February 15, 2011

The True Top 50 of 2010

After careful analysis and research, I am finally posting my True Top 50 for all of 2010 ...

Now come all the caveats!

First, as before, the two key metrics used for this ranking are frequency and spending on the 75 rated national cable networks, and spending is given twice the weight of frequency. This is done to prevent campaigns that run a lot on the "cheaper" networks from getting an artificially high value.

Second, any spot shorter than two minutes was excluded from the analysis. To get to what's "true," we remove formats clearly designed to lose money on TV. Of course, it is impossible to separate out 120s that purposefully lose money, or we would do that as well.

Third, we applied several filters to get a list that is more relevant to the specific focus of this blog. For those who don't know what that is, or haven't really thought about it, it's short-form DRTV campaigns for hard goods (i.e. gadgets) that, if successful, will end up on retail shelves.

As in the past, that means we exclude campaigns for services instead of products. For this annual list and going forward, I have also started filtering out the following:

  1. Long-form campaigns airing short-form support

  2. "Hybrid" campaigns involving set budgets and/or "soft" metrics such as cost-per-lead

Although these types of DRTV marketing are certainly "true" in the broader sense, what I'm really saying is these campaigns are beyond my interest and expertise. For example, I have no way of determining whether a new Proactiv campaign will meet Guthy-Renker's definition of success, and I wouldn't be interested in writing about that even if I did.

All of these caveats and filters come from my dissatisfaction with the other rankings out there. To me, a top 50 ranking is lacking if half the year's hits are pushed off the list by companies who spend for reasons other than profitable CPOs. (Of course, even with my best efforts, this will be unavoidable to some degree.)

As always, I welcome your criticisms and suggestions for improvement.

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