he died, he was railing about the fractionalized media; it would be interesting to hear what he thought in 2021.”

Jeff Caves

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Have you ever looked at a buy you received from an agency and wondered why they buy so little frequency? The classic buy we see in the industry. It’s 15 commercials per week for 6 out of 12 weeks.

It may be the work of one man: Erwin Ephron.

Erwin Ephron

I wrote about Ephron reminding us not to hammer listeners like nails. Ephron is called the Father of Modern Media Planning, and he passed away eight years ago last week. He passed long before the dominance of internet spending for advertising over tv and anything else ( 2 to 1 over tv, in fact). Before he died, he was railing about the fractionalized media; it would be interesting to hear what he thought in 2021. Ephron, who worked in PR for Nielsen, was called a media guru when he introduced his Recency Planning strategy and wrote several articles on media buying from 1992-2005. His point was simple: The last impression to reach a consumer before the point of purchase was more valuable than any other, and that reach, not frequency was king. 

Think more weeks at a lower frequency, he preached. Not great for selling 50 spots a week for a four-week schedule, but better at selling annual schedules. Erwin Ephron did endorse short flights with heavy frequency for new product launches because he reasoned the buyer was willing to overspend for shelf space.

I would rather have an advertiser stay consistent over a more extended period of time than one that comes in and out. We have a better relationship with the consistent buyer and can engage them in more sales opportunities year-round.  

Erwin Ephron preached to national advertisers to buy more local media in specific vital markets to increase the buy weight. Maybe he was the inventor of Key Market funds too. He lectured media planners to do more than buy national network tv and buy more impressions closer to the purchase decision, so radio and in-store were winners. I imagine he would have endorsed mobile media and search engine marketing to a large degree as well.

His point about what gets a consumer into the market to purchase is worth reciting to clients. Ephron felt that, for example, if our car lease were expiring, that would trigger us to buy a new car on average- not ads that convince us to buy a new vehicle with increased connectivity. So, he figured, one exposure to a car dealer’s ad to car buyers whose lease was up was more effective than reaching three buyers who were not in the market and would tune the ad out anyway. And when radio owners complained that their share of media dollars would shrink because of a reduced frequency per station, Ephron explained that not getting bought at all was way more costly.

I think it serves us well to approach our 2022 annual buyers with this kind of strategy and encourage them to do the following:

  • Buy more weeks at a lower frequency
  • Buy Monday – Sunday 6 am-12mid
  • Buy more stations in our cluster with a similar demo.

Since we never know when a person is ready to buy, it makes sense to be more consistent throughout the year. And, for listeners/consumers, it’s better to be the hammer than the nail. 

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Is Realistic For FOX at the World Cup?

Demetri Ravanos

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On this special holiday edition of Media Noise, Demetri Ravanos dives into the controversy and criticism surrounding FOX’s coverage of the World Cup in Qatar.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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