The unthinkable has happened. Your ad for a children’s toy somehow ended up on an adult website. Or they ran last year’s ad with the wrong dates and prices. Maybe your print ad is pixilated so bad it’s barely readable. Unfortunately, in the world of advertising, this happens occasionally. The good news is there is recourse. Networks, publications, and websites rarely give advertisers refunds. Instead they offer a make-good. Make-goods are free adjustments or credits given for ad errors, ratings or impression shortfalls. These replacements are at least equal to the original ad buy and usually issued by re-running the ad in a replacement position or spot. A recent trend has networks streaming ads on digital sites like Hulu as a make-good when they don’t have the on-air inventory to spare. They don’t want to lose advertisers and will sometimes offer upgraded replacements to keep the advertiser happy. The digitally streamed make-goods are often for higher rated shows. Occasionally, some networks will provide more re-run ads for the price of the ones purchased to make good on the mistake.
It takes more than being unhappy with an ad’s results to qualify for a make-good. For print, the ad must be a printing error or it must be positioned in a different place than what was contracted for by the advertiser. In broadcast and digital advertising it’s trickier. An advertiser can demand a make-good if the program receives lower ratings or impressions than what was contracted for. If you paid for a premium daypart with a large audience and high ratings, and your ad ends up in late night with the infomercials, this can be grounds for a make-good. Preemptions are another common cause of make-goods. From time to time, stations and networks have to break in during programming to air a presidential announcement or high-profile news story. If your ad is impacted by preemption or one of the above reasons, contact your sales rep, media buyer or station to negotiate a make-good.
All is not lost when a bad ad placement happens. Take advantage of mutually beneficial resolutions and look forward to getting the next ad placement right!