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Media and Advertising Flourished in General Elections Year By DR. M.

Gunawan Alif* A peacefully general election once again has been held in Indonesia in 2009, and the incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono occupied his second term in the office. This time he went to the office with a new Vice President Budiono, a former Economic Coordinator Minister in Yudhoyonos first cabinet who then move as Chairman to the Indonesian Central Bank. Road to the presidency was not easy any more with many parties competing for the seat, representing the very fragmented voters in the urban and rural areas in so many islands of diverse archipelago of Indonesia. Not only they must vote for the President and Vice President but also for the many candidates for member of the Congress, who many of them they really didnt know. For sure this was a key driver of the important of political marketing and advertising to persuade voters to choose their true candidate. In their effort to win the competition, the parties involved have been used sophisticated political marketing methods with the help of pollsters, spin-doctors, image consultants, ad agencies, and public relations counselors. It would be a growing industry and a new discipline in Indonesia to help the political parties and persons to be favorable in the eyes of the voters. No doubt, the advertising spending (ad-spend) for government and political institution category sit in number two of biggest adspend category with Rp 3.64 trillion in spending. For instance, Golkar Party spent Rp 303 billion in advertising for their congressmen and especially for their presidency candidate Yusuf Kalla. Although Golkar got 106 members to make a second biggest in Congress, they had failed for presidency. Democrat Party spent Rp 161 billion for their congressmen and presidency and really has a windfall return with 148 members, the biggest members in Congress and also a seat of the president. For all three president and vice president candidates, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono-Budiono; Yusuf Kalla-Wiranto; and Megawati-Prabowo; the total ad-spend they have been used not less than Rp 307 billion. Arguably this competitive political situation that made many media activists dishonor the idea of cross ownership of media. They afraid that some of politician figures that own media network will use the medium for their own political interest. The sign of this malpractice have been gradually seen for the public. Fortunately, in a country where people are enjoying the euphoria of democracy following the 1998 reform, Indonesians have now more choices and therefore the ability to use the media for their own interest.

Of course, the audience is not in total control over how they use the media. Reception theory says that the way the audience interprets the media will vary depending on individual mood and personality. It not only relies on participatory function of the audience but also argues thats a person predisposition will greatly affect its interpretation of the media intention. For whatever reason, when many categories of product ad-spend went flat or contracted in 2009, the political advertising budget that poured to the industry brings some help to the media. At the year when the impact of subprime mortgage collapsed still hovering and brings recession in many parts of the world, the political funds for above and below the line activities really distribute a significant amount of money that could rise the consumption spending. Imagine how many political T-shirts, banners, flags, billboards, and printed materials have been produced for disseminating the information about the parties and their representatives. This activities injected fresh money to the publics, not including the funds to bring voters to the campaign fields and to lock them to vote for sponsored political persons or parties. In return the funds helps the Indonesian economy revolving. At the end, this will bring confidence to the brand owners to keep spending on advertising and push 16.5 percent growth of ad-spend compared to last year. With the total ad-spend in 2009 as big as Rp 45 trillion, this growth was large enough for many main streams media, especially for television and newspaper. But not for a very segmented and niches media, especially for magazines and tabloids. Big bonuses and discounts in television The top four TV stations will always in the dynamic competition, and still, RCTI keeps its position at the top with revenue of Rp 4 trillion. But the fiercest competition was decreasing the percentage of its revenue from 15.1 percent in 2006 to 14.9 percent (2007), 13.8 percent (2008) and 13.5 percent in 2009. Its revenue dilution was the effect of aggressive move of Trans TV that strongly occupied the number two spot starting from 2008, and in 2009 gets a 0.4 percent share shy compared to RCTI. At third, SCTV also shows a decreasing percentage trend that mean they must innovate to bring back their strong position as number two at the year of 2005 and 2007. Luckily, although the competition was fiercest TPI could maintain it stable number four position. One thorough analysis must be done in seeing Metro TV ad revenue in number ten spot. With only Rp 1,2 trillion-recorded ad revenue, supposedly the station get more than that because of so many sponsored programs that Metro sold to other parties. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to measured. All of revenue data is grossed because Nielsen Media Research

(NMR) just measures it based on rate card of media, and didnt take the calculation of discount and bonus. Heavy discounts and bonuses are more common now in the fierce competition among the media to get clients money. For instance, Alif (2006) finds that although ad revenue data from NMR/Media Scene for RCTI as big as Rp 2.64 trillion, the financial audited report of the company just disclose of ad revenue not more than Rp 1.26 trillion. This explains that RCTI was giving bonuses and discounts large enough, more than 50 percent for advertising spending. If RCTI as one of the leading stations provide big quantity discounts and bonuses, we can imagine what other TV stations must be done if they didnt have a strong bargaining power. The top ten-brand ad-spend in television dominated by cellular telecommunication providers, especially the challenger brands. Axis for instance was a latecomer in the industry; sit as a top spender with Rp 291 billion ad-spend, followed by 3 (Three) in number three positions with Rp 281 billion ad-spend, and XL (Excelcomindo) in number four, with Rp 261.5 billion. Indosat M3 at number six with Rp 230 billion, and Telkomsel at number ten with Rp 184 billion. All of this shows the hyper-competition in the industry with more than ten cellular players involved. Looking at the top ten ad-spender, Aqua sits at number two with Rp 289.5 billion ad-spend. This bold move was a clear sign that Aqua was trying hard to reinforce its brand among its competitors. With so many proliferation of water bottle producers around the archipelago, not including the cheap water gallon producers, Aqua as the first mover in this category must work hard to make their brand still relevant to have a premium from the consumer. In the contrary, a challenger, Sedaap instant noodle once again made a boost in ad-spend with heavy Rp 216 billion. This is a brave move that before helps the brand steal a significant market share from market leader Indomie when the latter was late in making a counter-attack. When Indomie then ready to make an heavy shot, Sedaaap just playing safe in defending their position, and waiting for a good time for another attack. Sedaap made it again in 2009, outspending Indomie that only have Rp 157.6 billion in ad-spend. Within this competition, the life of Indomie groups that before control almost 86 percent instant noodle market share will never be same anymore. In this country televisions still a darling medium among the marketing and ad practitioners. It is very true especially for the Indonesian who loves to sit in front of television compared to read a newspaper or magazine. It is a fair consequence that television still gets the biggest 62 percent of advertising pie. Just one percent shy

compared to one year ago. With a total of billing of Rp 29.88 trillion, television bring heavy expose of advertising albeit clutter to the medium. Still, TV helps in persuade consumer to buy the brands and to make distributors and reseller ready for stocking the products that heavy advertised in television. That is why relatively new products like Mizone, a special mineral water, and Minute Maid juice put heavy ads in television to make their brand perceived well in the mind of the consumers. The local newspaper flourishing Ad-spend in newspaper was growing to 35 percent from 26 percent five years ago. This growth was the fruit of newspaper proliferation in many provinces and districts in Indonesia, inline with the progress of regional autonomy. Within regional autonomy many social and economical policies have been decided in the local administration, including funding allocation that helps boost the economic development in the area. Compared to the time before Indonesian reform in 1998, all activities in the region now are very dynamic and encouraged the local leaders, government executives, and academics to come up utilize imaging and publicity. Furthermore they also use advertising to attract the attention of their constituents. Coupled with growing economic activities, not surprising that the local papers are able to obtain a substantial ads revenue. For Instance, other than top national newspaper like Kompas, Jawa Pos, Media Indonesia and Seputar Indonesia, the most ad revenue behind them mostly come to local newspapers. Sriwijaya Post (based at Palembang, South Sumatera), Manado Post (Manado, North Sulawesi), Jambi Independent (Jambi), Rakyat Bengkulu (Bengkulu), Sumatera Ekspres (Palembang), Radar Lampung (Lampung), Kaltim Post (Samarinda, East Kalimantan) were ahead of many more mature Java based newspapers on ads revenue. Many of these local newspapers own by the group of two biggest newspaper Kompas and Jawa Pos. Kompas and Jawa Pos themselves were losing their total percentage point in ad revenue from 13.8 percent to 11 percent and from 6.2 percent to 5.1 percent. In the contrary, their nearest competitor Media Indonesia and Seputar Indonesia slightly better with increasing percentage point from 2.7 percent to 3.0 percent and from 2.5 percent to 2.7 percent. This finding for sure was an alarming sign for both top newspapers in managing product and pricing strategy to make them still relevant to the advertisers. At the time when advertisers have difficult decision because of media inflation and the escalation of marketing communication budget, advertisers with the help of media specialists will always looking for a medium that will give

them a real benefits: a specific medium that really gives a bang with the bucks. The pressure of competition among newspapers in some area absolutely is very competitive. For example, Yogyakarta region was a battle of newspapers, where the dominance of over five decades old Kedaulatan Rakyat must compete with such national newspapers, Kompas, Jawa Pos, Media Indonesia and Republika, as well as new local newspapers from the group of Jawa Pos and Bisnis Indonesia. Of course this condition is very challenging for Kedaulatan Rakyat who must consolidating its management after the chairman passed away. Similar challenges also must be faced for Suara Merdeka in Semarang and Pikiran Rakyat in Bandung. Government and political organization were the biggest ad spender in newspaper, followed by communication equipment and services; corporate ads and social services; motorcycles and scooters; real estate; banking and financial institution; formal education; ad agency and media; and hospital and medication. The growth is too small for too many magazines In magazines, proliferation of so many titles and themes are available to cater specific need of readers but make it very difficult to obtain enough ads revenue. This is really true when the growth of ads revenue in magazine is only 5.6 percent compared to 22.6 percent of newspaper or 13.9 percent for television. It is only one magazine in top ten leagues that didnt have decreased percentage point of ads revenue. Almost all magazine shows decreasing percentage revenue in total. For instance Tempo magazine that sit at the top league and in 2008 got 9.9 percent of magazine ads revenue, is going down to 8.6 percent. Femina at the second position also down from 8.2 percent to 7.9 percent. All of magazine ad revenue shows the trend of decreasing or flat. It is mean that the growth of ad revenue absorbed by other new magazines that always keep on coming, replacing the one that closed or bankrupt. The top ten leagues are in domination of Femina groups that put four of their title. Tempo news magazine still at the top followed by female magazines Femina, Cosmopolitan, Dewi, news magazine Gatra, lifestyle magazine Harpers Bazaar, business magazine Globe Asia, Swa, teen magazine Gadis, and parenting magazine Ayah Bunda. At least the local magazine could compete with gorgeous foreign title as Cosmopolitan or Harpers. But with more than 400 magazine titles in circulation the ad pie is too small to make all gorged. Not surprisingly, the magazine publishing was alternating between prosperous and bankrupt. With only 8.3 percent growth, tabloid publishing also has the same problem with magazine in effect of the proliferation of the

publication. Nova owned by Kompas-Gramediastill dominate the ad-pie with Rp 140.6 billion, followed by Nyata owned by Jawa Pos with Rp 57.6 billion. Kompas-Gramedia also very strong in this category and has five of their titles at the top ten tabloid biggest adrevenue. More promotional tools and alternatives media available Ad-spend figures above do not take into account other promotional funds that also enliven the marketing communications industry. Absolutely, there were more promotional funds outside the conventional triangle advertiser-media-advertising agency. Advertising production sector, for example, providing employment for many talents who have their own specific specialization. Starting from the talents & property, lighting men, producers, cameramen, up to film director. A large commercial film production can sometimes involve more parties, ranging from helicopter and luxury car rentals, to cruise ships. To create print ads and billboards many parties also involved, ranging from photographers, digital imaging specialists, up to a specialist in digital movie making and printing. There was a Minister of Information decree that endorsed the entire commercial film production job must be done by the Indonesian. This decree was based of the idea to give the Indonesian practitioners more experience in film producing so it could help leverage their craftsmanship. Unfortunately without a strong enforcement, this decree never gives any effect. Most expatriate directors and DOP still in charge in directing big budget commercials in Indonesia. For simple reason, clients have more belief to them because of they experience. With this kind of advantage, not a handful of Indonesians director could really compete with them. Other medium, the exhibition, was also becoming an important channel to address the marketing communications of marketers in several categories. Gaikindo Indonesia Auto Show is very important to encourage sales of cars and motorcycles, as well as a great place to launch new products. For products such as property, books, computers, hospitals, universities, agricultural and business-tobusiness products, the exhibition is a great place to match the product to the target audience. All of this gives way to many important exhibitions that take place either in Jakarta Convention Centre, or in Jakarta Fairs Hall in Kemayoran. When communication through mere advertising no longer enough, as the market continues to become fragmented, more players come up to support or complement the pursuit of marketing communications industry. The most trendy these days is the presence of what they refer to as brand activation. Although its activities before was referred to as bottom-line activities, brand activation continues to perform an increasingly sophisticated

method and execution to hook the attention of the target audience. Bango soy sauce for instance smartly invited many of the famous food hawkers from many parts of Indonesia in an Indonesian traditional food gathering. Many consumers who come to the event will enjoy a really good food and they will easily associate it with Bango. This association was very important for Bango that only have a strong market in capital city of Jakarta. In many parts of the country there were many local soy sauce that made many local food hawkers famous. This is why Bango, now own by Unilever, trying hard to change the perception. When Marlboro Black was launched, a special event Marlboro Trail Hunt Feel the Rush was held at the Jakarta Kota art-deco style train station. When the last train departed, it was time for Marlboro to make the place as a rave party scene. Ticket booth at the north wing is no longer sells train ticket, but they specialized in selling party tickets. Not everyone can order party tickets, only those who previously had to download a password and username on a special portal that can be entered. Marlboro brand manager Veronica Risariyana said, Marlboro choice fell to the station because the old station's has a unique architecture. "Absolutely this will provide a separate experience compared with party at the club," she said. She hopes the party experience will build a bonding among Marlboro Black with the audience. This just two example on how much brand activation developed in this country. Marketers with the help of their agencies and brand activation specialists now developing more sophisticated brand activities to make their brands closer to its target audience, in the hope to make brand bonding with the activation of brand experience. Cell and online are also inroads as an important media for marketing communications. It is very true especially for younger audience who very keen online or playing with their latest cellphone gadgets. One brand, Bask, for instance, uses viral communications to build awareness among its young target audience prior on launching the product. The viral campaign was very success in building awareness. Unfortunately because the lack of really integrated campaign, the product failed to move the target audience to buy the product. The surprise message that beautifully crafting didnt bring the strong reason to buy the product. In the integrated marketing communications (IMC) era, it is not simply integrating online and offline together. As stressed by Schultz (2010: 20), The switch to totally integrated, inbound and outbound, push and pull, digital and analog system is required. Consumers have already crossed that chasm. When the hyper-competition era is here to stay, it is the time

when marketers must see marketing communications the way consumers see it: holistic, integrated, and always available. No doubt, marketers job is now becoming increasingly difficult, but for the creative marketers it is also more challenging and always fun. * DR M. Gunawan Alif ( was a lecturer for branding, consumer behavior and integrated marketing communications at Graduate School of Management, University of Indonesia and Binus Business School. He has 20 years experience as practitioners in media and marketing communications.

Reference: Alif, M. Gunawan (2006), Pentingnya Kandungan Isi (The Important of Content), Cakram Fokus, 12. Schultz, Don E. (2010), New, Newer, Newest: Evolving Stages of IMC, Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications.