Only a decade ago TV advertising was seen as the crème de la crème of marketing. You’d made it if your ad was on the TV and you could sit back and watch the money roll in.
Even if your ad wasn’t as iconic as Smash, Milk or Hovis it was still guaranteed (almost) to reach thousands of people depending on your time slot.
Now, the figures are hit and miss as many factors have to be taken into consideration and despite big brands still investing in TV advertising, many have reduced their budget for it dramatically understanding it will be better spent elsewhere.
The new age of television means that few people have to endure TV adverts, this is because:
- Sky Plus allows for fast forward while On Demand obliterates them altogether for uninterrupted viewing. Sky also have box sets where viewers can download full series without adverts.
- More people now stream programmes from the internet from iPlayer to Netflix
- Although controversial many people do illegally download films and overseas TV
- With broadband providing TV options, many are now turning away from paid TV and relying solely on an internet connection for on screen entertainment instead.
Although the average hours spent watching TV shows, films, documentaries and shows hasn’t dwindled, the way we choose to do it has diversified. The viewer now has control over when they watch their favourite programmes, how and from which device.
With it no longer being the norm to sit down and watch at the time specified by the TV guide, adverts are overlooked, often fast forwarded and viewed as an unwelcome distraction. Children will still watch the ads, yet adults find many ways to avoid them even if it means delaying the start of a program for ten minutes so they have the option to skip.
Stand Out Adverts
This been said, some ads still break the mould and capture attention. The ones that achieve this are spread all over social media and shared between friends. These are generally the work of a creative genius making them standalone pieces of entertainment or they’re accidently offensive or risqué.
For instance, the two that stand out from the past twelve months are:
- Flora – The marketing team at Flora decided to add a little humour yet they didn’t consider the mumsnet brigade. Their family friendly advert involved the children catching their parents “wrestling” in bed on a Sunday morning. It was soon removed and replaced with one that didn’t refer to sex.
- John Lewis – Through sheer quality John Lewis have managed to create Christmas TV ads that their customers look forward to. They don’t skimp on the budget as they use very popular vocal artists along with creative minds that see the genius in simplicity.
TV Advert Marketing Trends
As an advertising copywriter, I’ve noticed strategies over the decades employed by brands to make their ads stand out. The most popular routes are:
- The Regular Characters (Storyboard) – Gold Blend and BT excelled at this in the nineties as viewers began looking forward to the next instalments.
- The Slogan – Finger of and You’ve Been Tangoed are slogans we’ll all remember
- The Earworm – If an advert leaves you with a song you can’t stop singing it has won! Think of Bodyform and Mr Soft. (Sorry)
- The Catchphrase –Whatsuuupppp or I’m a secret lemonade drinker
- The Gorgeous Woman/ Man – Lynx are very good at this, as are Harpic toilet bleach, although my favourite has to be Gossard.
- The National geographic Style Scenery – Think Alpen, Swiss Mountains.
- The Cultured – Some become works of art, exploring cultures and opening eyes while selling products.
- The Absurd – Some are so absurd they’re impossible to ignore. Recently Iron- Bru have held this title
- The Celebrity – Some believe a celebrity is enough to sell a product, that and a free pen!
Looking back on the many TV ads, it seems a shame that we don’t watch them much anymore but there is still a place for them.
Where Do TV Ads Go?
TV ad placements are now more creative to combat this change. Instead of offering slots in the middle of programmes, they now have a range of options for you to air your ad.
YouTube is obviously a huge platform for ads and many are placed before a popular video airs with the option to skip being presented after so many seconds have run.
Sponsorship of shows is now more than a slogan or simple static screen. Whole ads are split into sections so they’re impossible to miss before and after the break. Clever marketers also weave them in seamlessly with the programme so even with the power of a Sky Plus remote control, it takes exceptional skill to skip them completely.
TV ads may be dwindling but they are far from dying, they’re just adapting to change although many would disagree as I found when I came across this debate on Is TV Advertising Dying?
I’d love to hear your views as always!
Images: ”isolated old vintage television with empty screen/ Shutterstock.com“
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