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The Biggest Lessons in Brand Advertising from Barbados

There’s a lot that you can learn from advertising trends in the Caribbean (and maybe around the world) by taking a quick look at the top advertisers in just one of the region’s countries, and observing how they’re spending their ad dollars. In the past, we here at Media InSite have shared some insights about top advertisers across the entire Caribbean, but this time we’re going to focus specifically on Barbados. Looking at just one market gives us a chance to see best practices in one particular space. And there are a lot of fascinating practices to take a look at when we look at platforms like TV and radio.

With online media transforming the marketing landscape, there are a lot of assumptions about traditional media dying, or worse yet, being already dead. But that simply isn’t the case everywhere. Of course, we should all still have our fingers on the pulse of the growing social media world, but that doesn’t mean ignoring the role of traditional media in the routines of some consumers, and even in the media landscape as a whole.

One of the biggest surprises, for instance, from this list of top brands from the last quarter might be that the Caribbean Premier League’s T20 tournament is a big spender not on TV or even newspapers, but on radio. If you think about it just a little more, some potential wisdom comes out of it. For starters, those from the baby boomer generation still consume much of their content on more traditional media platforms like radio.

Also, a lot of the target audience for T20 are adult working-class men. With that in mind, it makes a lot of sense to spend most of your advertising effort on reaching that audience on their commute to or from work, especially because a lot of games are after work. By catching them on their way, you can implant the idea of a spontaneous cricket get-together with some friends or colleagues after a long day.

In fact, a lot of entertainment advertising in Barbados lives on radio, and sometimes moving into TV. Four of Barbados’ top 10 advertisers are events, including CPL’s T20. The same advertising focus isn’t spent on television, though – only one of those events makes it to the top ten in ad spots on TV, and with significantly less ad spots. One potential reason is that advertisers get better responses when events are a bit more mysterious for audiences. Another reason might be that TV ads about events go a little further in terms of impact. After all, you have the tools to share clips of past events, highlight some of its stars, and share that content specifically at the times of the day that target customers would be more likely to watch. Those features aren’t available with newspapers (at least not until the sci-fi future).

On the other hand, services such as Olympus Theatres and Resolution Life Assurance are keen to buy up as much space in the newspapers as they can get. This gives them the chance to do things that they couldn’t do elsewhere, like list prices for all their products and services, or give detailed notices about upcoming sales or promotions. With TV and radio, the ad is only 30 seconds long at most. With print media, the ad is as long as people are willing to read, as long as you paid for the space you need.

What traditional media has over new media might not be what you expect – people expect ads on them. That might not sound like a good thing at first. After all, the only people who like ads are people like us who work in advertising, and sometimes not even us. But with radio, TV and newspapers, the assumption is almost that ads are part of the platform. With Facebook ads and the like, we’ve all become very adept at identifying (and avoiding) ads, and we can even install programs that keep ads from our sight entirely. But we can’t skip a TV ad, and even if someone left the room while it was playing, that doesn’t mean they won’t hear it. Eventually, it will flash before their audience’s eyes, and hopefully they’ll see something they like. Of course, with each medium, it’s up to the marketing team to make something that hooks customers and reels them in, and each platform has its own language. Just remember to learn all the languages of brand advertising, and be prepared to speak in one that you didn’t think everyone listened to before.

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