Social media bringing TV ad budgets onto the web

By September 19, 2011Advertising, Facebook

Over the weekend I saw the Smirnoff ad below on TV (or at least one very similar to it).  It is remarkable because it is 100% focused on promoting engagement with the Smirnoff brand rather than selling the underlying products, and because the call to action is to go to their Facebook page and join in their global nightlife exchange.  This is a good, and still relatively rare, example of a large company shifting priority from selling product to building engagement with the brand to promote advocacy.  I think the best brands will now start to move decisively in this direction, to the extent they are not already.

Then this morning I read Tim Bradshaw’s article in the FT about Facebook and Diageo striking an advertising deal (Diageo owns Smirnoff), which contained the following interesting points:

  1. Diageo have been successfully experimenting on Facebook for a year and are now ramping up their spend with a $10m deal.  They have tracked the impact of campaigns on offline purchases and seen increases of up to 20% for Smirnoff and Baileys.
  2. In the last year Diageo has increased its digital marketing budget by 50% to just under 20% of total media spend.

For the eleven years I have been investing in adtech we have been looking for the catalyst that will entice FMCG brands to start bringing their TV ad budgets online.  This is pretty compelling evidence that social media engagement is that catalyst.  The interesting thing now will be to watch how it scales.

Note that this development is also part of the transition from bought media to earned media.  Smirnoff is getting its customers to do the talking by offering them cool nightlife opportunities, and it is working  – just take a look at their Facebook page.

Smirnoff – Nightlife Exchange from Rockbarn Media on Vimeo.

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  • TV companies are beginning to view Facebook as a competitor, not a partner. If a TV company builds a major brand (say Downton Abbey) that generates a lot of likes on Facebook, then advertisers can pay Facebook to advertise against that audience. The TV company invested in the IP, took the risk, but Facebook got the reward.
    I’m not sure I see how this ends, since Facebook has the audience. But the idea that Facebook is now viewed as a threat to other content creators, not a distribution channel, is one that has many implications.

  • Interesting. In Facebook’s favour is not only that they have an audience, but also that they have no viable competitor. There is no other credible alternative for the official Downton Abbey social media presence, and they need a presence. Maybe they will start cutting deals which give FB extra content in return for a fee/rev share.
    Note also that the sense of competition will only increase if the broadcasters start feeling that their ad rates are dropping as TV campaigns are complimented with spend on Facebook (like Smirnoff are doing).

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