Yorkshire Tea and On the Beach: Don’t think about traditional and digital media as an either/or

Yorkshire Tea’s marketing director says it’s wrong to frame conversations around traditional and digital channels as “or” rather than “and”.

Media Trends 2023Brands need to view digital and more traditional media channels as complementary to each other, rather than falling into the trap of viewing them as either/or, according to Yorkshire Tea’s marketing director Dom Dwight.

“It’s a mad suggestion that it should be an ‘or’ conversation, rather than an ‘and’ conversation,” he said, speaking at Marketing Week’s Festival of Marketing 2023 yesterday (5 October).

During the panel, which was conducted in partnership with Kantar, Dwight acknowledged that over the past few years Yorkshire Tea has built its success through brand campaigns primarily on TV, through its ‘Where Everything’s Done Proper’ campaign. However, part of the brand’s success has been activating across a number of channels, including those online.

“I feel like there’s a sort of brand universe with Yorkshire Tea, which you usually feel when you watch on TV, but you also feel that when you watch a piece of content online,” he said.

The brand’s use of its distinctive assets and its sense of humour across its media helps it maintain consistency while being able to tweak its tone of voice for different channels.

Yorkshire Tea deploys its channels in slightly different ways, Dwight said. When the brand achieved carbon-neutral status, for example, it used YouTube to reach consumers who might be more engaged by this green messaging, he said.

The combination of this smaller scale messaging and Yorkshire Tea’s big brand campaigns on TV creates a “wonderful synergy” for consumers on the receiving end of both messages, he said.

It’s a mad suggestion that it should be an ‘or’ conversation, rather than an ‘and’ conversation.

Dom Dwight, Yorkshire Tea

On the Beach CMO Zoe Harris agreed on the importance of using both digital and more traditional media such as TV. She added that it was easy to fall into the trap of thinking in an “either/or” way.

When asked whether digital media reached maturity as a brand building channel, she said: “I think the real skill is to work out how you use both to do different jobs that complement each other.”

The biggest change in the digital advertising space has been that the channels themselves have changed, Harris said. The rise of short-form video, for example, has allowed On the Beach to be “more reactive” to things online. The brand ensures it grounds this in points about it products.

Harris gave the example of educational “myth-busting” the brand posted on TikTok in the wake of the Turkey earthquakes to reassure travellers about the safety of the destination.

“As digital changes it gives us new opportunities,” she said, adding it gives marketers “another string to [their] bow”.

There’s certainly no set ratio for how brands should split their media spend between digital and more traditional channels, said Virgin Media O2 head of marketing performance Chris Love.

The brands under the Virgin Media O2 banner, although in the same broad sector, have different ratios of where media spend falls, he noted. The company uses econometrics to analyse the effectiveness of its spend and work out how it will spread its media budget.

This is a process that “should never stop” to ensure this budget is most effectively deployed across digital and traditional channels, he said.