Last year I got some press for my contrarian views on media buys that focus on the Super Bowl and Academy Awards.
My view is that this is almost always a vanity play — often on the part of both advertiser and agency. I guess ego is as good a reason as any to follow a particular strategy . . . unless you have a good faith responsibility to do your best to bring in a profit for your company. Stakeholders like your employees might prefer that you put that wasted ad spend toward salaries and bonuses. Stockholders might like a growing bottom line better than viewing thirty seconds of glory on Oscar night.
Here's another reason. In yesterday's Wall Street Journal, they stated the obvious. The Oscars might not happen at all this year due to Hollywood's writers' strike. Many agencies create special commercials just for the Academy Awards, in order to make a big splash.
You may argue that stuff like this happens rarely and it's certainly not predictable. True enough. But, while a specific disaster can't be predicted, Murphy's Law says something is bound to go wrong sooner or later. Hurricanes come each spring. Summer brings tornadoes. Winter has its blizzards. And — possibly worst of all — 2008 is a presidential election year. I guarantee that people will get distracted.
That's why putting all of your eggs (or even most of them) in one fragile basket is usually a bad idea.
When we create marketing campaigns, we always spread the risk as much as possible. Every program involves tests, in case our control campaign doesn't work for some reason. We spread out the campaign over time so that if the whole country is completely focused on Britney Spears' custody issues for a day, it only makes a small dent in our ROI.
Mitigating risk is just one of the many things we consider when we're strategizing — and why we won't be buying any time for Oscar night.