MARKETING MIX: SOAP BOX - Differing media species are still evolving breeds

I suppose it’s a comforting thought being categorised. It saves an awful lot of heart searching. So which type of media species am I?

I suppose it’s a comforting thought being categorised. It saves an

awful lot of heart searching. So which type of media species am I?

Cynic? Ambivalent? Enthusiast? Acquiescent? Such are the revelations of

a new report conducted by CIA MediaLab.

After 18 months of research into consumer attitudes toward advertising

and marketing, the report concludes that more than half the population

has a negative reaction. And it’s labelled as bad news for us


To add further intrigue, apparently each media species has its distinct

dislikes. Take the Acquiescents, for instance. While being labelled as

approving of most marketing communications, they particularly abhor

direct mail and newspaper ads. Against the Cynic, who brands TV

advertising as brainwashing, comes the Ambivalent who is largely

indifferent to most forms of communication.

The Enthusiasts form the largest group. Yet don’t be deceived, this is

not our saving grace. The Enthusiasts are without any strong


To them the whole caboose is pure entertainment.

But how did the big boys make it (sorry girls), if as the report

suggests, the ad world has no real penetration value?

Surely it’s today’s fast-lane advertising and marketing that has enabled

Richard Branson to make the Virgin brand powerful enough to sell any

product from cola to pensions. Indeed, where would The Spice Girls be

without all that hype and brilliant marketing? What about the current

Cable & Wireless campaign? By capitalising on the subliminal message and

generating awareness nationwide, it has slammed ’Mercury’ into


How about some of the slogans from the salad days of advertising, such

as ’A Mars a Day’, ’Beanz Meanz Heinz’ and ’Don’t Forget the Fruit Gums

Mum’? These still echo down the decades to remind aspiring execs that

the power of effective advertising is unmistakable.

Without advertising, the consumer would have to pay subscriptions for

all broadcast media, as with the BBC. That should send a few of those

’Cynics’ scurrying for shelter. Big brands are now heavily into direct

and response marketing using DRTV as a means to profiling their customer

base. The return on investment suggests they know their specialised

audience, Cynics or otherwise, very well.

The consumer only dislikes ad and marketing campaigns that are


Advertising should be engaging or entertaining and allow the consumer to

make choices. It only fails if it achieves none of these objectives.

Equally, many of us are extremely happy when an envelope falls on the

mat containing pertinent and interesting material because our own lives

are too busy to research and explore the alternative products available

to us. Cynic? Ambivalent? Acquiescent? Enthusiast? I think, like many of

us, I can be any one of those types at any given time. Lucky for us

marketers, eh?

Ed Bassett is sales and marketing director of Interactive Telephone



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