This article guides you about how to add value through media buying.

Adding Value through Media Buying:

Ad spend advantage is to make the media buying a vehicle for delivering unique value to the customer, save, don’t splurge innovate, don’t indulge, be extra ordinary not extravagant. For buying cheap air time on TV and radio—or space in the print media offer several opportunities for building customer value.

In the inception or introduction stage, lower costs will enable to offer lower prices and still maintain the margin. Matching the media with the budget is not a hard task. Smart media planning can help cut through the clutter of commercials and helping to direct to those customers whom we are targeting.

While buying advertising space for the print media has become a virtually commoditized art of extracting discounts in exchange for volumes, there is a room for smart buying on TV where ad spend is growing at a rate of 35% per annum while growth of ad spend in other media is approximately 17%.


For the large ad spenders, the best media cost device is consolidated media buying for TV for all their brands because of following reasons:

(a) Centralization increases the ability to negotiate and get better rates.

(b) It enables to put the best minds at work and gives the focus that is required in an area where we are spending a lot of money.

(c) It increases opportunities to use systems, be it software or media related data.


(d) It also reduces the possibility of different brands buying time or space at different rates.

For example, HLL and BPL group who spend over 100 crore per annum on TV advertising alone are leveraging their bulk buying into better rates thus, lowering the average media spend for each of their brands. HLL has done a two year deal with DD and one year agreement with Zee TV receiving large discounts in exchange.

A one year commitment can be translated into very competitive rates. Large advertisers can get price offer as large as 70% on the official rates. According to HTA, a large proportion of our buying is long term as that protect us from price increases in future.

At the same time, small advertising spenders (spending lesser than big spenders) are not on the receiving side. No doubt the big spenders can put slot of money but big does not always mean better. We can be smarter in our thinking. There are opportunities for the small spenders too as they have to use just tactics instead of strategy.


For instance, allowing a programme producer to air our commercial only when he hasn’t managed to sell all of his advertising slots and wresting a large discount in return. That’s what Zandu Pharmaceuticals did with Doordarshan, getting several airings of its commercials in the process.

Another tactics for the small spenders may be to pick a niche magazine or channel with attendant low rates and whose viewers matches with ours and ensuring that we are the biggest advertiser on it. For example, a camera brand with a low advertising budget can use the discovery channel where a high proportion of viewers will be interested in photography.

We can also promise not to advertise in a rival publication or TV channel and can get lower rates as Euro RSCG grabbed a 22% discount on a leading Hindi channel for Philips with the condition that it will not advertise on two of the channel’s key competitors.

Innovative use of Ad Spend:

Spending too much on advertising may not always maximize customer value. The most important is to use the advertising budget to distance our communication from those of our competitor’s.

How to Add Value through Media Buying

Effective and innovative media buying can provide a competitive edge in the following ways:

1. One way is to buy the unguarded spots that conventional media buyers over look because of their insistence on booking the classic 10 second or 30 second spots. That’s what the Rs. 800 crore Pepsi co holdings and the Rs. 5,199 crore ITC did effectively by buying sponsorship rights to all replays during the live telecast of cricket matches.

For instance, ITC picked up the rights to action replays on DD during the Wills World Cup at a piffling cost of Rs. 75 lakh. The mileage; visual exposure to the brand for at least, 115 times a day.

2. Another way is trying to sponsor specific TV programmes instead of merely advertising on them. For starters, choosing the right programme will convey the brand association continuously, much more strongly than 10 second commercials at the beginning or end of the programme can.


For instance the symbol of a couple – and the confidence arising from fresh breath—which HLL’s close-up tooth paste rights on is conveyed well through the Zee TV programme it sponsors; close up antakshri, like wise, the Hindi Film song countdown programme, Philips top 10, has a natural synergy with its sponsors audio products and TVs.

The following questions are to be answered to know (with their answers in yes) for the effective media buying:

(a) Are you distributing your budget efficiently between your brands?

(b) Are you trying to extract sales positions for your ads at no extra cost?


(c) Are you comparing your ad spend with your rivals before finalising it?

(d) Are you using sponsorships to leverage your ad spend?

(e) Are you using bulk purchases to secure additional concessions?

Following principles can be applied to make media buying effective leading to high advertising effectiveness:


1. Entry into a hot media allows access to uncluttered air time as P & G makes long term commitments for space and time in new media.

2. Use adhoc buying to enter high viewership media at low costs as Zandu pharma postponed its media buying till the last minute for the better rates.

3. Leverage sponsorships to gain additional brand exposure as Philips has branded popular sponsored programmes like Philips top 10.

4. Centralize media buying for better rates and prime slots as HLL buys all its media time through a single agent, distributing it across its brands.