The 70|20|10 model for innovation in the media mix

Submitted by: Ulbe Jelluma 19/10/2015

In today’s fast changing media mix, brand owners and agencies need to constantly innovate to achieve the most effective combination of channels. A number of years ago the Coca-Cola Company developed the 70 | 20 | 10 investment principle for creative content. (Google uses the same approach for allocating workforce)




In it’s quest to double the size of its business by 2020 Coca-Cola would allocate its budget on the following basis:

  • 70% would support low risk “bread-and-butter” content


  • 20% would be used to innovate based upon what has worked in the past


  • 10% would fund high-risk content involving brand-new ideas

Now the research company Millward Brown suggest to apply the same principle to the allocation of media. This implies that the 70% share will include media such as magazine and newspaper advertising, TV, outdoor, customer magazines and radio. And depending on the category it can also include sponsorship, word-of-mouth, door drops or catalogues.

The second part, the 20%, refers to those media were innovations can work. Often it includes media that are well-known and used already. For example it might include adding Augmented Reality to existing catalogues, very much what IKEA did a number of years ago. It could also involve increasing the budget for magazine advertising when that has proven to be a highly effective medium in the mix. Many of the creative examples (e.g. Aldi customer magazine) we show on our website fall into this category,.

The last part, the 10% share of the budget, is the area of experimentation. This is the category of completely new channels in the media mix. For some brand owners this could involve online or mobile presence that would work in synergy with print advertising. It could also involve using a print channel for those brands that have not used print in the past. For example some of the digital-only brands that use print advertising or customer magazines.

The idea behind the 70 | 20 | 10 principle is simple and helps the brand owner and its agencies to focus better on the bread-and-butter media component of their budget and at the same time innovate with a limited budget and risk. With the creative potential print media offers there is plenty of innovation possible to fit into the 20% category. And of course for current non-print users, the experimentation category offers also opportunities when thinking of for example generating data with personalised print (e.g. Bild Zeitung and The Sun).