Flat screen TV between commercial bookends

Increasing Your TV Buy with 15-Second “Bookends” is An Effective QSR Marketing Strategy

There are 2 ways 15-second “bookends” can help you compete against the McGiants.

As a regional QSR, you obviously don’t have the media budget to compete against the national chains that not only receive the economies of national network buys, but also supplement those national buys with spot market placement.

But here are 2 ways you can use 15-second bookends to help you.

  1.  Bookend your :15s to increase reach and frequency.
  2.  Bookend your :15s to advertise two dayparts.

Just in case you’re not familiar with “bookending” 15-second spots, it involves buying a standard 30-second ad unit but placing 15 seconds at the beginning of a commercial break and 15 seconds at the end.

So, a typical commercial break has five 30-second commercials, or 150 seconds of commercials. With bookends, you are buying the first and last 15 seconds of the 150 seconds. The station still receives the same revenue for the same amount of time. You, the advertiser, receive two spots separated by about two minutes.

This is not the same as running back to back 15-second spots. It’s better.

When placing bookends, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Not all stations will accept bookends. This issue usually only occurs with local cable systems.
  • Not all stations will allow you to purchase 100% bookends. They may require you to mix in some percentage of 30-second spots.
  • Nielsen ratings do not attribute the gross rating points as if you were running two spots. So, for instance, if a 30-second spot in that commercial break has a 2 rating, Nielsen does not attribute a 2 rating to each of the :15s. They attribute a total of 2 rating points for both.

So here’s how it works:

You have to start by suspending the Nielsen ratings for just a minute, and consider how TV is actually consumed.

If your :15s Promotion A spot runs at the start of a commercial break, arguably viewers will see it. If the same :15s Promotion A spot runs again at the end of the commercial break, arguably the same viewers will see it again. Therefore, they have seen it twice. You have achieved twice the frequency in a short period of time. You’ve probably even experienced this before. Anecdotally, it’s pretty effective.

Or if a viewer sees your :15s Promotion A spot at the start of the commercial break, and then sees your second :15s Promotion B spot at the end, then arguably you have delivered two promotional messages (e.g., one lunch/dinner message, one breakfast message).

Two other key considerations:

  1. You only have 15 seconds. Be very, very singularly focused on your message. You can certainly try to cram 30 seconds of copy into a 15-second spot, but it will be totally ineffective. I hate to be trite, but less is absolutely more in this case.
  2. Start with simplicity. Feature your best food footage with the promotional offer. You’ve seen some national QSR advertisers use 15-second spots this way—Subway in particular. They ran a lot of 15-second, $5 sub advertising. Sound familiar?

photo credit: Sergey Nivens via Shutterstock

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