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Advertise or die: Media owners unite to target c-suite with industry campaign

The biggest media owners in Australia have united on Advertise or Die, a campaign which targets the c-suite executives with confronting messages reminding them of the important impact advertising has on their brand.

ACE Radio, Australian Radio Network (ARN), Foxtel, Grant Broadcasting, JC Decaux, Macquarie Media, News Corp Australia, Nine, Nova, Ooh Media, Seven West Media, Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and Ten are all united on the campaign, with Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi working on the creative.

Some of the billboards which will form part of the Advertise or Die campaign [Click to enlarge]

The advertising includes slogans championing the importance of long-term ad plans over short-term high-ROI campaigns. Speaking at a media briefing about the campaign, Nine’s chief sales officer Michael Stephenson said the purpose of the campaign was to change the mindset of those at the top of brands and businesses.

“It’s not just about the ad market and ad growth, its about getting in the hearts and minds of the CEOs and CFOs, the people making the decisions, and saying that for the long-term, investing in your brand is important for your business. It’s not for this month, or the next six months, it’s for forever,” said Stephenson.

“This move away from short-termism is a concept we need to keep reinforcing.”

The campaign comes as the media industry faces a tough ad market, driven by Australia’s tough economic conditions. News Corp Australia’s managing director of national sales, Lou Barrett, said July and August were the worst she had seen in her 35 years in the industry.

“I’ve not seen a July and August like that in my life, and I’ve been in the business 35 years. It’s extremely tough. December and January are really tough. It’s no longer cyclical, the cycle has changed,” said Barrett.

The execs of some of the media companies involved in the campaign

The campaign is supported by industry bodies Think TV, the Outdoor Media Association (OMA), Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) and News Media Works.

The multi-million dollar campaign’s hook message is “If your brand’s not here, it’s nowhere”, supported by a new website: advertiseordie.com.au. It reminds business leaders of the dangers of not investing in promoting their products and services, and the impact that not advertising will have on profit and earnings.

Marketing commentator Mark Ritson is the spokesperson for Advertise or Die, and he said the campaign has three key messages.

“There are three key messages for those who manage Australia’s corporate budgets. First, continue to invest money in advertising, not just despite a tightening economic situation but because of it. Second, make sure at least half your budget is invested on the top of the funnel and on long-term brand building, not just on short-term spending.

“And finally, don’t fall for the siren song of new, exaggerated media opportunities at the expense of proven long-term, brand-building media.”

Ritson said brands need to stop being obsessed with ROI – return on investment – calling it an ‘unhelpful metric’ that focuses on the short-term only. He said that brands which are creating their marketing budgets by predicting sales for the next year aren’t investing in growth and that rather than pulling out of advertising when the market gets tough, it will cost less in the long run for brands to stick with their campaigns.

The Advertise or Die campaign will be targeted towards the c-suite using placements including offices and airports and through platforms like Sky News and the Australian Financial Review, as well as being marketed across the involved media business’ assets. Coming into the holidays, Stephenson said the goal is to target CEOs and CFOs as they enjoy media over the break.

Nine’s director of Powered, Liana Dubois, said word of mouth will help the campaign expand across the country.

“CEOs are mums and dads and brothers and sisters and all the rest, and one of the great powers of advertising is the word of mouth that comes off the back of it. It starts a conversation, and that’s one of the most important parts of this campaign,” said Dubois.

Beyond the c-suite, Foxtel Media boss Mark Frain said the goal was to empower marketers to walk into boardrooms and argue for the budgets to invest in brand growth. The campaign has many purposes, he said, and the outcome will hopefully be a healthier ad market and more confident mindset for advertisers.

“It’s about giving the c-suite confidence in the knowledge that the entire industry is behind them to support them being brave to invest in their brand and return to growth,” concluded Stephenson.

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