Confessions of a Media Strategist

12 Dec 2016

Routine Media Investment – How I missed the Sunday Gems

This article originally appeared in Ads24’s trade newspaper ‘The Beat’ Sunday Edition.

Like any other budding media investment opportunist, I often call it like I see it, holding my partners accountable for their ‘scheduling flounders’ or ‘sales acquisition target mishaps’. Why, you may ask? Their mishaps are sugarcoated and sold as “Added Value to my client” and all around, this allows me to maintain the façade of being the most ferocious shark within the think tank they call a “Media Agency”.


If this were Facebook, you would be giving me blue thumb right now - admit it.

My façade and split personality when it comes to dealing with media owners keeps me occupied at times when performance algorithms become far too dreary. With some media owners, I take on the role of the hard-to-please client, negotiating with them as if my very life depends on a loading fee being waivered. The lucky few see my smile lines – all the time. They have been exposed to my ‘Great White’ ways and now know to toe the line. Bless them for being so considerate!


My lack of patience is often written off by my colleagues as lack of sleep. Granted, I am extremely ambitious. Often I am the last employee on the floor at night and the first to switch the lights on in the morning. Come to think of it, I may have forgotten to do that last night – again. In my defense I was focused on incremental reach capacity and delivering the highest return for a new client on a below par budget.


As a local territory agency strategist currently working towards acquiring new business, the very backbone of insight in my agency network organogram rests in a more developed country. These colleagues say no to press campaigns. They are respected, well liked and always beat the ROI challenge posed to them. Our clients trust them and our CEO believes in the potential of their every mouse click. Click click, clickety click…(Hook, line and sinker) as they assist with every new business pitch. Often the sum total of their “innovation” is to cut press: “Press is irrelevant for this fiscal – Multi Platform Solutions require screen media. It’s the millennial way, it’s the future - be screen savvy and win awards with screens!”


The reality is that South Africans, a media consuming nation are the leaders in our unique engagement path.

Free to Air TV stations exceed viewership ratings in some respects and we have one of the most influential national vernacular radio station networks. If our nation is already keeping up with the international Jones’, why did I not follow through and thoroughly investigate the opportunities in press for this campaign?


How to break the news to my media owner partner? To tame the rebel in me, I immerse myself into multichannel research:


TV CPPs, Reach Curves, phased approaches, adstock theories; media spend reports, circulation data. My desk now looks like a victim of an MBA dissertation. Turns out, the Ads24 Sunday Community makes up 53% of Total Readership on a Sunday. Revision 11 of my Sunday TV documentary schedule does not exceed 15% of my target market. Opportunity gone begging…What sorcery is this?! My programmatic is no longer pragmatic, but problematic.


It is time to confess and repent: Sheer routine of investment has caused me to previously ignore a market that could have skyrocketed my efforts to acquire the client and secure my place in this cut-throat industry as a “Big Fish”.


With a humble nod I concede, well played Sunday papers. Well Played.


Yours Sincerely

The aspiring, media industry, Big Fish



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