Opinion: Are marketers too stubborn to give up TV?

The sky-high rates for advertising slots on TVB has highlighted a complicated case of market failure (read more on that here).

On the one hand, you have very little supply of advertising slots and on the other, demand doesn't seem to be dying down any time soon. The number of advertisers willing to pay for a World Cup package and use bonus money at the expense of others have maxed out.

So why are marketers so fond of TV advertising to further their campaigns? Particularly in the face of audience fragmentation, massive mobile usage and time spent on social media that continues to grow.

One of the most compelling arguments for TV is reach - there seems to be no better way of reaching the masses.

There is a TV screen in most domestic households and in Hong Kong, there are four TV channels that offer TV shows free-of-charge run by two operators - TVB Jade and Pearl, and ATV and ATV World.

Among those, marketers are particularly inclined to place ads on TVB Jade because it is the most popular Cantonese TV channel in the city - the sheer amount of people who watch its shows makes it worth the investment.

ATV is not considered part of the advertising picture in Hong Kong - there are more adverts for the TV stations' own shows than for brands.

But this is all part of the Old World of traditional advertising where you cast out a net and see how many customers you can catch in the process. The contemporary world of marketing and advertising calls for targeted campaigns, often driven by data, that make an impression on customers who are genuinely interested in your product without throwing ads in their face.

Reaching several thousand consumers who are going to be interested in your brand and product is far more effective than reaching hundreds of thousands of consumers who will just take one look at your TVC and shrug.

The new world of marketing and advertising calls for a paradigm shift towards using native adverts, sponsored content and user engagement campaigns that promote a brand or a product but not in the form of intrusive and hard-sell advertising.

The reluctance to go beyond traditional media like TV probably has its roots in a fear of risk-taking because the relationship between digital and newer forms of advertising and ROI is not clear-cut and definitely not tried and tested.

The experiment lies in the execution - if you can create an advertising mix with a good dash of refreshing creativity that makes an impression on customers who matter, it will beat a TVC that you spent millions of dollars producing in the ROI rat race.

And if enough people relate to your campaign, such as a hilarious micro film or a digital marketing gimmick that makes everyone reach for their mobile phones to take part, it could even go viral, going above and beyond the kind of reach you would be limited to on TV.

[Image]: Official TVB Facebook Page