Adaptation in Media

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squirrel_flagHow many of us sit in an office all day, working at breakneck speed in order to accomplish everything that must be completed within eight hours? How many of us take a break during that eight-hour day to just enjoy the little things?

The other day, I decided to take that break and enjoy a little fresh air on our office’s back porch. It faces a graveyard, which makes it a very peaceful if occasionally creepy setting. But this day was sunny and beautiful, and as I sat on the bench admiring the weather, I spotted the epitome of how nature survives. There, flitting across the grass toward a line of trees, was a lone squirrel. The odd thing about this squirrel was that he was struggling on his journey due to the load he was carrying — a miniature American flag attached to a dowel — that he had obviously swiped from a nearby grave. After much determination, he finally was successful in climbing a nearby tree to his nest, where I can only surmise he used the flag to make a cozy home. Since then, we have seen him participate in this act two more times — he must be creating a mansion in that tree.

At first, my reaction was along the lines of: “That little thief!” Then, after mulling it over, I realized that, within nature, one does what is needed to survive. Our little friend needed a warm and cozy home and the flags provided that for him. In what we call the marketing or advertising world, we act with that same thought process — it’s about problem solving or creating solutions from what we have to work with.

For instance, as the media buyer, I would love every client to tell me that the budget is unlimited — that we can use whatever is necessary to accomplish the goals set for the campaign. Realistically, however, that almost never happens. Clients realize that advertising is necessary to be competitive in the market, but the budgets are almost always lower than desired to achieve the results.

That’s when I must think like the squirrel.

How can I create a media plan that fulfills the established objectives and remain within the allotted budget? Just as the squirrel used accessible but unlikely materials to build his home, I have to search for accessible mediums that meet all criteria of target audience, gross rating points and budget requirements. It is all a matter of thinking outside the box to accomplish the goal and evaluating those unlikely sources that are becoming more readily available day by day.

We are moving quickly into a new generation of advertising and realizing that there are alternatives to getting a message out is imperative, but you must remain diligent in your research to ensure the selected method of advertising will have an impact. The squirrel showed initiative in realizing the flag, although not a traditional building material, would complement his nest. We need to also take this step in our advertising thought process and look for new and exciting opportunities that will also work in unison with the traditional media to enhance the campaign and achieve the results we so desire.

The moral: a little time out of your day to refresh, might just show you a new way of thinking — how to adapt. Nature does it. Why can’t we?