NEW YORK: Kraft, the food group, is seeking to move beyond ads alone to drive engagement with TV viewers, and is now adopting a more integrated approach using apps and exclusive online content.

The company has also adapted its approach to TV planning and recently shared some of the results in an Advertising Research Foundation webinar.

According to Kantar Media, the insights provider, Kraft was the biggest advertiser on network TV in the first quarter of 2012, but it is pursuing an increasingly nuanced strategy to augment such mainstream activity.

"What we also see is that even the most traditional channels like TV are evolving as a function of the technologies around them," Bonin Bough, Kraft's vice president, of global media and consumer engagement, told the Financial Times.

Bough pointed to apps like GetGlue, Viggle and Miso, letting mobile subscribers "check in" to programmes they are enjoying on TV, as well as Showyou, enabling friends to share links to content, and Klip, a sharing platform for user-generated video, as demonstrating this trend in action.

Kraft worked with Viggle on a campaign for Miracle Whip, the salad dressing, offering access to exclusive content during the 2012 Academy Awards, and is partnering with several broadcast networks on similar such schemes to run later this year.

"Our approach is to view media not just as a commodity but as an investment in the future of the company," said Bough. "And we see an opportunity to continue to maximise that investment."

“Whether you're buying TV ads or connecting with consumers on Twitter, what you take away from your media activity isn't just impressions," said Bough. "It is also about connecting with our audiences and that can be valued as an asset."

The impetus behind such moves has resulted from the rise of digital media, undermining traditional viewing patterns. Indeed, new research from Simulmedia suggested that up to 75% of TV ad impressions are attributable to only 20% of a brand's target audience.

Simulmedia, which is a targeted advertising provider, also stated that a TV campaign for Axe deodorant, made by Unilever, which ran in March did not even reach 60% of the intended demographic of 16–24 year olds, despite costing $6.3m.

Further figures posited that Progressive Insurance spent $31.9m on TV ads in June, but a fifth of people aged 20 years and above did not see any of its spots.

"Audience fragmentation has accelerated faster than the ad industry has evolved the way it buys, sells and packages TV ad campaigns," said  Dave Morgan, chief executive of Simulmedia.

Lyle Schwartz, managing partner at GroupM, the media buying arm of WPP Group, argued set-top box data could offer enhanced solutions. "We don't have to use a shotgun approach to reach consumers," he said. "It can be more like a scalpel."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff