Media Neutrality and Ad Avoidance – ‘A local shop for local people’

I started working in advertising in the early noughties. Back then the world of media was a very different landscape. There were a plethora of local papers covering every inch of the UK the same could be said for radio and TV did not have the technology to pause and invariably fast forward through adverts not to mention the advent of subscription services such as Netflix which are totally ad free. Back in those halcyon days reaching the right audience for your client was like shooting fish in a barrel. Of course our recommendations were always supported by research but we almost always instinctively knew which media would achieve the best results for our client’s.

The effects of the recession have had irreparable damage on the world of media. The ad to content ratio in most media is so far out of kilter that consumers are switching off their local radio station and where there is still one prevalent barely reading their ‘local’ newspaper. Where I live we used to receive a free weekly local newspaper which reported on local news. This reminds me of the League of Gentlemen

We still receive a ‘local’ newspaper but unfortunately this only carries a handful of truly local news stories the rest is from further a-field. I don’t envy the job of local newspaper journalists now. Less than 20 years ago we had an office in our town for our local newspaper journalists lived in the area and were passionate about reporting local news. So where do you turn to find out what is really happening in your local area?

For me personally it’s the internet, there are several local online outlets within my local area. But in the main these new media offerings are not run by professional journalists but anyone who has bought a URL specific to the area in question. I’ve had many a heated conversation with the ‘editors’ of these publications who will not accept a press release because they ‘don’t work for free’. Whilst I have sympathy for these local entrepreneur’s news should be treated as just that. Not news for the highest bidder. These local websites and to a certain extent magazines are not regulated in the same way that traditional media is so anyone can create their own outlet. I sometimes question the motivation of such publications do they really want to deliver the best news for our area?

The problem with our now fragmented media is the lack of sense of community. With our inability to unite people through media comes the lack of ability to support the local community. A new business opening, charitable cause or local event is increasingly difficult to promote. Advertisers and PR consultants need to work extra hard to reach their audience and in many cases are operating on smaller budgets. Is it any wonder so many local businesses struggle to thrive? Once again I look to Singapore they still have one main English language paper the Straits Times/Sunday Times with a daily average circulation of 393,000 you can ensure that your advert is reaching 8% of the population. This is all the more impressive when you take into account that “English is the native language of 32% of Singaporeans…” (Source). 

I was delighted when Jazz FM returned to the airwaves last year the ad to content ratio is spot on and I’ve found the adverts to be informative like the recent campaign by the FSA something I’m genuinely interested in. That’s the beauty of well-planned media selections. If you take the time to investigate the correct media outlet for your audience, you can still achieve sensational results.

At Icon Marketing Communications we offer media neutral, tailored solutions to help our client’s realise their objectives. Yes, the task is much harder but not impossible. Recommendations are developed based on clients’ goals, research and of cause budgets. Although the media landscape can at times seem bleak there are still many ways to reach out to your target audience. If you would like to talk about realising your objectives feel free to get in touch. kiesha@iconmarketingcommunications.co.uk or 01625 533102.