Lean The Virtual Creative Agency

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Broadcasting your
message to the masses

Mention advertising and most people's thoughts will immediately turn to television. It's probably the most powerful mass medium there is, bringing advertisers straight into the homes of millions of people every day.

Commercials bombard us every day, selling everything from breakfast cereals to cars and finance to fashion. Major brands parade their wares with lavish productions, amusing, confusing and irritating us in equal measure. And we pretend not to notice, claiming it has no influence on our buying decisions. But if that were true, would big businesses really be throwing their money away just to be on the box?

And it's not just the top names that use TV. More and more businesses are using the medium strategically to boost sales.

Does TV advertising work? Undoubtedly.

Is it right for you? Well, that all depends...

Special considerations

TV advertising gives you the benefit of bringing your product to life with moving images and dynamic sound. Anything is possible, from creating a living fantasy world centred around your product to straightforward demonstrations. It's just a question of budget.

Production costs – actually making the commercial – are usually the biggest stumbling block for most clients.

Targeting is another issue. TV is a mass medium that allows you to reach vast numbers of people. That can mean a lot of 'waste' if you're just trying to influence a small, core market.

Enlightenment or entertainment?

Every day, advertisers interrupt our favourite TV programmes to sell us everything from cornflakes to cars and finance to furniture. We go and make a cup of tea, fast forward through the commercial break or try not to pay any attention, yet somehow, their message still gets through.

Advertisers realise we see the ads as an inconvenience – that's why they go to a lot of effort to make watching them entertaining. Humour, mini-dramas, music, impossible settings, improbable characters, famous faces all combine to grab our attention.

TV is part of our everyday lives and has a great deal of power, informing our ideas and colouring our opinions. We relax in front of the TV and escape into another world. It's no surprise that emotionally-based campaigns outperform rational, factual messages – we find them easier to relate to.

For the right advertiser, TV still delivers better value than any other advertising medium in terms of Return on Investment.

Take a break

Standard commercials run between and during programmes and usually consist of 20, 30, 40 or 60-second spots. These are bought in groups to deliver repeated opportunities for your target audience to see them over a set period of time.

Infomercials usually feature on daytime TV and offer a mini-programme, allowing products to be demonstrated and explained in great detail. These usually feature a direct response phone number allowing viewers to order instantly.

Another popular form of TV advertising is sponsorship, linking the product or brand with a specific programme or series. Depending on the programme, this can often work out cheaper in the long run.

Product placement is also growing in popularity, where your brand or product actually appears in the context of the programme.

Tuning in to your market

There are two main types of a TV advertiser: high-profile, image- conscious brands that need to keep awareness levels maximised and their name on our collective shopping lists (big brands and fast moving consumer goods); and those who want to generate an immediate reaction to an event or occasion (retail chains/Sale now on). Then there are a whole range of smaller, independent advertisers who do a little bit of both.

TV is a mass medium, so targeting tends to be quite limited. Airtime is sold by region through different stations, allowing some broad geographical focus, but this can be tightened even further through timing and planning your commercials around certain programmes. Morning TV, Daytime TV and off-peak all deliver different audience profiles, while Prime Time (6.00pm – 10.30pm) obviously offers you the widest viewing at the highest cost.

More choice means lower cost

With the growth of online advertising taking a big share of the pie and the explosion of satellite and digital commercial channels, viewers are faced with a mind-boggling choice of programmes and ways to view them.

The result is that while veiwers are being more selective about what they watch and when, they aren't watching any less. In fact, viewing has increased with people in the UK watching an average of over 17 hours of commercial TV per week. There are also more people choosing to watch commercial TV, with its share of audience increasing to 64%.

For advertisers, this has actually resulted in airtime being the cheapest it has been for decades. This has attracted lots of new advertisers who previously would have dismissed the medium as too expensive.

Production values

Heavy TV production costs have long been one of the most offputting factors for any advertiser trying the medium for the first time, but this is changing too. Big glossy commercials still cost big bucks, but for the more modest advertiser most TV companies now offer attractive package deals for airtime that includes studio-based production.



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