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TV As A Restaurant Marketing Tool: (Still) Effective Or Not?

How effective are TV ads in this era of digital marketing? In a recent news story about Yum! Brand’s KFC, the restaurant chain is looking for ways to step up its TV advertising campaigns so that this media tool would make a stronger impact on the chain’s target market. The L.A. Times also reported a study which shows how TV ads influence children on what they eat, as well as the older generation.

We, of course, consider how digital marketing has forever changed our restaurant marketing efforts, it being the most efficient way to capture today’s restaurant consumers. But as this happens, we are left to wonder how effective are the other marketing tools, such as TV commercials, in influencing our target market.

KFC ‘s chief marketing officer Nikki Lawson divulged to Australia’s B&T Magazine earlier this month that KFC is pushing their advertising agencies to maximize the opportunities that they could get in media communication, most especially in terms of TV advertisements. The chain, whose expenses on main media in the past year amounted to a whopping $36.9 million, is willing to give more incentives to creative teams who can give them the best results.

In a related report from the L.A. Times, a study made by the Journal of Pediatrics showed that despite the rise of digital marketing, we should not underestimate the power of advertising to affect its audience, most especially the children. The study involved 75 kids in ages 3 to 8, where they were made to watch a cartoon show with different sets of restaurant TV commercials promoting healthful and unhealthful food items that can normally be found in the chain’s superior menu and outstanding table tents. Parents were then assigned to advise the children to choose the healthier food items. The parents apparently turned out to be with lesser power, as the children chose to ignore them and opted to get those that influenced them on TV.

That means that despite the enormous change that digital advertising has done to the landscape of traditional marketing; TV advertisements still hold its own and still have power over its own market. TV, despite the assumption of many, is far from being dead. It might not be as efficient as online ads, and the cost per impact might be more expensive and harder to measure, but still, when it is appropriately used, it remains to be one of the core communications that most advertisers believe in.

But TV ads are very expensive, we say. How about the less-expensive ones?

Nothing beats digital promotions, otherwise known as internet marketing —the use of the internet, mobile devices and social media–when it comes to cost-efficiency. Other than the fact that it is the best way to engage the restaurant industry’s most prized audience, the millennials, internet marketing provides the most efficient and most measurable way of targeting the market, with costs that are directly linked to results. Free social media pages can also be done to target the audience.

Restaurants can, of course, take a closer look at their own market and go for the traditional tools– banner ads, magazine ads, signage, flyers, giving out of samples, hosting of events and getting into public relations stunts. But doing all these efforts should not deter them in giving primary focus on digital marketing: developing their online presence and making the most of what the internet, smart phones and social media can do in boosting sales and revenue.