Television Remains The Most Effective Advertising Medium

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Just how effective is TV advertising? Payback 4 is a study published by the market insight company Ebiquity in 2014 that found TV advertising provides an average return of £1.79 for every £1.00 invested.


Despite significant changes in technology and viewing habits TV shows a profit increase of 5% since the 2008-11 period of the earlier Payback 3 study. TV advertising remains the most effective form of advertising, and creates the most profit for the brands that invest in it.
The Payback 4 report – which focuses on TV advertising effectiveness – highlights the continuing effectiveness of the medium is largely because of television’s ‘halo effect’ which improves the performance of other forms of advertising. The halo effect is not only proven to lift the profile of other media, it has also demonstrated to lift the sales of products which are not featured in the advertising – i.e. if a beauty brand advertises shampoo, sales of its deodorant or moisturiser also benefit from the campaign.
We know from many of our clients that the television commercial is the linchpin of a campaign from which the radio, newspapers, magazines and direct mail hang. TV builds brand-awareness and recall which raises the perceived profile of advertising in other mediums during the same period. Press, Social Media and Search are all greatly enhanced by the kick-start and continuing visibility that television brings to a cross-media marketing push. TV advertising also massively increases online searches for the advertiser, the Payback 4 study showed an increase in branded search traffic of 33% per rating point since the 2008-11 Payback 3 study. Most positively the study found that the greatest beneficiary of the halo effect was to radio campaigns running during the same period, where effectiveness is increased by a whopping 100%.
Amid the negative forecasts for the future, the study has shown how advertising has performed in recent years against a landscape of such a major financial downturn.
Television advertising was shown to have delivered the most profit, creating on average a return of £1.79 for every £1.00 invested. This compares to £1.48 for radio, £1.40 for press, £1.06 for static online display, and £0.45 for outdoor advertising. Neil Mortensen, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox reinforces the study’s findings, “Advertisers instinctively know that TV advertising works but we must make sure we continue to prove it. Ebiquity’s study does exactly that. Our task now is to share this important information with businesses and show them that no other form of advertising creates more profit than TV.”
In addition to these findings bucking the trend of the economy, other findings showed that television is 2.5 times more effective in creating sales uplift per equivalent exposure than press, which is the next best-performing medium. Ebiquity’s database, which was drawn on to compile the report, measured the effect of advertising across 3,000 models, 9 categories and more than 100 UK clients. Television was found on average to be responsible for 71% of attributable sales, yet only accounted for 55% of ad spend.
Andrew Challier, Effectiveness Practice Leader at Ebiquity, describes the continuing confidence in broadcast advertising, “TV is weathering a perfect storm of economic downturn and increased competition from emerging media. Its unrivaled effect on sales and profit and its profound influence on other media make TV advertising both the most effective form of advertising and a powerful ally to other media and marketing mechanics, both on and offline.”
How effective is TV advertising? Simple – it’s the most effective!
Sky+ HD box with Sky AdSmart technology.

Sky AdSmart – Beginner’s Guide to TV Advertising

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Sky AdSmart can serve different ads to individual Sky households. When a customer’s profile matches attributes selected by an advertiser, the Sky+ HD box will seamlessly substitute a more appropriate commercial.


What is Sky AdSmart? Imagine being able to insert a television commercial for your local business into a carefully selected group of Sky channels with specific appeal to your target demographic, without having to buy a traditional national campaign. Imagine being able to show a commercial for a special local offer to selected postcodes, age-brackets, or household incomes. How about only showing a commercial advertising dog food to homeowners who own a dog; or an insurance ad only to homeowners whose policy is due for renewal? Imagine the cost-savings associated with such targeted advertising.
All of this is now possible. Sky AdSmart can serve different ads to different Sky households watching the same programme, at the same time. The delivery method takes advantage of Sky+HD boxes – now the majority of Sky’s installed receivers – which will store commercials that have been downloaded via the satellite stream. When a customer’s profile matches attributes selected by an advertiser, the box will seamlessly substitute the more appropriate commercial. The Sky+HD box becomes a dynamic ad server.
At a recent business networking event I was evangelically spreading the word about Sky AdSmart and found it to be greeted – from those in advertising – with wide eyes and genuine excitement. Despite the enthusiasm I also talked to a couple of sceptics, “I never watch the ads, I just grab the remote and skip right past them.” I’m sure anyone in the television commercials business can associate with that line of conversation, and no amount of solid statistical evidence will ever convince refuseniks that they are actually in a very small minority. Sky AdSmart has a pleasing feature to finally silence those naysayers. If a viewer skips more than 25% an AdSmart commercial (or fast-forwards through it) the advertiser doesn’t get charged for the insertion. As with online advertising and VOD, your commercial is delivered on a Cost Per Impression (CPI) basis. So, you can now tell those ‘skippers’ and ‘fast-forwarders’ that they’re actually saving advertisers money by opting out.
But, stats about the quantity of views is only the tip of the information iceberg. Sky’s AdSmart brings to television campaigns a similar flavour of tracking, analytics and metrics information as that for online advertising campaigns – and the accuracy of the measurement systems are independently audited. Any media buyer worth their salt will immediately appreciate the power of such statistics, especially when used in correlation with their web counterparts. AdSmart is still broadcast advertising, but with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. To look at it another way, television need no longer be a sledgehammer to crack a nut – and for a whole raft of businesses television advertising just became very affordable indeed.
Sky’s CFO Andrew Griffith explained the way Sky AdSmart could benefit an advertiser,
“A high street bank could show an ISA commercial to high income homes and at the same time a current account message to others. We’re only able to do this because we have a wholly owned and operated connected box platform, and we have the inventory to sell advertisers because of the breadth of content that attracts valuable audiences.”

