A new kind of campaign
In a new definition of a publicity stunt, Channel 4 and Honda have turned to a team of
skydivers to tackle the problem of viewers tuning out of traditional television advertising.
On Thursday night, the broadcaster was due to devote an entire 3 minute 20 second break in
the middle of Come Dine With Me, its dinner party programme, to a live skydiving jump in which
19 stuntmen spelt out the carmaker’s brand name. Described as the first live advertisement in
modem times, the campaign is the latest attempt by advertisers and broadcasters to find alternatives
to the 30-second spot.
The development of digital video recorders such as Sky+ and Tivo, which allow ads to be
skipped, has forced advertising agencies and channels’ sales teams to collaborate on more
innovative attempts to keep the viewer’s attention. ‘We wanted to create something unmissable,’
said Andy Barnes, the broadcaster’s Sales Director. This concept breaks the boundaries of TV
advertising,’ he added, highlighting a Channel 4 campaign called ‘innovating the i ak’.
The campaign follows initiatives such as LG’s ‘Scarlet’ campaign, in which the television
manufacturer ran advertisements appearing to trail a glamorous new television show, which turned
out to be a promotion for the design features of its ‘hot new series’ of screens.
Thursday night’s live advertisement, while designed to demonstrate the power of television
advertising, was backed up by a complex multimedia and public-relations campaign.
The campaign’s developers including Channel 4’s in-house creative team, Wieden +
Kennedy, Starcom, Collective and Hicklin Slade & Partners – spent more so than a month pushing
the Honda slogan of ‘difficult is worth doing’ before Thursday night’s slot.
A poster campaign, a series of television ‘teaser advertisements and a website have been
backed up by digital advertising and press coverage. All are building up to a traditional 30-second
advertising campaign, starting on June 1, said Ian Armstrong, Marketing Manager of Honda UK.
‘The 30-second ad is alive and well,’ Mr Barnes said, pointing to data released this week
which showed that commercial television had enjoyed its best April in five years.
For Honda, however, the elements surrounding the core 30-second campaign are designed
to generate the intangible buzz of word-of-mouth advertising, Mr. Barnes added.
Thursday night’s skydive would almost certainly go on YouTube, Mr. Armstrong predicted.
‘Commercially, that’s a fantastic result, as it means our marketing investment becomes more
efficient because consumers are doing our marketing for us.’
Answer the following questions.
1. Why did Honda need a new publicity stunt with skydivers?
2. Why are Sky+ and Tivo a problem for advertisers?
3. What happened in the Honda advert?
4. What happened In LG’s ‘Scarlet* campaign?
5. What different types of advertising did Honda use?
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A new kind of campaign