Media Selection

The reason an Ad in ‘Vogue’ will convey a very different message from the same Ad published in ‘Woman’s Weekly’, is due to the phenomenon identified by Marshall McLuhan when he wrote: “The medium is the message”.

The way in which a marketing message is delivered speaks volumes. The characteristics and perceived qualities of the medium used to transmit the message all rub off on whatever products or brands in contains.

The very fact that an Ad is in Vogue gives the advertised product more class, greater appeal and a higher perceived value. The same applies whatever the form of communication: if a marketing message arrives via email, you’ll feel very differently about it than if it arrives through the post, personally addressed, written in gold foil embossed on parchment.

So making the right media choices can significantly enhance the message. Conversely, making the wrong ones can actually do more harm than good.

When business is down, it’s naturally tempting to go for cheaper media and cheaper production values. It might please the finance director (unless he is somewhat longer-sighted than most) but it is actually a dangerous strategy, because it could be counter-productive.

If the brand’s reputation is diminished as a result, future earnings could actually be worse than if you’d done nothing.

On the whole, it’s better to maintain standards of presentation, both in production and choice of media, and do less, than to maintain your volume of output but with everything looking cheaper.

Your target audience is less likely to notice a drop in frequency than a drop in standards.

Robin Petherbridge