3 Things to Consider with Programmatic Television


The relatively new world of programmatic buying on TV presents a new kind of challenge to advertisers and their agencies when it comes to figuring out the best way to use the platform for the biggest benefit.

The promise of programmatic TV – combining available data and the latest technology to reach a target audience that goes beyond age and gender – leads to a logical question:

Why wouldn’t every television advertiser want to use this platform to reach their key consumers on a more granular level? The easy answer to that question is “of course, they would.” However, it’s not as simple as just hitting the go button. Even with new programmatic vendors and technologies seemingly popping up every month, there isn’t a turnkey approach to success.

Many advertisers should be able to reap benefits from devoting a piece of their budget to programmatic TV. The challenge becomes finding the right combination of vendor/platform, custom target, and KPIs for evaluation. Testing a variety of combinations may be necessary, but these tests can be done quickly with minimal investment.

So as you look at programmatic TV, here’s some advice to consider:

1)  Keep your objective clear. Is the test goal to drive increased conversion to sale by reaching a more targeted customer? To extend reach by utilizing networks and programs not included in the current media plan? To increase media efficiency against a specific segment of your target audience? Identifying the primary goal of the programmatic TV test should drive the decision about which vendor to use, since they all have differences in their approach and capabilities.

2)  Be open to different approaches for building a custom target. There are many ways to skin a cat, and the myriad of data out there can provide multiple ways to define the target audience. Third party data (MRI, Experian, Acxiom, Nielsen, Kantar, Rentrak, to name a few) and an advertiser’s own first party customer data can be combined to create the custom target, which becomes the focus of the campaign. Testing more than one over the course of time will provide learning about how to use programmatic TV to build your business and complement your overall ad campaign. In fact, it may help identify new or unlikely consumer segments that will inform your overall marketing efforts.

 3)  Evaluate the test based on relevant results.  Every programmatic vendor offers unique reporting and analysis – from basic calculation of incremental reach driven by the test to attribution modeling that endeavors to connect media weight to sales. Just as important as identifying the objective of a programmatic test is identifying the key metrics for evaluation. Direct response advertisers have an advantage in this regard because they can clearly observe not only direct sales, but whether the consumers responding to programmatic advertising are more qualified due to data targeting. But the bottom line for any advertiser is to not lose sight of the fact that a programmatic test needs to be held to the same standards as any other media vehicle: does it drive sales by reaching the right people with your message?

Data, automation and technology have made programmatic TV buying a reality that is predicted to become a larger part of the TV advertiser’s world in the coming years.  Testing the platform now makes sense so you can learn how it can best be incorporated into your marketing efforts in the future.

For further definition of programmatic TV and its potential, here are a couple of articles to read:



Parody Ads. Are they "Alright, alright, alright"?


Sticks and stones may break my bones, but making a parody of my TV commercial will never hurt me.

Saturday Night Live has been bashing on brands for decades. Youtube offers a never-ending supply of user-generated ads that make fun of ads. And with the recent spoofing of Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln car commercials, I can’t help but wonder... “Is all of this mock-filled attention a good thing?”

In some cases, there’s no doubt it can do harm. However, for the most part, I see it falling under the same umbrella as, “All press is good press.” Lincoln, a relatively forgotten car brand, has received more attention in the last few months than the last 10 years. And according to MarketWatch, October 2014 sales are up 25% for the carmaker. 

While you have to give the Oscar Winner - and his cool persona - much of the credit, you cannot underestimate the role of these spoof ads. From Ellen Degeneres to Jim Carrey on SNL, the extra exposure has been massive. People are thinking and talking about Lincoln. That’s a huge win for any brand or product. So if you ever find your TV commercial a victim of others’ satire, just think of Mr. McConaughey and say to yourself, “It’s alright, alright, alright.”

To further embrace the spirit of this blog article, below is an Eicoff commercial lucky enough to provide inspiration for a few writers at Saturday Night Live. Our commercial chronicles the invention story behind Breathe Right Nasal Strips. SNL's commercial wonderfully imitates ours, only featuring a different product solving a much different problem.  

'Tis the Season(s) For Holiday Radio

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer... in October? Yes, it's already begun! Radio stations around the country have been racing to switch formats and feature holiday music 24/7. 

This New York Times article details the compelling attraction for listeners who eagerly anticipate the highly popular, annual Nov-Dec short term switch to the all-holiday radio format. Almost 500 stations nationwide will take part in this transformation. Even in warmer locales, like Alabama, people are eager to sing along to Let It Snow by Bing Crosby.  For local radio stations, this Jingle Bell Takeover is a big winner. It creates an advertiser-friendly format filled with listeners who can't wait for the holidays and the biggest shopping season of the year to begin.


