Editor's Comment: TV's a lively corpse

Noelle McElhatton
Noelle McElhatton

'Did you see what I posted on Facebook last night?' Not much of a conversational gambit, is it, and one that hardly competes with, for example, 'What about the chauffeur in Downton Abbey, eh?'

For all its shiny new clothes, the irony is that, in social contexts, social media plays less well than TV. The sharing of common cultural references is important, because brands seek fame and trust - two things that TV has done well at delivering.

So, it is hardly surprising that, given the opportunity, the medium will attract new brands. This is partly because times are tough and rate-cards soft, but also because TV works as the platform to launch brands into the social space. Either way, if telly is dead, it's a lively corpse.

Many paths to effectiveness

As pragmatists realise, consumers have not been changed so radically by social media that other channels have completely lost their relevance.

Take the insurance market, for example. Success in acquiring customers depends on the timing of your communications, whatever format they take.

Capital One has gone from UK direct mailer-in-chief to digital-centric. So, will the departure of its marketing director Dominic Grounsell for the same role at More Th>n, a brand more famous for its TV and still an advocate of direct mail, herald a change of strategy?

Grounsell once argued that 'as an industry we are obsessed by fads. Let's remember what we're all here to do is reach consumers, wherever they are'. Social media, he said, is 'much more difficult to crack' than direct mail, 'because of the many different layers you have to go through to reach the consumer'.

On this evidence, it seems unlikely that More Th>n will be holding a wake for these two 'unfashionable' media.

Noelle.McElhatton@haymarket.com

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