2011 ad of the year

It’s that time of year again, when all of the programmes on TV start to reflect on the happenings of the past year. Last night, it was the turn of ITV’s ad of the year programme.

8000 ITV viewers were asked to vote for their favourite ad of the year and number one? The Cravendale cats with thumbs advert.

In my eyes this advert got a well deserved first place. Not only does it make you laugh every time you see it, you also have a sneaky look at your own cat sitting quietly in the corner, wondering if they will ever grow thumbs and do the same!  Genius.

I was both happy and surprised to see that the Yeo Valley farmers advert wasn’t mentioned in the top 20. Although I find it really annoying to watch, I don’t think anyone can say it doesn’t do its job. We definitely spent quite a lot of time in 2011 talking about!

I can’t wait to see what the crop of 2012 adverts will bring to the table!

Are the Barcelona Principles the way forward?

Advertising Value Equivalents (AVE’s) are not the value of Public Relations. They are not the be all and end all. This is a statement made clear to everyone when discussing the Barcelona Principles. The aim is to create a set of sophisticated measurement and evaluation principles that will allow the profession to measure the impact PR has had on an organisation effectively. And I believe, this has been a long time coming!

Advertising Value Equivalent is, in basic terms, the price of what your editorial coverage would cost if it were advertising space or time. To me, this technique in itself has many flaws. Can the effectiveness of a PR campaign really be measured through the estimated cost of space occupied by all your editorial coverage? This cost doesn’t tell us if the campaign reached the target audience, how many people it did reach or what they thought about it. PR is meant to be about ‘two-way communication’ and just telling an organisation how much our campaign would have cost in terms of advertising doesn’t give them any indication of the success of the campaign in terms of communication.

These new principles aim to give the PR profession credibility and a way of effectively measuring how well a campaign has gone and to what point it has met its objectives. Since the way in which PR is performed is constantly changing, these principles need to be throughly examined and continually looked at to make sure they are measuring PR in the most effective and up-to-date way they possibly can. Currently, these are the headlines for the new Barcelona Principles:

  • Goal setting and measurement are important
  • Media measurement requires quantity and quality
  • AVEs are not the value of public relations
  • Social media can and should be measured
  • Measuring outcomes is preferred to measuring media results (outputs)
  • Organisational results and outcomes should be measured whenever possible
  • Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement.

Each of these principles will be explained in more detail in a future article on the CIPR website. I believe that these principles will give PR practitioners a concrete way of evaluating how successful their work has been and how it could be improved in the future. For example, the use of social media in PR can influence a huge number of people in everyday society. PR practitioners not only need to be at the fore front of this ever changing medium but they also need to be able to effectively tell organisations how many people have connected and responded to a campaign through the use of these social platforms. It’s no longer enough to say ‘we’ve set up a Facebook group and we now have 100 members’. Organisations need to know what these members have been saying and how they have responded to the campaign.

Philip Sheldrake (@Sheldrake) recently created a presentation titled ‘What’s the ROI on social media?’ which can be found on his website. This could be very useful for PR practitioners who are looking for ways to measure social media.

Uphold or Reject?

It’s a sunny Tuesday afternoon and we are beginning to look at the problems PR officers can come across when a client they are working with is attacked through print, broadcast and online advertisements. Learning about how to deal with these situations and looking at the codes/regulations put into place by bodies such as the ASA, Ofcom and the PCC was interesting however I was more interested in being outside in the lovely weather than looking at regulatory codes. Then we started to look at adverts that had either been upheld or rejected after complaints had been made about them and found that some adverts were being removed from TV for reasons that weren’t really necessary.

In a previous module last year, Sarah Hepworth, Lyndsey Johnson and I gave a presentation on advertising and taboo adverts. We looked mostly at the ASA and their code of practice and to our surprise found that it only takes ONE complaint to completely remove an ad from the TV.

This advert was removed from TV after complaints were made that it was discriminating towards Goths. Is it really discriminating? I remember being at school when this advert was shown and everybody was talking about it, and not in a bad way. It was a really catchy advert and I don’t know of anybody who didn’t know the jingle!

This advert was removed after it was said to be to traumatic and distressing to be shown on TV. However, it’s still available to see on the organisation’s website. Surely the advert needs to be ‘hard-hitting’ in order to get the message across? Is taking this advert off TV not just like letting the bullies win? Something we’re all told not to do.

I believe that it’s right to have codes of practice set in place to ensure that adverts are ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful and do not mislead or cause harm or serious or widespread offence’. However, I think that upholding adverts from TV after receiving complaints that they are too distressing or discriminating to Goths is a little bit extreme!