Over the last several years the Internet has begun to gain traction as a viable Advertising Medium, but a misconception arose that it was not only going to reduce TV viewing but how it was going to ultimately supplant TV as the Primary Advertising Medium for Children. As of now neither prediction has come close to fruition. First and foremost, TV viewing is actually higher in 2009 then it was in 2000, and continues to increase even though some segments of the populace are spending more time On-Line. What seems to have happened though is the Internet has enhanced the value and effectiveness of TV Advertising; especially with Children 6-11.
We have thus come to coin the term “Consumer Adoption Process”, the series of stages that the consumer goes through from the first moment that they are introduced to a product or concept, to ultimately the time that they make the product’s purchase. We will see how the new interaction between TV Advertising, and Internet Advertising may work in tandem to “Seal the Deal” on the product purchase decision.
So what is the Consumer Adoption Process? The CAP consists of Four Stages: Awareness of the product, Reinforcement of the message that creates more interest in the product, leading to Desire for the product, and finally with regard to children specifically, theTransference of the want of that product by the Child to an Adult who can then go out and make the purchase.
Traditionally TV Advertising had always been viewed as being able to accomplish the CAP when it came to children. What may be changing now that the Internet has begun to proliferate as a viable Media Option is that the role of TV Advertising is still the key force in making children aware of a product. It is also the primary force in reinforcing or creating interest in the product, due to the frequency of viewing the message over the course of a TV Flight. The role of TV in the CAP may be diminishing as the child goes through the next stages of Want and Desire, being now supplemented by the Internet due to its ability to immerse the child for longer periods of time into the message. In essence the child while exploring the various Web Sites that they frequent, can once again encounter the product, but now have the ability to immerse themselves deeper into the product giving them even more information which then leads to Want and Purchase. I have always believed that the real benefit of Advertising in general was that by creating awareness on a mass scale in effect accelerates the rate of sale, which then leads the seller to order more creating a shorter selling cycle. The inclusion of the Internet into the Media Mix seems to have significantly increased the efficiency of this process. The Child’s curiosity can be more quickly addressed, and the conversion of that potential prospect from just being interested to now becoming desirous and wanting as a purchaser can be exploited faster with the combination of both media options.
No other medium can rival TV for the speed, efficiency and depth of its ability to create awareness. The Internet has become the source of Information, and the two mediums working in tandem compliment each other. Marketers should recognize the nexus between TV and the Internet and should increase their efforts to integrate both mediums into their Media Plans, not trading off one against the other.