Don't just be on television in the regions

polly_mjRegional television advertising is sometimes infamously poor. Polly Johnson from Leeton-based Sauce Communications says that shoudn't be the case any more, as digital tools mean even small advertisers can afford better quality.

If you’ve ever been on a holiday to the South Coast of NSW, or turned on the TV during a trip to Dubbo, or like me recently made the move from Sydney to the bush, one thing you’ve surely noticed is that regional advertising is well…interesting in comparison to what’s on offer in the big cities.

That there is big divide between the sleek, impressive TV advertisements in the major metropolitan centres and the ones we are subjected to on regional TV is undeniable, but when we ask why it gets a little tricky.

Is it simply the budget differences? Obviously a national retailer like David Jones or Myer has more to spend on production and distribution than the local bowling alley. And yes, advertising space costs less on regional networks because it’s more geographically segmented and seen by fewer people. But that can’t be all there is to it. If anything, with cheaper placement costs there should be a little more in the budget for great production.

Part of it is that we’re stuck in a bit of a rut because the regional TV networks are the ones producing the majority of advertisements and they work with a simple and, dare I say it, cheap formula. But I would argue that we are no less creative in rural and regional areas that our city counterparts so surely it’s time we stepped up and expected a little more than photo slideshows, shrieking voiceovers and garish clip art.Polly_mj_large

In marketing it pays to stand out from the crowd, so whatever you can do to make your advertisement different from the formula will help. Don’t be afraid to be funny or even silly if it suits your business, your advertising can do everything from promoting specials and bargains, but above all it should give the viewer a sense of who you are and what you do. In the same way that is pays to have some meaningful corporate photography, a professionally executed, polished TV commercial will make people sit up and take notice of your business, rather than reach for the mute button.

There are great freelance designers everywhere and great advertising and marketing communications agencies in every large country town if you look for them. Likewise there are some very creative videographers if you know where to look and if you can’t find them then look to your nearest tech-savvy 20 year old. Perhaps they won’t be able to help you with a TV commercial, but they’ll certainly how to create video content that you can upload onto YouTube and promote through Twitter and Facebook.

My point is; there’s no excuse for regional advertising being the city’s poor cousin. By applying a little bit of creativity and some originality we can make ads that represent our businesses professionally and position our regions as the success stories they are.

I couldn’t finish this post without giving an honourable mention to one Riverina TV advertising campaign that has become dear to my heart. In the same way that young hipsters make flannel shirts and dark rimmed glasses ironically cool, this 30 second advertisement from Wagga business Mick Humphries Training Group is so corny that it is actually legendary!

It’s run on and off for at least the last two years on our TV screens and people are so fond of it that they stop Mick and his team in the street to sing the song and mime the gestures to them. I was even caught doing it at a local business event last year when I met one of the managers.

In any case, the point is it works because it sticks in our minds, shows us who the company is and what they’re all about. I certainly know who I’ll be calling when it’s time for that career change to excavator driver!

Polly Johnson is an Account Director at Sauce Communications.

Sauce is an award-winning, full service communications agency headquartered in Leeton NSW with consultants in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

Polly’s professional background is in corporate communications, marketing and public relations and she has experience working with organisations from the IT, professional services, government and agribusiness sectors.

In 2010 Polly made the move from Sydney’s Paddington to a mixed grain and sheep farm near Ardlethan in the Riverina.  

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