Traditional advertising isn't dead

We love traditional advertising here at DrivenMedia, in fact despite truck advertising being a relatively new and innovative format to outdoor advertising it is still classed as part of the traditional advertising formats. This also includes digital billboards, TV and newspaper advertising.

Pretty much the only advertising that’s classed as digital is well online based. (We can see how you might be confused with digital billboards, but as these are an upgrade to the traditional outdoor panel and still targets the masses so it is a traditional advertising format). Digital advertising encompasses PPC on Google, Yahoo etc, social media advertising on Facebook, Twitter etc and advertising on websites in general.

Scott’s article in The Drum can be hard to read and understand if you’re not versed in “Ad Land”. So we’ve extracted and simplified some key points that you can take away and use in your marketing plan going forward.


Key Learning Points

The Expectation Vs Reality with Digital Advertising

There is a major discrepancy between expectation and reality with digital advertising. It’s like being promised dinner at a networking event and only having pubs snacks, nuts, crisps and the like. What a letdown.

Scott highlights a recent study by RadioCentre, the body for radio advertising in the UK. Essentially they ranked expectations and the reality with 12 media attributes. The right audience, cost effectiveness etc.

The report found, “there is a clear disconnect between the scale of investment in online media and the value it delivers.” Essentially a re-evaluation of the media mix is needed to help advertisers better achieve long-term brand growth.

Digital Advertising Lacks Cultural Imprinting

Digital advertising doesn’t imprint on the culture of the nation. Scott uses a quote from the social psychology writer Kevin Simle to illustrate his point.

“Cultural imprinting is the mechanism whereby an ad, rather than trying to change our minds individually, instead changes the landscape of cultural meanings — which in turn changes how we are perceived by others when we use a product. Whether you drink Corona or Heineken or Budweiser “says” something about you…”

This relies on the brand and its perception being common knowledge, seen and known by everyone. This can’t be done individually but by mass broadcast. Think Picadilly Circus, you have to know that many thousands of other people that you may or may not know have seen it and as a result shifts your perceptions around the brand, product or service.

The result is that we subconsciously choose products and services based on what we think our friends, friends of friends and the general public will think of us by choosing, wearing or consuming that product/brand.

Essentially digital advertising is brilliant for short-term sales activation but rubbish and increasing sales over time though brand building.

Embrace Wastage in Advertising.

We’re taught wastage is bad and we should avoid it. To some extent, it can be bad in advertising too. The number of “rubbish” adverts we’ve all seen over the years is a credit to this, it adversely affected the brand it was meant to promote. Sometimes it’s poor creative, copy or media choice, they’re all important.

However, Scott argues without wastage you can’t achieve the cultural imprinting needed for a long-term upward shift in sales. It’s the wastage that makes the adverts and therefore the brand important.

So rather than being so focused on making sure the potential buyers of your product/service has seen your adverts you should be making sure that these “buyers” or consumers are seen to see your adverts by those around them.

Even digital advertising has wastage, from ad fraud to fake clicks. Scott argues “digital advertising is becoming the marketing industry’s version of fake news.”

The Big Picture

Budgetary Split: Digital Advertising Vs Traditional Advertising

A 60:40 split is still best for driving long-term sales growth suggests an IPA Report.

The IPA is The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising – You’d have thought they’d have a snappier title working with advertisers.

60 of your budget should be spent on long-term brand building perhaps by broadcast advertising via traditional advertising and the rest (40) on short-term sales activation split as appropriate between digital and traditional advertising.

The image Scott uses to highlight his conclusion is below.

Sales Activation vs Brand Building.

Why is the 60/40 split so effective?

Sales activation is vital in the first 6 months, but in the longer term brand building delivers a higher return. Digital advertising is best for direct response advertising and will only take you so far but traditional advertising delivers brand awareness and builds your brand for long-term success.

This graph sums this up.


This has been Team DrivenMedia analysing an article on The Drum, attempting to simplify for those, not in the industry.

You can find out more about the article and read it for yourself here. We encourage you to form your own opinions and challenge us. We’re a bit biased towards outdoor advertising, especially truck advertising.

The article’s author was Samuel Scott, a marketing and technology speaker