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

Adding Value through Media Planning:

For the effective implementation of advertising strategy, media planning plays a very important role. Choosing among the different media is a very difficult but very important task because the media vehicle will pipe the message to the target customer.

In particular, media planning can now provide the brands the winning edge over the competitors. For once, we have matched our competitor’s quantity of media delivery, his advertising budget, we can beat him on quality.

At an undifferentiated functional level, all the competitors use the same parameters to direct their media planning. The creative requirement forces a choice between print, which is information friendly and the TV, which is image compatible.


The basic psychological attribute of the customer leads to a second rung of choice: for instance, teenagers are best reached through TV and senior citizens through print. Quantitative and cost efficiency factors also guide the choice. The advertiser should look at the inherent strengths of the media, the definition of the target group and the nature of the creative idea before making their choice.

But these are not the sufficient conditions for generating additional value for our customers through our media mix. As market research specialist William MC Guire’s 1971 model of the stages of information processing in the customer’s mind reveals, that our message goes through five stages before nestling firmly in the target’s mind.

1. Exposure:

Which leads to one or more of the senses being activated by our communication.


2. Attention:

Which ensures the allocation of the person’s processing capacity to the incoming stimulus.

3. Comprehension:

Which provides an interpretation of the message.


4. Acceptance:

Which influences knowledge and attitude.

5. Retention:

Which transfers both the interpretation and the new knowledge to the recipient’s memory.

How to add Value through Media Planning

Exposure & Attention:

It is the choice of the media that facilitate the stages in the process of communication. A match between the target audience and the audience of our media is essential for exposure. More than anything else, the target group definition measured by demographics and by attitudes and life styles is what drives smart media strategies.

The more important is to create a clear, unambiguous, sensory impression on the target audience and our media usage must cross the threshold of indifference that most customers harbour towards advertising today.

It requires a careful planning of not just the medium but also of the vehicle—for instance, the specific TV channel or magazine, the timing and location of the communication of that vehicle and the intensity of the communication.

Considering the splintering of customers into different segments, narrow casting as opposed to reaching a broad audience can ensure that the message reaches by and large only to those people that it is intended for.


Once we find a medium that reaches our key customers, we can intensify our communication knowing that there is little wastage. This strategy was used by Lintas (Ammirati Puris Lintas) while doing media planning for the PC-marketer, Compaq India.

Having narrowed its target group down to technical people, who understand computers; and decision makers, who will clear the funds authorising the purchase, Lintas managed to whittle down the original list of 15 publications that appeared to match the advertiser’s needs to just four.

These were the publications whose contents suggested that the most avid reader would match either of the two customer profiles that Compaq was targeting for its PCes.

In the process, not only were media costs lowered but, more crucially, the advertiser was assured that readers would indeed allow the ads to register on their minds, instead of trashing them. This did not come out of syndicated media research. It came from trying to understand the consumer and media from consumer’s point of view.


To ensure that our subject attention is tuned to our message, we must pick a TV programme or a newspaper page or any other media that has already put the customer in a highly receptive form of mind.

Snappy creative work can grab the attention of channel—surfers or page turners, but media planning can add value by selecting channels that engage the attention of their audience—preferably towards a subject that will leave that primed for a message from our product.

Lintas achieved just this when it placed small ads for the Rs. 532.7 crore Britannia industries 50- 50 brand of biscuits during the third umpire replays in the course of TV coverage of the Wills World Cup.

Eager to find out the verdict of the third umpire, viewers were, obviously, more alert at these junctures than they normally are. And the message—GAYA YA BACH GAYA? (out or not out). Britannia 50-50 exploited this condition to demand the viewer’s attention.


The Rs. 2,363.7 crore—ICICI leveraged media usage in the same way when advertising its mutual funds. The service identified its own target audience: investors, predominantly middle class males above 40. Who put their money in mutual funds and are, therefore always on the look-out for more attractive opportunities.

