The Media Tipping Point

  • 78 million U.S. households maintained a cable subscription at the start of 2021. At the same time, advertisers could reach more than 84 million households via connected, streaming TV services for the first timeAnd, according to The Trade Desk, and all of us in this business – this trend is not likely to reverse.
  • OTT / CTV outpaced all other media in 2020 (which is not a surprise to anyone) and the projected cord cutting for 35+ in 2021 is something that can not be ignored.
  • That being said, campaigns targeting 65+ DTC products and services outperformed linear TV in some cases. This is a huge finding for companies targeting 65+ and should be a strong consideration to augment the linear workhorse.

Optimizing the Relationship Between Client and Agency

Optimizing Client Relationships


As it is often said, over a lifetime you end up spending more time with those you work with than your immediate family. Sigh. And just as those relationships with individuals you are related to via birth or marriage are not always a walk in the park, the most successful and satisfying unions get through difficult phases because they are built on trust, prioritize integrity and at the end of the day there is a general affinity for one another. Work relationships aren’t much different, trust, honesty and a general likability are all important – check, check, check.

Sometimes, however, you need to dig deeper – particularly when that relationship is between a client and an agency. One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of the client-agency dynamic is a scene from the movie, Jerry Maguire and a related catchphrase and no, not “Show Me the Money!” (please). It’s, Help Me…Help Me Help You! So, with Cameron Crowe as my muse along with some help from Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. I offer up 3.5 ways a client can help their agency help them…


  1. Share as Much Data, Metrics and Company Information as Possible

Everyone can appreciate the value of information in this atmosphere where data is king, and analysis is critical. Most clients do endeavor to provide the key facts and figures to make the necessary decisions related to their campaign. That said, I would also encourage clients to provide some of the information that is beyond the database. Anecdotal, qualitative and industry stats can really provide needed context for the current campaign and inspire new recommendations for the quarters to come.

  1. Encourage and Facilitate Testing

As a media agency with decades of experience across multiple channels, we can certainly bring to the table a variety of scenarios to predict how your campaign will respond…but it will never be as accurate as a well-constructed media test. Testing can be considered a luxury because of the inherent uncertainty and the fear of wasted money. But when thinking long-term, in the end testing is a valuable tool that can set the foundation for a productive profitable roll-out. Testing also should remain part of the media strategy. New media opportunities worthy of testing are emerging at an accelerated rate due to the convergence of traditional and digital medias. Testing new platforms positions your company for future growth often at an efficient cost.

  1. Establish Boundaries with Respect to Budgets and Timelines

“Setting boundaries” is a term frequently used when discussing the management of relationships because it’s important to know where you stand. In this case I would like to encourage boundaries when it comes to the finite elements in a campaign – especially budgets and timelines. Budgets are admittedly hard to determine when it comes to media because there are so many different options to consider. For this reason, it’s vital to provide a construct, even if it is a broad range of what is affordable now. Scale is always an option. Additionally, having a sense of timing is key. What is your company’s business cycle? When would be the ideal time to launch a marketing initiative? What are your creative needs and how long will it take to craft a message that resonates with your customer? Answering these questions will significantly improve the development of a detailed and robust advertising strategy and plan. Without these guidelines, the resulting media plan can lack focus and end up generating more questions than answers.

       .5 Ask Questions and Push for Answers

I deemed this only a “.5” on this list because of course you know that asking questions is critical to a successful relationship, so why bring it up? Because many times there is not only a single answer in this complicated media space and when both the client and agency are collaborating and pushing to dig a little deeper – it’s amazing how this push and pull can lead to innovative solutions to what was originally thought to be a common question…and that’s when you feel good about your day as you head home.

At Modus Direct, we are lucky to enjoy some of the best client relationships in the industry.  Many of our clients have been with us for several years with a few closing-in on a decade and (by the way), that’s when we opened our doors. This list was compiled by thinking back as to how our clients have helped us become a better agency – and they certainly have, and we are grateful. When you are in a great relationship – everyone wins.

Don’t get caught up in the big data hype. It could be costly.

Don’t get caught up in the big data hype. It could be costly.

Since 1994 I have been reviewing the performance of client advertising campaigns – mostly direct response.  In 1994 campaigns utilizing direct response principles were typically direct mail, television (with a TFN only), print and radio. In those days, tracking performance was relatively easy, and WOM (word of mouth) attribution was simply part of the formula. Analyzing business growth, and the contributions to that growth, over distinct periods of time was simply part of the formula. Today, with web, text, social, search, phone, WOM to name a handful, it has made tracking the effectiveness of distinct media channels even more cumbersome.  What I always come back to, however, is the foundation of my direct response upbringing. The foundation is developing a method, agreeing on it with your client, and then executing a model built on baselines and collaboration. This is all regardless of the response mechanisms in which you are tracking. This is all just about the math.

