Reaching lots of men through TV sports advertising is a
no-brainer for the marketers who want to target them. But marketers aren't the
only ones who know that, and the mass-reach live-sports events are often
pricey. Thankfully, other options abound, and many marketers who want to either
reach men on a more cost-efficient basis or target male demos a little more
finitely find good bang for their bucks at male-oriented cable networks.
"Live sports is still the best way to reach the most men at
one time," admits an executive from one cable network that has a predominantly
male audience. "The NFL has exploded in popularity and viewership across five
broadcast and cable networks, but it can be expensive.
"For the price of three ad units on one of the broadcast
network NFL telecasts or on ESPN, an advertiser looking to reach men can get a
10-week run of multiple ad spots each week on a male-oriented cable network."
Still, finding a touchdown-worthy ad buy without football
has its challenges. Primetime broadcast television has long been predominantly
female, with a ratio of as much as 60% and even 70% female viewership for most
entertainment series, including reality shows. Fox is even trying to increase those numbers this season by adding female-skewing sitcoms such as Ben & Kate and The Mindy Project, along with dramas such as The Mob Doctor.
But media buyers also see some of the broadcast networks
trying to draw more males to primetime this season.
"It seems like the broadcast networks are trying to broaden
their audiences somewhat by making some of their new dramas more appealing to
men," says Jackie Kulesza, senior VP, broadcast activation director, Starcom. New
series such as Vegas, Last Resort, Chicago Fire, Revolution
and Elementary stand out among the
slates. Kulesza says marketers trying to reach men in broadcast primetime
entertainment programming want to be in series that skews at least 40% male.
But the male-oriented cable networks are clearly still the
best buy beyond sports, and the leading choice for marketers who want to target
specific male demos. Younger men can be found watching MTV and MTV2, along with
Spike and Comedy Central, and on Telemundo's cable network mun2; older men can
be reached via History, Nat Geo and some of the Discovery networks, among others.
Media agencies are also looking to place more of their
clients' marketing dollars to support online content targeting men. Online
sports sites may be the first place advertisers look on the quest, but they are
also looking for more digital content outside of those sites.
"There are fewer ways to reach men on TV other than sports.
That's why digital content targeting men has a big opportunity to get more ad
dollars," says Carol Fletcher, senior VP, group client director at Starcom. "There
is a big opportunity for online video. Short video content on topics of
interest to men, especially comedy programming and music and how-to content.
There are advertisers who are looking to hyper target men online."
Some of the male-skewing entertainment networks are offering
online gaming tied into their series. History channel has an online game for Pawn Stars called You Got Pawned, and
also has other games for shows such as Top
"We are developing online games for our shows for our own
website and then moving them onto social sites like Facebook," says Maura O'Donovan,
director of ad sales partnerships for History. "Online extensions used to be
considered value added for advertises, but now they are part of the packages we
sell and clients are paying for it."
Peter Olsen, senior VP of ad sales for History, says, "Casual
gaming used to be considered mostly for females, but those lines are being
blurred. We've driven more men to online gaming through our Pawn Stars series. We're still new to
this area, but are working on creating more games to bring advertisers into."
Let Them Hear Music
Both MTV and MTV2 have median age audiences of 22, with MTV
having an audience that is about 40% male and MTV2 with an audience that is more
like 60% male. Advertisers seeking to reach men can use MTV for mass in series such
as Jersey Shore and through its late-night
block, and use MTV2 to hone in on a smaller but more targeted group of young
Kate Keough, senior VP of consumer and integrated marketing
for MTV360, says MTV2 has created a little space for itself
among marketers seeking to reach young men because it has "a little
more leeway to be creative when working with advertisers and partnerships and
integration opportunities tied into shows."
One recent example came with the "Susan Glenn" ad campaign
by Axe, the men's grooming brand. The name Susan Glenn was created by Axe to
represent a special girl in a guy's life whom he hasn't had the confidence to
approach. Axe ran a six-episode Web series titled "Finding Susan Glenn," but
also worked with MTV2 to integrate the Susan Glenn campaign into its Guy
Code series. In addition to airing traditional commercials for Axe in
each episode of Guy Code, the series stars each created their own
personal vignettes about their own personal Susan Glenn, which were shot
as show content. The vignettes were also formatted as standalone pieces that
delivered the Susan Glenn hashtag and led into or out of segments of the
show; they were also reformatted into shorter 30-second spots that ran on MTV
with a tune-in message for the next Guy
Code, which also ran on MTV. Susan Glenn tune-in spots were followed by an
MTV2 has also done partnerships with movie studios and
footwear companies such as Adidas, Converse and Footaction USA.
