Editorial Note: We ran this story early today saying that both Parle and L'Oreal had gone off advertising across all TV channels: on the big networks which had moved unilaterally to a 30-day report from TAM as well as the rest which had maintained the status quo of weekly reports.
This afternoon around 3 pm we received a mail from L'Oreal's PR agency clarifying that "it has not pulled its advertising from its partner channels."
Our response: The article was based on L'Oreal's media agency sending out a mail on Friday, July 12 to TV channels, including those which had nothing to do with the fracas on a monthly TAM report. Clearly things have changed since then. That is why the article has been updated by deleting references to L'oreal.
The brand has taken a stance to not advertise at all on television and has sent out requests to all the broadcasters to cancel its advertising on the channels, irrespective of whether they are pro-monthly data or weekly data.
Praveen Kulkarni, general manager (marketing) at Parle Products, says, "Yes, we have decided to do a mass cancellation of our ads on all the broadcasting networks. The networks that are insisting on monthly ratings collectively comprise 70-80 per cent hence we don't see why we should advertise on the left over 20 per cent. Our campaign will be incomplete if we don't get to advertise as per our marketing plan."
Parle, that includes products like Parle G, Monaco, Hide & Seek, Melody and Mango Bite, spends around 85-90 per cent of its ad budget on television.
Kulkarni says that many a times, ad campaigns need speedy corrections and hence they cannot do without weekly TAM ratings. "We cannot wait for a month to get TAM ratings to evaluate our campaigns."
What is pertinent to note here is that despite not getting involved in the whole controversy, broadcasting networks like 9X Media, Turner International and TV Today will suffer if other advertisers join this brand.
Speaking on whether other advertisers will follow suit, Rangnekar adds, "It depends on the category in which the advertiser is. Players in the FMCG segment can still survive if they don't advertise on TV for a while but advertising on TV is a necessity for categories like telecom and auto. You will continue using the same shampoo and won't need to see an ad to change your choice but you cannot buy an X brand of car instead of Y just like that. Considering the deteriorating sale of automobiles in the country, they have no other choice but to advertise on TV."
An additional spin on the notice period by the advertisers to the broadcasters is that the genres like Hindi GECs and Hindi movies have to be given at least 10-14 days prior notice but genres that have last minute selling can pull out ads with a notice of 24 hours.
Praveen Tripathi, chief executive, Magic9 Media and Consumer Knowledge believes that BARC would have been an appropriate forum to discuss all parameters of TV audience measurement and arrive at a consensus across all stakeholders. "Broadcasters are correct to demand that advertisers stick to the notice period stipulated in the contract. While no advertiser-broadcaster deal would have had a clause on frequency of TV ratings data, advertisers need this data in order to take sensible decisions about buying airtime. Altering the data access unilaterally may not have violated any deal/contract, but it does severely affect advertisers' ability to buy airtime. Currency is a collective asset and all alterations to any collective asset are best negotiated and settled collectively by broadcasters, advertisers and agencies."