There are many companies that are charging clients hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide insights into the impact television has on their business, but it just isn’t necessary. The findings that direct response professionals have been providing for decades continues to hold true, and the good television experts don’t charge extra for it.

I often reference an experience I had reading a case study that was done by Google on a well know brand. The brand utilized the Google 360 platform to test the creative performance of a campaign. The case study video testimonial delivered a compelling message to viewers as to the test environment and the methodical nature in which Google set up its test. This was not something that was revolutionary for me, this was basic stuff. In fact, we have been doing this for our clients since I have been in the business – since the 90s. We have never charged our clients to simply do our job – which is run the most optimal media, at the best times with the best creative. We constantly challenge the controls and change strategies and measurement based on the trajectory of the business and what the data is telling us.

I know different people can interpret the same data in different ways. But, if everyone is aligned on the method, and all parties are interested in the truth, then the end analysis should always be the same.

At the end of it all, don’t get caught up in the hype. You don’t have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to find the truth in the data. The truth is already there – you simply need a partner, who is also interested in the truth, and has the expertise to help you find it.

Political Dollars Affecting Your Media Buys? Try this!

Political Dollars Affecting Your Media Buys? Try this!

Start TV Network Logo (PRNewsfoto/Weigel Broadcasting Co.)

Check out this article on Weigel Broadcasting Co.’s new multicast entertainment television network- Start TV. 

Start TV could be a another TV option for challenged Media Buyers during these Politically charged times.

Local Political advertising is very dynamic in 2018. For DR clients that are used to reasonable rates and nice frequency, that luxury has gone away since 2nd quarter.

Tampa is a great example.  Local TV is pressed with issues, money and new candidates making their presence known. A resource, if you have an aging demo, are the Antenna’s, GETTV and METV’S of the world. They can help reach your audience without the sticker shock of the Affiliate stations. I have re-worked my schedules for several clients this quarter to include these stations. The results have been a positive blessing.

Tampa will have a new option for broadcast buyers in September. If you have a local market that will have START in your line-up, give it a try if the demo and client sync up. November cannot come soon enough.

The Television Inventory Economy: Getting the Best Inventory for the Best Price

The Television Inventory Economy: Getting the Best Inventory for the Best Price

Often when advertisers work with us for their first television campaign, there’s a ton of great questions about just how we purchase TV inventory, and how it is exactly that we are getting them the most for their money. With Direct Response TV, you hear terms like “remnant”, “preemptable”, and “discount”, but does that mean your commercials will only air in late night, or that you’ll be in poorly rated, unheard of programs? Not necessarily! Keep reading to find out how you can air in the top-rated shows that everyone loves like The Walking Dead on AMC, for an average of 60% less than other advertisers are paying in the same program!

So how exactly is TV time sold, and what is this remnant thing?

Method #1: Upfront

You’ve likely heard of Upfronts, the very long standing traditional way that TV networks sell their inventory consisting of huge parties with celebrity appearance in New York. Behind the scenes at the upfronts, deals are made for advertisers to commit to purchase huge amounts of TV inventory for the coming year. While this is a great way to get efficient pricing on a massive amount of TV time for large advertisers, those starting out on TV typically require more flexibility (you don’t want to buy 2 million dollars’ worth of something you’ve never tested), and just don’t require the large scale of buys that it takes to get you into those back rooms at an upfront. These deals are pretty much always guaranteed to deliver a certain amount of rating points or impressions, again perfect for big brands with big goals.

Upfronts Pros:

  • Large scale guaranteed to run inventory, necessary for big brands with massive budgets
  • Efficient if you negotiate well, economies of scale can certainly be obtained when buying big chunks

Upfronts Cons:

  • Big commitments both in terms of time and dollars – deals are in the millions and run the course of the season or year

Method #2: Scatter

Scatter is the other way that brands requiring guaranteed impressions buy TV inventory. Scatter is basically just all the inventory that wasn’t sold at upfronts. Scatter inventory still includes top performing shows, live sports, or any other high-profile cable airings. Scatter typically doesn’t have minimums (in terms of dollars of length of commitment), which gives it a huge advantage compared to upfronts. On the flipside, scatter usually has the highest CPMs of all the TV purchase methods (translated, least efficient pricing).

Scatter Pros:

  • Typically, no minimums in terms of dollars or
  • Guaranteed impression or rating point delivery

Scatter Cons:

  • Usually non-cancellable, whatever you buy you are stuck with
  • Least efficient pricing

Method #3: Surplus

Surplus TV inventory is basically created when ratings are higher than expected on certain shows and channels, and Upfront and Scatter buys can deliver all the impressions they were contracted to faster than anticipated. That means there’s more TV advertising time that’s not promised to those Upfront and Scatter customers, and the TV networks must sell it to someone in a hurry! Enter the Direct Response TV inventory purchase method. While some direct response does come in the form of remnant “leftover” inventory, much of the discounted inventory available is in the best programs on the best networks, who have the surplus due to their excellent ratings.

