How a persistent chatty man invading the ad break adds so much value

By Max Willey

This presentation was originally presented at the 2016 Media Research Group Conference in Warsaw. Click here to download the full presentation.

How can you get the most out of your campaign spend?

Earned media is one way in which brands can amplify the effects of their campaigns.  But can we measure the role earned media plays and how brands can best use it?

With these questions in mind, Channel 4 asked BDRC to research the impact of their Comedy Gala ad break takeover, where commercials were hijacked by Alan Carr.

BDRC surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1000 people in the two to ten days following the TV airing of the adverts.  We measured, amongst other things, the reach of the adverts and people’s reactions to them.

From this we have formed three golden rules for earned media advertising.

The benefits of earned media

In the case of these adverts the TV broadcast drove an additional 55% reach through sources other than the programme itself primarily through social media.

Chatty man chart

The quarter million views from earned media also enhanced the positive perception viewers had gained from the paid advertising.  Adverts shared on social media have been endorsed by friends or found by people actively searching for it (meaning they are automatically predisposed).  This lends your content serious go faster stripes.

Golden Rule One: Pair with a Strong Paid Platform

Earned media isn’t necessarily going to thrive on its own.  A strong paid platform (in this case Channel 4) was vital to the ads being seen and going viral.  Importantly, the adverts were a good fit for the paid platform they were initially being aired on, targeting the right demographics.

Golden Rule Two: Have Great Content

Brands should start with great content that people want to share. The stand out nature and humour of these ads was particularly important.  Our research showed that 77% found the ads unique and 75% found them funny.

Golden Rule Three: Encourage Buzz

The advert was also helped by the Channel 4’s willingness to embrace social media.  Social media elements were integrated right from the off with hashtags made prominent. The adverts also incorporated a voting mechanism, which an impressive 78% of our respondents were aware of.

In conclusion

If done right, earned media allows brands to achieve a bigger impact from paid media, for no additional cost. As with a lot of social media there is no secret recipe for success but we found that a strong paid platform, great content and encouraging social media buzz are essential elements.

You can see more of our research and get a better view of Alan Carr’s 'bits' by downloading the presentation.

Our Media team are market leaders in advertising research and are nominated for the Research Agency Team of the Year at the Mediatel - Media Research Awards. If you want to find out how we can help you get the most out of future advertising spend please drop me a line.

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