Susan Coghill: “Still A Fan Of Linear” But Channel Is Limited In Modern World

Susan Coghill: “Still A Fan Of Linear” But Channel Is Limited In Modern World

Susan Coghill, CMO of Tourism Australia, has said that she is “still a fan of linear” TV but that the format is becoming tired other video channels allow consumers to form deeper connections with customers — something particularly important in her field of destination marketing.

Speaking to B&T as part of the CMO Power List, Coghill said that the next 12 months will be dominated by video marketing.

“It’s all about the power of screens — particularly in tourism, but I think for many brands, video storytelling really lets you connect with consumers on a much deeper level.

“I say screens because it could come through your social media channels, connected TV, it could be linear. I’m still a fan of linear TV. It could be, like in China, for example, where there’s a rise of live streaming and real-time interaction with viewers or giving consumers a peak behind the curtain and thinking beyond the traditional formats.”

Coghill’s assertion that marketers need to think beyond linear and other traditional formats is not an uncommon view in the industry. The most recent SMI data showed that linear TV spend dropped by 13 per cent year-on-year. To be sure, other channels saw drops in spend, too — news publishing dropped 20.6 per cent, total video dropped 12.3 per cent and cinema dropped 9.6 per cent.

Magazines, audio and standalone digital proved more resilient, dropping 4.4 per cent, three per cent and three per cent, respectively. Investment in outdoor remained flat.

In fact, some large brands are seeking to abandon linear altogether. Fellow CMO Power List inductee PepsiCo’s Vandita Pandey told B&T that it would be completely pulling its spend from traditional TV, instead focusing on digital, earned media and other channels — because that’s where its consumers are.

“There aren’t a tonne of brands who have fully pulled out of linear TV ads, but we are already close to 85-90 per cent digital, and there are a lot of screens in that digital mix,” she said.

“It has taken us a few years to get to this decision, but we have gone from five, six or seven brands on TV and reducing them year by year. We think that from an attention standpoint, how much attention are we receiving in these ad breaks… we have decided to shift to different types of screens.”

Coghill’s view on linear and limitations will make interesting reading for leaders of the three agency groups currently in the final throes of the pitch process for Tourism Australia’s creative account. That shortlist is rumoured to be Accenture Song, Publicis and Clemenger BBDO — incumbent M&C Saatchi was eliminated in an earlier round. Coghill told B&T that the final winner announcement would come in June.

While M&C Saatchi did help Tourism Australia create the widely lauded “Come and Say G’Day” campaign featuring Ruby the ‘Roo and Louie the unicorn, voiced by Rose Byrne, Will Arnett, respectively, it is clear that Coghill is looking to push video even further. Why? To avoid misattribution.

“Our long-format storytelling really worked. With short-form video, immersive 3D technology, I think storytelling will continue to become more important in many categories,” she explained.

“One of the biggest challenges in destination marketing is misattribution. An ad showing people having a great time on the beach, having great food and wide and mistaking one place for another. So, for us, creating a character like Ruby the ‘Roo and having her in the ad makes it immediately identifiable as Australian.”

Of course, the Olympics in July might rescue some of that linear spend. Regardless, it seems as though the tide is shifting for the networks.

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Susan Coghill Tourism Australia

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