Surplus Pros:

  • Zero commitment, usually booked on a 72-hour cancellation notice – this means if the program or network you’re running isn’t getting the results you want for your brand, you can back out at any time
  • No minimums, in terms of time or dollars – you could book one spot for one day if you felt like it
  • BEST price efficiency of any TV purchase method – CPMs as low as $2 on top tier cable networks
  • Ultimate flexibility in terms of cancellation, last minute additions, making it the perfect solution for ANY brand who wants to run an optimized and efficient TV campaign

Surplus Cons:

  • Not ideal for brands who wish to spend more than $8-$10 million per month as inventory is limited

Flipping the Channel on Influencer Marketing

Flipping the Channel on Influencer Marketing

Many saw Kylie Jenner’s appearance on the recent cover of Forbes and chagrinned at the claim that Kylie is, “set to be the youngest-ever self-made BILLIONAIRE.” I too am willing to admit my side-eyed reaction after reading such a proclamation. But as a media and marketing professional, it also got me thinking as to how she built this successful business, not just at such a youthful age but also in record time – clocking in at just a little over 2 years. What was the catalyst? The article credited the obvious –  savvy social media skills and her role as an influencer not only put Kylie on the cover of Forbes but also helped add several other names to that coveted list. But just having game on social media does not guarantee entry into the Billionaire Girls Club. I suggest that there is an important variable in this formula that is being overlooked as we break down the juggernaut that is the “Kardashian marketing industrial complex” and that is the power of television.

It should be said, I believe social media is an extremely powerful marketing tool and that we have just started to scratch the surface of its potential. But also as a veteran of media placement, who has participated in traditional as well as digital media in a variety of roles and disciplines, I’ve witnessed a fair share of misses when digital was the lone media channel and client goals were defined by revenue generated and units sold.

So how can today’s brands – those that do not have the benefit of having access to a powerhouse reality show (along with a fierce “momager”), up the ante of their social/influencer media strategy? Incorporate television into your mix and here is why…

1. It’s a natural fit for the video content you are already creating. To wit, in late 2017 Viacom acquired WHOSAY, a top influencer marketing content producer. This relationship allows WHOSAY to leverage Viacom’s vast distribution channels and Viacom gets a creative partner that knows how to engage the younger demographic marketers crave.

2.  Everyone loves the targetability of digital but you miss out on the incredible reach that television provides. Hear Ye, Hear Ye, TELEVISION IS NOT DEAD, it IS changing and morphing every day along with its audience but our skilled buyers at Modus are still finding millions of eyeballs and more importantly, their credit cards every hour of every day. Utilizing TV immediately expands the universe your brand exists within and amplifies your message exponentially.

3. Brand Safety Control. In April 2018, CNN reported that over 300 top advertisers including large tech companies, major retailers, newspapers, and government agencies ran on various YouTube channels promoting white nationalists, Nazis, pedophilia. Even scarier – many of these companies had no idea how their ads ended up on these channels despite having extensive brand safety policies in place. No Bueno. With billions of websites out there it’s simply impossible to control exactly where your message will be viewed but that is not the case with television where network standards and FCC regulations inherently protect your brand.

4. Television essentially gave birth to the marketing “influencer” concept with DRTV legends like Ron Popeil. More importantly, it continues to be a natural platform to showcase your business in an ideal environment just as Chip and Joanna Gaines prove with their Magnolia empire.

5. Data, data, data. Like digital, today’s sophisticated multi-channel campaigns utilize regression analysis and attribution modeling to measure the specific impact of different channels. At Modus this is what we love to do.

Social media = good, Influencer marketing = good…it’s all good but it can be DAMN good when you know what you are doing and leveraging Modus’ expertise in ALL media channels especially television and video outlets to optimize your business – exponentially.




Carey Chase

Media Director

Hail Direct Response!

What was once an afterthought needs to become an integral part of a Brands advertising strategy. The belief that if people knew that your brands existed, they would see it on a shelf and buy it is unrealistic. The retail experience is going extinct. In an interview with Business Insider Warren Buffet discusses how the face of retail is changing. “The department store is online now,” the billionaire investor said Saturday at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, as Business Insider’s Bob Bryan reported. “I have no illusion that 10 years from now will look the same as today, and there will be a few things along the way that surprise us,” he said. “The world has evolved, and it’s going to keep evolving, but the speed is increasing.”

With retail dying, and more people going online to do their shopping, Brands need to be more creative in finding ways to get their potential customers to click that call to action to push the buyer down the funnel to buy. Extend the brand from just awareness to action.

We at Modus believe that the services we offer such as TVSync, tieing digital/ Social DR campaigns to TV Brand ads, are the way to combat the degradation in retail. Accenture did a study in 2015 that found that 87% of people they surveyed used a secondary device (smartphone/ tablet/pc) while watching TV. What’s better than promoting your brand on TV and hitting your target on their smartphone or Tablet?

All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions