Just Eat and Gumtree on why online brands should not rush to TV advertising

Strong agency partners and being operationally ready are key to making a successful foray into TV advertising.

Just Eat and Gumtree have urged online brands not to rush to TV advertising until they’re ready, as it could lead to consumer frustration and set the brand back.

Speaking at a Thinkbox event today (23 February), Just Eat’s UK marketing director Ben Carter spoke about how TV “transformed the business” after establishing itself as a digital disruptor in the food space.

New research by Thinkbox shows online businesses invested £639m in TV during 2016, an 8% increase year on year. Top spenders included Comparethemarket and Amazon.

Carter admitted that the first time the brand went on TV in 2010 it “didn’t work”, as the business was not ready operationally and did not have enough restaurant partners available, leading to customer disappointment.

While it’s tempting to go on TV, don’t go too early because you will set yourself back.

Ben Carter, Just Eat

“There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than going ‘I’ve never used Just Eat, I’ve gone online and then there’s no restaurants in my area. I’m never going to use Just Eat again’,” he said.

“While it’s tempting to go on TV, don’t go too early because you will set yourself back.” 

As a result, the brand decided to come off national TV and build the brand region by region. Then in 2014, it returned to national TV with its ‘Mini fist pump’ campaign, which he said “supercharged business growth” and took brand awareness “to the next level”.

Carter claims Just Eat has seen brand awareness increase by a third since its September rebrand, with TV advertising helping to drive that increase. Just Eat is now looking to capitalise on this by moving consumers further down the sales funnel.

Just Eat

Hannah Wilson, head of marketing at Gumtree, takes a similar view when it comes to TV advertising. The online brand predominantly uses the channel for mass reach and “mental availability” – which refers to the probability that a buyer will notice, recognise and think of a brand in buying situations. She claims TV advertising also provides the brand with a level of trust.

“People say: ‘I saw you on TV, so you must be a real company’ – that’s very important,” she said.

She believes digital brands should not rush onto TV until they are ready, and that having strong agency relationships is key to success.

“You need to make sure that they get your brand and what you’re trying to deliver. This means you can’t rush it. The agency needs to understand your business. We work on a quarterly and not annual basis, so we need our media-buying agency to be flexible and conscious of our business needs,” she said.

When asked for her thoughts on the recent negative headlines around digital advertising and its lack of transparency, Wilson once again reiterated the importance of having close working relationships with agency partners.

“[Digital] is almost like a toddler industry. A bit like Twitter, it needs to grow up to some extent. All channels have their issues, I think it’s something that will be more transparent [as time goes on],” she told Marketing Week.

“It plays a key part in our overall strategy. It’s about working with the right people, ensuring that you’re not five [people] removed from what you’re actually buying digitally, that could potentially come back to haunt you.”



There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Joanna F.E 27 Feb 2017

    Just Eat and Gumtree are telling agencies something that makes a lot of sense. If a company can not successfully advertise on smaller platforms than tv, then they will not be successful when they transition to the bigger platform. I find it interesting that there is research to back up this assertion when it almost seems like common sense. I like that fact that the article mentions the quote by Ben Carter, stating that customers become frustrated when they are shown an advertisement that deals with a product or brand that is not offered anywhere near them. This has happened several times to be before and it’s completely true. Spanning an advertisement to all available outlets/channels will do more harm than good. It just makes sense that if you’re advertising on a broad spectrum, it defeats the purpose of research for a target market. It takes away the effectiveness of the add and the overall possible success of it. The mention of digital media/advertising is something that really caught my attention. “Digital is almost like a toddler industry.” Advertising has been around a very long time but the new platform of digital has not. To me, it’s always been around but in an industry with such a long history such as advertising, it makes sense that people are still trying to learn how digital advertising works.

  2. Jim Norris 27 Feb 2017

    I would not go near Just Eat because their revenue derives from higher prices in the restaurants they service. If it does not deliver itself I don’t use it = if it does I do. Motto? Don’t sub contract and charge me more – it’s a brand killer!

Leave a comment