In a world where advertising is decided by data, impressions and attention, it would make sense to start here when arguing the absurdity of our industry’s metro-centric view of advertising.
Yet, whilst the numbers do indeed tell a story about just how important it is to advertise to regional Australia, it is Boomtown Chair’s Brian Gallagher’s own personal experience in ad land which best tells the tale.
Most in the industry will be familiar with Gallagher’s recent career moves – he spent 8 years as chief sales officer at radio giant SCA before stepping down in August this year. He has been chairperson of Boomtown since 2019 and is also a board member of AusCycling.
However, it was early on in his career that his passion for regional advertising was ignited.
Growing up in Maitland, a city just outside of Newcastle, Gallagher said he got a shock when he arrived in Sydney as a rep for NBN Television only to find that, essentially, no one in ad land cared about regional.
“I’m cruising into the advertising agencies to talk about campaigns and I couldn’t believe it. I could not believe it. People said to me: ‘regionals? Not on the schedule”.
Gallagher was indignant: “but I use that product, why don’t I deserve to be advertised to?” he said at the time.
Thankfully, it is a bias he vowed to set straight.
He has gone on to become one of the industry’s biggest regional flag-flyers – “I could bore you to tears with the amount of successful conversations I’ve had with brand management about changing their attitude to regional” he says.
Big Business For Brands
And the data is indeed a powerful tool in challenging this misconceptions – a total of 9.6 million Aussies live in regional Australia and it makes up a third of the advertising market’s size in terms of market cap.
Brands that do opt to advertise to regional Australians stand to make big gains – last year Telstra-owned budget mobile phone company Belong won B&T’s Best Regional Media Campaign at the B&T Awards after it used regional advertising to increase uplift in 5 out of 8 of its target markets.
As a result, it has now pledged to spend 30 per cent of its budget on regional campaigns.
This year, Boomtown revealed a fresh campaign – Uncapped and Untapped – that focused on reaching the brands themselves rather than just the agencies.
The campaign features the thoughts of an impressive roster of CMOs including Suncorp’s Mim Haysom, Arnott’s Jenni Dill and Flight Centre’s Clinton Hearne. It showcases their own innovative approaches to reaching the regional markets.
“It’s really talking about the benefit to the advertiser as opposed to the benefit to the media platform,” Gallagher says of the campaign.
“It’s bringing attention to the fact that if you haven’t previously been investing in regional audiences, you’ve probably been missing a few customers.”
It is important for vendors to reach the brands themselves, and not just the agencies, Gallagher adds.
“In advertising agencies people have got a lot of agendas, a lot of things to do, a lot of work to get through, and a lot of different vendors chasing them for their time,” he says.
“I have found that it’s very effective to advocate to the agency buyer from both sides of the fence.”
“It never ever hurts to have the advertising clients themselves aware and vocal about the value of your platform to the business,” Gallagher finishes.
You can find out more about Untapped and Uncapped HERE.