While some radio stations have already switched to their holiday playlists, our local Chicago station WLIT-FM is engaging their listeners with an online contest, “Guess when our holiday music starts!” You can visit their website for your chance to win. OUR PREDICTION: Soon very soon.


Philips Launches Another Exciting Innovation

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Our client Philips Lifeline has always been the leading innovator in medical alert systems. Today they take their technological expertise in this field to a whole new level. With the launch of a new mobile product called GoSafe, Philips is giving seniors greater safety, security and freedom than ever before. It's the kind of product that will truly make a huge difference for many people. Visit their website to learn more.

And stay tuned for a category changing commercial coming soon to a TV screen near you.

2 minutes of awesomeliciousness

DRTV best practices call for longer length commercials. This two-minute spot for GE calls, raises.

Lunch Lab. Fresh Thinking. New Ideas. Pizza.

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Despite the 4th quarter chaos, looming deadlines and an inbox full of unread emails, I managed to slip away from my desk to attend The Eicoff Lunch Lab. I mean come on, a person's gotta eat, right?

Matt Cote, Eicoff's VP|Video Innovation, set the tone for his presentation with this thought:

When it comes to innovation, forget the multitude of reasons why something won’t work and believe the one reason why it will.

Innovation seems elusive and complicated, something beyond our control. Also risky, because of a fear of failing, and the fallout from that failure. Being successful requires change, but with change comes uncertainty. Let's face it, none of us are Steve Jobs, creating The Next Big Thing like the brand newest iPhone or what have you. How do we, mere mortals, make innovation happen?

Innovation, Cote explained, doesn’t have to be a big idea homerun like the iPhone. It's simply a question of looking at things differently. As in everything. All the time. It isn’t a department, but rather everyone working together with a common goal: to make the most of every new opportunity to our clients' advantage.

Innovation is at the core of any successful company. Who would have thought that a DRTV Advertising Agency would be finding ways to deliver measurable results via breakthrough technologies like interactive TV, online and mobile video, programmatic/addressable TV? How about a client-customized iChannel? A click-to-buy test on Smart TVs? And what's next?

The question to ask isn't why, but why not.

Lunch Lab is an ongoing series at Eicoff, one of North America's leading DRTV advertising agencies, with presentations and discussions about various topics, from DRTV best practices to what's going on in the advertising industry at large. It's a great way to keep up on the latest, learn something new, etc.

And there's pizza, so...

A TV With A Lot Of Friends

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When a friend asked me what a Connected TV was I jokingly responded with the headline of this post.  It was a joke, kind of.  Welcome to the world of interactive television.  A Connected TV (often referred to as a Smart TV) transforms a consumers’ main source of entertainment from a screen that simply displays content provided by a cable/satellite provider into something much more - an IP delivered TV experience. 

Want to watch a YouTube clip? How about binge viewing of the latest Netflix hit? A live sports event not offered on a traditional channel? Or a hot web short series that someone at work mentioned?  All of that and much more are at your fingertips with a Connected TV.  Easy to see why 113 million consumers have become instant friends with a Connected TV. Netflix, Hulu, Crackle and a very long list of other content providers have quickly developed apps that bring all the content the consumer wants to the TV screen, in an easy to use format.  Often for free.

Advertisers are always looking for better targeting ability, more flexibility in the ad units they can use and, most importantly, the ability to better measure their video efforts.  The Connected TV advertising marketplace is poised to deliver on all of that.  Want to only reach homes that have a HH income over $100K and who have been watching a lot of video content on home improvements?  Want to serve an ad to consumers within 1 mile of your retail location? How about in that area with an interactive overlay displaying your actual store address? Want to know exactly how much of your ad was watched? All are very easy to do in the Connected TV environment. Whether it's through a Smart TV, an Over The Top Device like Roku, an internet-enabled cable TV package, or a game console like Xbox, Connected TV provides an incredible amount of information, targeting, and ad units that linear TV can not offer.

Surprising as it may seem, the friendship between Connected TV's and advertisers, well...it's complicated. As with all other emerging platforms, it takes time. Standards for ad insertion, full understanding of inventory and who controls it, as well as a pricing structure that makes sense, are all being worked through right now. But I suspect they will become BFF's in the near future. How could they not? One offers the other exactly what they have been looking for their entire life: an opportunity to combine the power of digital targeting/measurement with the power of the big screen in the living room.

