Adidas is stopping its TV advertising. The Guardian pulled all Google ads. These are all signs of something, but not what you think.
When I was in television, we would hear rattling from clients of pulling campaigns because of news coverage or lack of news coverage. Even back then, Saturday Night Live would have one church group or another threatening a boycott—if only they could see it now.
The threats are always there. The big announcements are always there. But beware the public announcements of audience buying. Why would you give away your strategic advantage? Why would you show your cards? Well, I would say it is all part of the negotiations. Any clothing or shoe manufacturer needs an edge. Nike, which passed Adidas years ago in market cap, has a negotiations edge just in its size, celebrity endorsement deals and financial muscle. Adidas needs an edge. Here is how it gets it with TV execs. Coke doesn’t need to make these broad sweeping claims and PR declarations.
In media buying, don’t just watch out for big pronouncements in media or at cocktail parties. Instead listen for the subtle moves by the biggest players, like the slow but steady move from newspaper to native advertising. Listen for the talk around landing page optimization and geo-fencing for personalized delivery. Those strategic maneuvers will not be proclaimed in a media release.