Home  › Media › Media Planning

Upfront About the Absurd

  |  February 24, 2004   |  Comments

Mardi Gras is great preparation for an interactive media buyer poised to penetrate the upfront.

Many who know me consider me something of a redneck. My colleagues like to be schmoozed by sales reps. A nice night out on the town includes a gourmet dinner and a fine bottle of wine. I like down-to-earth stuff. I drink beer from a can. I walk in the woods scaring up deer with my wife and dog. I spend time with people who enjoy the same things I do. So I sometimes find myself in places others would consider ridiculous. Last weekend, my wife and I attended the Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake, in Walker, Minnesota.

The Eelpout Festival is our Valentine's Day tradition. It's basically a Mardi Gras-like festival disguised as an ice fishing contest. We always run into many of the same drunken people who, year after year, crank up the level of absurdity.

We witnessed a motorized toilet (driver with pants around his ankles); people swigging schnapps from an actual eelpout (pics are on the site); swimmers in a pool (it was -5 degrees); and completely naked strollers on the main thoroughfare, save for winter boots.

You're thinking, "This is a media column. Where's he going with this?" (I'm sure that's what my editor is thinking.)

Well, I'm going to the upfront, my friends. It's media professionals' very own version of the bizarre and ridiculous. The annual event allows people drunk on their own egos to achieve a level of preposterousness rivaled only by the previous year's proceedings.

We've witnessed the same players come back to the table to display media versions of motorized toilets and fish-filtered liquor. We've seen (and will continue to see) eroding network audiences and lackluster programming. Increasingly, advertisers are asked to accept low-budget, cookie-cutter programming at increasing costs.

Pardon me, but it should not work that way! I digress. I'll try to stay on topic: interactive media.

We've begun thinking about the upfront lately. It's not exactly right around the corner, but an interactive media company's participation requires considerable more thought than that of a traditional TV buying shop. This is driven by several reasons, such as:

  • Opportunities to bundle the Web into the upfront evolve all the time. For example, the sports category seems rapidly maturing following the introduction of ESPN Motion. Opportunities are growing across many more categories, although in some cases it requires agency interest and suggestion to get such opportunities on the upfront table. In short, we need to do our homework.

  • We must gain client buy-in to pursue interactive opportunities within the upfront context. There's no shortage of clients out there who covet TV schedules and are highly reluctant to fragment the budget by including other media. Asking these people to allocate a slice of the pie to secure complimentary interactive media can be quite a chore. You may want to start making overtures now.

  • Coordination across different areas (or companies) to bring off- and online buying expertise together is no small task. There must be a clear prioritization and understanding of the goals for the interactive component. Ditto an agreed method for valuation. If a list of wants and needs is generated, then left to be stewarded by someone who may not fully grasp certain elements, the result can fall flat. You may want to plant the seeds now.

Preparation over the coming weeks by folks like us could drive some very interesting interactive opportunities and outcomes at this year's upfront. We should be able to count on the usual players showing up with their bizarre, two-story fish houses (or outhouses, for that matter) and Mardi Gras beads for all. We should stand in the midst of it all with a sense of enjoyment and astonishment, and come away with a sense of achievement. Not for simply having participated in the upfront, but for having shown up, contributed to the craziness, and inspired desire to raise the stakes for next year.

ClickZ Live San Francisco This Year's Premier Digital Marketing Event is #CZLSF
ClickZ Live San Francisco (Aug 11-14) brings together the industry's leading practitioners and marketing strategists to deliver 4 days of educational sessions and training workshops. From Data-Driven Marketing to Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email, this year's comprehensive agenda will help you maximize your marketing efforts and ROI. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Redetzke Mark Redetzke is vice president of online media for Zentropy Partners, a unit of MRM (McCann Relationship Marketing). He's led Zentropy's Minneapolis online media department since 1999, where he develops integrated online contact strategies and oversees all planning and buying. Current clients include Nestle Purina, General Mills, H&R Block, Microsoft, Overture and Sprint. Earlier, Mark planned traditional and online media for Campbell-Mithun. He's a frequent guest lecturer at conferences and graduate advertising and communications courses at St. Thomas University; the University of Minnesota; Minneapolis School of Communication Arts & Design and the 4A's.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Media newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Internet Marketing Campaign Manager
      Internet Marketing Campaign Manager (Straight North, LLC) - Fort MillWe are looking for a talented Internet Marketing Campaign Manager to join the...
    • Online Marketing Coordinator
      Online Marketing Coordinator (NewMarket Health) - BaltimoreWant to learn marketing from the best minds in the business? NewMarket Health, a subsidiary...
    • Call Center Manager
      Call Center Manager (Common Sense Publishing) - Delray BeachWanted: Dynamic Call Center Manager with a Proven Track Record of Improving Response...