Concluding that such an audience would be most receptive to information on the ICICI scheme when it was already in an information gathering mode the company’s ad agency Trikaya Grey (Trikaya). Looked for just such a vehicle—and found it in the evening news on TV.

Striking a deal with Zee TV to shorten its 30 minute news by 5 minutes. Trikaya placed a five minute infomercial in that slot. They mentioned a contact phone and fax number in information commercial, and the response they got was amazing.

Comprehension & Attention:

The process of comprehension of the communication is achieved by an integration between the customer’s existing knowledge that advertising provides. The timing of exposure to the advertising can ensure that the information content is lodged in the viewer’s mind, allowing the customer to make the connection with his own knowledge base.

Media planners at HTA demonstrated that by placing five second spots the Godrej air conditioners immediately after the weather forecast on DD Metro’s 10 p.m. news programme, to night.

With the knowledge of rising temperatures and humidity upper most on the viewer’s mind. The connection with an AC, however, brief the ad, was instantaneous.


Like wise, Mudra communications created a traffic update programme on FM Radio for the Rs 55 crore Hutchison Max cell phone service, knowing that the commuters, chagrin about stalled traffic would promote the integration of the message of about the mobile phone service into their knowledge base.

The penultimate link in the chain that is attitude or behaviour changing, acceptance is forged in the customer’s mind by consumer cognitive or affective responses or both to our advertising.

The cognitive response consist of the thoughts that occur during the comprehension stage, the affective responses take the form of feelings and emotions. Both acting separately or in concert, lead to an acceptance or rejection of our ad’s claim of fulfilling the customer’s needs.

The crucial role of value added media selection here is to provide a vehicle that perfectly matches whichever of these two responses the advertising tries to elicit. For instance, TV offers the perfect setting for eliciting the affective—or hot—responses, while print is better suited for appealing to rational—or cold—responses.

Thus, it is that the Rs. 350.70- crore Titan industries uses TV for its emotion drenched, heartstring tugging commercials on the themes of gifting a watch, but switches to print when it comes to displaying the product and announcing special schemes.

Likewise, HLL has been communicating the USP of its clinic All Clear anti dandruff shampoo through an association with the intangible values of glamour and fame—as symbolized by the model in the commercial, film star Saif Ali Khan – on TV, while making its hard, rational claim of being the most effective dandruff – killer – if any other dandruff shampoo can give you more beautiful hair, buy it – through print and out-door advertising.


The importance that is now being attached to the consumer’s attitude towards different media is based on the belief that the mindset a consumer bring to each medium and vehicle acts as a filter, thus affecting the impact that the advertising creates.

There are qualitative differences in how people use and relate to media, and these can have enormous implications. It is an ensuring the marriage of objectives between advertising and media planning that the success of communication lies.

And as ever – newer media opportunities burst on to the horizon—recent additions include music cassettes, commercial bus tickets, and film scenes the medium will add value to the message.

The following questions are to be answered to know (with their answers in positive i.e., yes) for the effective media planning:

(a) Are the contents of our media focused for our target segment?

(b) Is our media selection delivering relatively low clutter to our advertising?


(c) Is our media choice enabling our message to be received more clearly?

(d) Is our media mix tailored to changes in our advertising objectives?

(e) Are we choosing advertising slots on the basis of their editorial contents?

Following principles can be followed to make media planning effective leading to high advertising effectiveness:

1. Use TV for making emotional pitches and print for rational ones as Titan highlights intangible benefit on TV and product features in print ads.

2. Synergize the communication with the content of the media as Britannia advertised its 50-50 brand of biscuits during the third umpire replays on TV.


3. Use timing to catalyze meaningful understanding as Godrej—GE placed its ads for air conditioners just before the weather forecast on TV.

4. Pick a slot when the audience will be most receptive as ICICI placed its information based commercial on its mutual fund schemes on the 10 p.m. Zee news slot.