Another younger skewing network, Telemundo's cable network
mun2-which targets both male and female Hispanic millennials age 18-34, but
which boasts a median age much younger than its overall target-recently televised
the Bellator Fighting Championships mixed martial arts bouts. The fights are
also televised on MTV2, and skew heavily male.
Discovery Networks has a bunch of channels with
which marketers can partner to target men, including Discovery Channel, which
skews nearly 70% male. There are also smaller Discovery options, such as Velocity,
which skews about 90% male; Military Channel, which has an audience of up to
80% men; and Science Channel, which also reaches a predominantly male audience.
Even Discovery's Animal Planet has more programs geared
toward men, such as River Monsters and Finding Big Foot,
according to Joe Abruzzese, president of advertising sales at Discovery
Discovery Channel has some of the most watched series on
cable, including Deadliest Catch, Dirty Jobs and American Chopper,
and Abruzzese says marketer integrations are worked in where they fit. "Coors
sponsored Deadliest Catch and After the Catch and Coors beer was
integrated into the After the Catch
show this season," Abruzzese says.
While Discovery is still working on ways to create online
content tied into its TV programming, Cadillac recently sponsored voting for an
American Chopper poll on the network.
And Abruzzese says Velocity, which has a small base audience
and focuses primarily on automotive, leisure and adventure programming, has
doubled its revenue over the past year, which has been helped by marketer
integrations. "Mothers Car Care products has integration in the â€˜High
Performance Block' on Velocity and Black Magic is the sponsor of Mecum
Auctions," he says.
Auto is one of the major categories reaching out to men on
the Discovery Channel, in addition to gas companies, beer makers, soft drinks,
insurance, QSRs, retail and gaming.
Abruzzese says Discovery Channel's partnership with
Volkswagen, which exclusively sponsored the recent annual Shark Week
programming, was a success, and the German automaker has indicated its desire
to return as its sponsor next year. This year, Volkswagen and its media
agencies partnered with a marine biologist to build a Volkswagen Beetle Shark
Observation Cage, which gave viewers a look at underwater sea life. VW parts
were used to create the cage, which bore a large Volkswagen logo. There were
also social elements tied into the campaign.
History has some of the largest mass-reach series on cable,
such as Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Ice Road Truckers, Swamp People, Ax
Men, Top Shot and Top Gear,
and the network overall skews about 65% male.
History also has some of its signature miniseries or "big
event programming," as the network describes it, coming up that will also
skew more male than female, like The Men Who Built America, which
premieres later this month; Mankind The Story of All of Us, scheduled for mid-November; and its
first scripted series, Vikings,
which has a spring 2013 target date.
"We reach men with our regular series like Pawn Stars,
American Pickers and Ax Men, but we are also starting to reach more
men with our big events and we are hoping to do that with The Men Who Built
America, Mankind and Vikings," says History's Olsen.
Certainly the biggest event programming the network has ever
run came this past May when its miniseries, Hatfields
& McCoys, averaged more than 14 million viewers over its three-night
run. "Hatfields & McCoys
opened our eyes to just how big an audience this network can draw," Olsen says.
"The success of Hatfields helped draw
more interest to the network. It took the network up another notch in the eyes
of both viewers and the ad community."
Olsen says automotive is still the top category targeting
men on History, but other sizable ad spending categories include insurance,
pharmaceuticals, financial, QSRs and telcos.
"Investment banking is still soft and is one of the last
categories that seems to be coming back," Olsen says, "but insurance and QSRs
have shown the most growth in the past 18 months."
While the median age of the History Channel audience is
around 48, the network has two younger male-skewing series -- Top Gear and Top Shot -- and each has different audiences that appeal to separate
ad categories. Top Gear brings in a
sizable amount of auto aftermarket advertising, Olsen says, while Top Shot, the network's only reality
competition series, brings in hunting and gun retailers.
While many advertisers on History are targeting males, David
DeSocio, senior VP of ad sales partnerships for A+E Networks, the parent
company of History, says more retail and packaged goods advertisers have been
coming on board as well. That trend is similarly happening on the female side,
where women-targeted networks have been getting more advertising that was
traditionally male oriented, such as insurance, banking and beer and wine.
Olsen sees another opportunity for possibly picking up
additional ad revenue in fourth-quarter from would-be National Hockey League
advertisers. With the NHL lockout having already canceled the entire preseason
and with the season itself in jeopardy, marketers looking to reach men via the
NHL telecasts on the various sports networks both nationally and regionally are
going to be looking to place their Q4 ad dollars elsewhere.
"We will be out there making our pitch that there are other
places to reach men besides sports telecasts," Olsen says. "I think those
hockey dollars are one of the things we are going to go after."