Matt Cote is VP/Video Innovation at Eicoff, one of North America's largest DRTV agencies.

Eicoffers Kick Off National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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You might think wearing jeans to work at an advertising agency would be no big deal. But when it's to benefit National Denim Day, it's a very big deal. Participants donate $5 or more in exchange for wearing jeans to work, and support one of the largest single day fund raisers in the fight against breast cancer. Being a performance driven agency, we like results: since its inception in 1996, Lee National Denim Day participants have raised more than $91MM for the fight against breast cancer. Not too shabby. #denimday #leejeans

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And how about something to wear along with those jeans? Something like... a Big Pink Bra? Seriously. Eicoffers took a few minutes out of their lunch break to help Advocate Health raise cash (and a few eyebrows) by donating $1 to the ACS Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk every time anyone poses with The Bra and posts the photo on Twitter or Instagram.  Well done. #SupportYourGirls

 Another Doing Good event from Eicoff's Can Do team.

Another Doing Good event from Eicoff's Can Do team.

Hispanic DRTV Best Practices

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 through October 15

With Hispanic Heritage Month in full swing, it's a good time to point out some facts on the Hispanic market and best practices to use when targeting this expanding, evolving market.

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The Hispanic market continues to explode….

  • As of 2013, Hispanics make up 17% of the U.S. population, totaling 54 million.
  • More than half of the total population in California, Florida and Texas is Hispanic.
  • In 22 states, Hispanics are the largest minority group.
  • In 17 states, 20% of the public school kindergarten population is Hispanic, up from 8 states in 2000. 

Targeting the Hispanic market through direct response television, or any other medium for that matter, should be considered culturally, not on language alone. But language is incredibly important for obvious reasons. The choice of language to use in a commercial and for media placements will largely depend on the target demographic of the audience – Millennials? First-generation? Second- or third-generation? Most Hispanics still prefer to speak Spanish in the home and consume their media that way as well, even if outside the home English is spoken more often.

Best practices for advertising to the Hispanic market:

Speak The Language

  1. Spanish-speaking/bilingual telemarketing agents are key. Hispanics will feel more at ease sharing their information and ordering. Live agents are more successful in conversion vs. IVR’s.
  2. Hispanics like ads 51% more if viewed in Spanish vs. English.
  3. Hiring Spanish-speaking talent to deliver the script resonates 30% better with Hispanics.

Embrace The Culture

  1. Cultural fluency is even more important than language.  Take the time to understand who they are and what they represent: family, music, food, religion; media that reflects the roots, country of origin, community, values and aspirations.
  2. Hispanics are sustaining their culture rather than assimilating:
      • 9 out of 10 Hispanic parents and parents-to-be want their children to be able to speak Spanish, even though they also want them to be fluent in English.
      • There are more than 100 Hispanic-focused broadcast and cable networks today – proof the Hispanic culture is here to stay and continuing to grow.
      • Hispanic adults say they want to be more Latino (31%) or bicultural (60%) than they are now, they like telling people from other cultures about Hispanics (75%), and they speak to their closest friend in Spanish (51%) or both English and Spanish (24%).

If you’re not considering a Hispanic component to your advertising, you're missing a big opportunity. There's never been a better time to tap into this vibrant culture and rapidly expanding market.

Get more interesting facts on the Hispanic audience here.

Beth Fritz is VP/Associate Media Group Director at Eicoff, one of North America's largest DRTV agencies.

DRTV? Step Up To the Podium, Please.

Now that the Winter Olympics are well over and we’ve all returned to our regularly scheduled TV watching, it’s time to reflect on those mighty games.

How superhuman those athletes were! How dedicated! How composed and brave – not only before and during their death-defying performances, but as they awaited the scores that would determine their standings, value and medal-worthiness.


Obviously, we’re not athletes (well maybe some of us are), but we’re DRTV people. And while our limbs are never at risk, we know the importance of good scores. The judging starts the day a commercial goes on the air. Analytics kick in. Numbers are tallied. If we make the numbers, we’re successful. If not, we’re off the air. No gold, silver or bronze.

Our counterparts in the brand world may bask in the glow of their McDonald’s, BMW or AT&T spot running countless times over the Olympics, but did they score? Did they win? Can they head for the podium and know with certainty that they succeeded in a measurable way? Maybe, maybe not. That’s where DRTV has the advantage. 