To discuss TV commercial production for a Sky AdSmart campaign – or TV commercial production for any other broadcaster – get in touch below!

Whatever the size of your business, we'll get you on television!

TV Sponsorship Production – Beginner’s Guide

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TV spot advertising and programme sponsorship go hand-in-hand as elements of an effective high-profile campaign, but they are different animals. Understanding the restrictions of sponsorship from the outset is key to getting effective results.


Q: How does TV sponsorship differ from spot advertising in its value to an advertiser?

Individual series and day-part sponsorship have grown in popularity during recent years, often running alongside a client’s traditional 20 or 30-second spot advertising. It’s a great place for advertisers to be. The media value is evaluated in the exact same way as spot advertising, i.e. based on the audience, universe, CPT, time-length of bumper, the number of bumpers and the TVR (Television Viewer Ratings) performance. In short, sponsorship is very beneficial in keeping brands front-of-mind and increasing brand-recall. It’s also a great way for new brands, especially online brands, to build their name recognition in the run up to a wider campaign. The sponsor’s brand often springs to mind along with the name of the programme, there’s a positive association created. When people think of X-Factor, many will also likely recall TalkTalk.

Q: A client wants to mention a special offer they’ll have during the campaign, is that okay?

No, mentioning specific sales messages in sponsorship campaigns is not possible as it would then fall into the category of advertising. Sponsorship does not count as part of a channel’s advertising minuteage quota, it is deemed to be part of the ‘programme-time’, and hence it cannot be an advertising message. Brief details as to nature of business can be permitted if the sponsor is not already a well-known brand – but no specifics, offers or price-points are allowed. The sponsor’s logo and brief contact details – phone number, text number, hashtag, or most often a website URL – are permitted, however these can only appear as visual graphics. Any voiceover on the sponsorship would also have to avoid the potential of being misconstrued as an invitation for the audience to contact the sponsor.

Q: What format does TV sponsorship take? The bumpers in the X-Factor never seem to appear twice – does the client have to make a lot of versions?

Generally the standard broadcast time-lengths are 15-seconds for the intro to a programme, 10-seconds at the start and close of each ad-break in that programme, and a 5-second closing bumper at the end of the programme’s credits. However – dependent on the programme, the broadcaster and the schedule it is sometimes possible to use 10-second bumpers throughout all parts of the programme, which still offers clients the same number of minutes, accreditation and frequency. Either way, generally you have to produce a minimum of three bumpers. Any TV commercial production company can also handle TV sponsorship production.

Obviously for a series extending over many weeks (such as X-Factor) it’s good to stay fresh and to be able to rotate from a larger pool of bumpers. Often you’ll see that the tone and style of the sponsorship adapts as a series progresses, it’s been developed specifically to be a really good fit with the programme it’s paired with – e.g. incorporating user-generated-content in the TV bumpers as part of a wider online exposure.

Q: How much does TV sponsorship cost? Is it more expensive than a regular TV commercial?

More often than not, no. Sponsorship is much more cost-effective than the traditional media buy and is something that media-agencies are often able to negotiate on very competitive terms. However as there are absolute restrictions on promotional messages/advertising messages/tag-lines and so forth that require substantiation it is not entirely a like-for-like comparison. TV sponsorship production needn’t cost any more than the creation of a regular commercial message – sponsorship messages are often kept quite simple due to the time constraints of the medium; short and sweet.

Q: TV sponsorship bumpers seem relevant to the programme they’re sponsoring, are there any programmes that broadcasters would consider an advertiser unsuitable to sponsor?

There are many variables to this, but firstly all news and current affairs programmes are prohibited of sponsorships (see full Ofcom regulations). Secondly, advertisers that are not allowed to advertise on television would also be unable to sponsor shows. Of the advertisers able to consider sponsorship there are BCAP restrictions dependant on the content of programme, as is the case for regular TV ads. For example, a show indexing highly for kids such as X-Factor couldn’t be sponsored by an HFSS (High Fat, Salt, Sugar) brand. Sponsorship largely follows the same standard restrictions for advertising, e.g. a pre-9pm restriction on gambling companies unless they opt out of their own self regulations. The sponsorship of gameshows by betting or bingo brands has recently been prohibited as an unsuitable combination.

Outside of everyday regulations there can also be personal or business considerations in deciding the suitability of a sponsor. A presenter or major talent may have their own opinions on the suitability, or a presenter may already have an existing contractual arrangement with a particular brand and therefore the show couldn’t accept sponsorship from a rival of that brand. Also it wouldn’t be possible for an advertiser to sponsor a programme in their own direct interests… i.e. a travel agent could not sponsor a travel programme that showcased holidays that the agent could source, this would tread too narrow a line between sponsorship and co-advertising.