Ad Agencies Place Millions of Inserts

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The big advertising agencies are constantly in major newspapers with their mergers, account switches and name changes. Account billings are in the double- and triple-digit millions. For these high advertising budgets, we expect a lot of general advertising to include TV, radio, billboards and print, but did we ever think that these advertisers were placing a ton of insert media business?

We may need to rethink our views of agency advertising. There are direct divisions of top agencies that have headquarters in New York with multiple locations worldwide. These agencies have clients booking millions of inserts into statement programs, co-ops, package inserts, ride-alongs, blow-ins and sampling programs. Advertising strategists deal with intermediaries who book the business with the insert divisions of our familiar direct marketing companies.

Another well-guarded secret within insert media is uncovered!

Expect more to be revealed Wednesday during the third annual Insert Media Day at the Marriott Marquis in New York.

For Insert Media Day 2004, Linda Kaplan Thaler was the luncheon keynote speaker. Her slideshow and humorous, down-to-earth speaking style made it easy to understand the success of her book, "Bang! Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World." Her agency, KTG, is responsible for some of the most memorable commercials for AFLAC and Herbal Essence.

This year we build on the success of Linda's ad agency experience and the kudos from her presentation by bringing a whole panel of advertising experts familiar with and placing insert media.

One of the many eagerly awaited sessions at Insert Media Day 2005 will be "Ad Agencies' Perspectives on the Insert Channel." Four experienced agency panelists will discuss the types of insert media being placed by well-known brands and how they make it work within the marketing mix. This is new material for most of us, so we expect some groundbreaking news.

Our four panelists work at direct divisions of well-known agencies. All of these agencies have established new names to identify their new direct and interactive division. One panelist works at an agency based in New York that operates 237 offices in 75 countries. Another represents an agency that won the Global Media Agency of the Year award for the second year in a row by Advertising Age.

You probably won't be surprised to hear that some agencies have a loose interpretation of insert media - it's not just paper.

Writers covering advertising for major newspapers have been mentioning agencies and their use of inserts. One writer recently discussed a commercial from a large apparel retailer that was set to start appearing in August to capture the teen back-to-school market. Additionally, print ads have started appearing in magazines like Cosmo Girl, Elle Girl, Teen People and Teen Vogue. These magazine titles are ubiquitous, but what is not so well publicized in the advertising world is that this retailer, with locations in most major malls nationwide, is placing four-page inserts into these publications.

Traditionally, lower-ticket direct response advertisers favor insert media. But there appears to be a shift toward higher-end marketers. Our agency panelists will let us know which advertisers are using inserts and where they are being placed.

Mainstream advertisers are looking for unique ad vehicles. Shelley Lazarus, CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, said in a keynote address recently "that it once took only three networks' TV shows to reach 80 percent of America's consumers, and today it takes 57." There's huge competition among advertisers, and they are seeking unique ways to reach those consumers. Insert media offers a vast universe, mostly untapped by mainstream advertisers.

Agencies now offer these unique insert vehicles as a way to supplement some of the advertiser's mainstream efforts. One award-winning agency recently created an ad campaign in a magazine using inserts. It was a 20-page, four-color 5.5-by-5-inch booklet with quirky copy and vivid photographs for a new product release. This creative insert made a big impact by generating sales, driving Web traffic and increasing brand awareness.


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