Competing for the minds and wallets of consumers takes skill, strategy and accuracy.  With the data we receive each day, we’re able to shave off costs per lead and sale, the way a bobsled team shaves off hundredths of a second.  The time we save by optimizing our DRTV campaigns can add millions of dollars to our clients’ bottom line. 

Though it’s not an Olympic challenge, sometimes it takes courage to introduce DRTV to your marketing mix. But the results could give you the edge you need to beat the competition. And that’s worth its weight in gold.

Audrey Neems is a Creative Director and Rob Schmidt is a Management Supervisor at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America's largest DRTV agencies.



The Most Impressive New Gadget at the CES? The…Television.

The 2014 CES definitely proved there’s no one way to view content: Sony’s Short Range 4K projector, the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro tablet, LG’s Curved TV and more.

But guess what –TV, in any form, is still king.

That, according to a panel of agency experts at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas.  

People still watch more than four hours of live TV a day on average. Even Millennials – can you believe it?


Of course, it makes sense that advertisers are shifting some ad dollars from TV to digital. There’s lots of potential around second screen and streaming video.

But digital by itself can’t touch the reach of TV. Even internet companies cannot live by online alone: successful companies like Quicken Loans, GoDaddy and Priceline turn to television to drive traffic and grow their business.

TV works – whether it’s brand advertising or direct response (DRTV), and whether it’s through a 4K projection on a wall or a bendable screen.

As TV viewing options continue to grow, clients and agencies alike need to strike a balance between the latest media technologies and their responsibility to the client’s business.

Francie Gordon is SVP/Executive Media Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies. 

Soup Fundraiser

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Last Thursday, our own Eicoff Volunteer Corp hosted Soup Day!

Simmering Crock Pots were loaded with Iron Chef-worthy soups like Pea Soup with Bacon Foam, and a scrumdillyicious Chocolate Soup.

 After the blind, taste test votes were counted, Alicia William’s Beef Vegetable Soup was declared the winner. And a special thanks to our homemade bread bakers (soup's favorite accessory) - Joy Woods, Mike Powell and Delia Marshall!

The lunchtime event raised over $1700 for the Ronald McDonald House, and donations of packaged and canned foods for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Paved With Good Intentions

"I'm going to..."

Who hasn't uttered these words, followed by, well...not doing whatever succeeded this well-intentioned phrase. Work out regularly. Eat healthy. Read more. And so on. Heck, the word itself, intent, drips with unfulfillment. Because let's face it, if you took action you wouldn't need to intend anything, you'd have Just Done it. So to speak.

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So why then all the hoopla around a performance metric called purchase consideration?  Consideration is even a step more vague than intent. It sounds to me like an I.O.U. from that dead-beat college friend; he fully intends to pay up, but everybody knows somehow he'll never get around to it.

The author acknowledges that purchase consideration is fleeting: "What this doesn't show you, because we're looking at this only two days after the Super Bowl, is how long that purchase consideration lasts." Which is to say the longer you go without acting, the less likely you are to ultimately act. If we accept that as true (and Mr. Marzilli is way smarter than me, so...) why shouldn't the goal be to motivate an actual purchase, or at least a tangible step towards a purchase, right then and there?

Indeed. Which brings us to the world of don't-wait-do-it-now direct response TV.

Purchase consideration amounts to bupkus here. In the world of DRTV, it's all about how much did it cost to secure a lead, a sale, an application. It's about how many did we move yesterday. This is where purchase consideration and intent turns into measurable results before you can say "and that's not all." (Truth is, nobody says "and that's not all" anymore. Well, almost nobody.

I'm not suggesting brand advertising isn't a productive endeavor. Far from it. Some of my best friends are brands. I'm just uncomfortable with the unpredictability. When you're accountable for business results, all the thoughtful consideration and good intentions don't amount to much. Consider this: I had every intention of getting this blog posted a week ago. So there you go.    

Mike Powell is Executive Creative Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America's largest DRTV agencies. 

Turbo Tax’s Golden Moment

More brands are seeing the benefit of using more time to tell better stories. During the Golden Globes, Intuit Turbo Tax became the latest advertiser investing in a longer-length commercial to tell their story. The brand spot entitled The Year of You, features John C. Reilly as the voice over. 


P&G and Apple: Telling Longer, More Effective Stories

P&G and Apple beautifully demonstrate what Al Eicoff was saying 60+ years ago. You need more than 30 seconds to tell an effective story. If these spots don't move you, nothing will. Well-done!