Friday 8th of December 2017
Nowadays TV marketing include long-awaited Christmas adverts, multi-million-dollar placements during Super Bowl, Premier League telly ads and X-Factor finals TV spots – they are often discussed at length for weeks after. Yet TV advertising started from humble beginnings… with the first ever ad costing just about £6! TV advertising has grown and grown, and with more channels than ever before there are more TV advertising opportunities than ever too.
The concept of brands advertising their products and services around television programmes and events began in the United States, back in 1941. A watchmaker known as Bulova paid $9 for an ad placement on New York channel WNBT, before a baseball game to be played between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.
In the UK, cinema advertising using slides had long been popular when the first television ad that was a purpose-made film was launched. At 9:01pm on 22nd September 1955, Gibbs SR toothpaste aired their advert created by AB-Pathe on ITV. The same night, the BBC saw Grace Archer killed off in its long-running popular radio programme ‘The Archers’, which was seen by many as a PR technique to detract attention from their new commercially-aware competitor!
The ad features smiling people brushing their teeth, of course, but was in black and white and lasted a whopping 70-seconds! With smaller television audiences in the 50s, it was considerably cheaper to advertise through this medium, and so videos lasting over a minute were common. Almost every ad included white, middle-class and very well-spoken actors and actresses, harsh lighting and stunted transitions between shots. Although purpose filmed for television and cinema, they were often carbon-copies of the advertising used in newspapers.
Quickly, ‘presenter commercials’ became commonplace, in the style of a TV presenter reviewing and using a product – with positive results. It was an easy style of ad to write and shoot, but quickly became outdated and could often feel not genuine.
Time spot advertising saw brands purchase placements at preferred time spots to declare to viewers that it was time to take an action; such as to drink or smoke. However, these weren’t popular with the public and were abolished in 1960 by the Independent Television Authority. ‘Ad magazines’ were launched as a format for smaller brands to advertise cheaply within a wider magazine, with several products or services featured each time. Certain magazines grew a real following, with the most popular being ‘Jim’s Inn’, set in a fictional pub with two publicans who would act out a loose storyline featuring various products. Running from 1957 right through until 1963, over 300 editions were aired. Once the magazine format lost popularity and ceased feature, the presenters appeared elsewhere in other ads and remained critically acclaimed.
From the 1970s, the style of television adverts were updated and changed to focus on a wider range of products and services, without story-telling or ‘presenting’ in the same way. The focus moved from functional to experiential and brands began promoting themselves as a brand rather than just focusing on one product. Celebrity endorsements began, and television audiences were at an all-time high. Newspapers began to advertise on television and the likes of The Sun and The Mirror both saw an increase in sales as a result.
In the 1980s, Channel 4 launched on British television, extending the options available for marketers. Numerous restrictions on the types of businesses that were allowed to advertise on TV were removed, but the tobacco ban remained, and the BBC did not move to include advertising features – which many had speculated that they would. The advent of breakfast television brought more opportunity for mass advertising and channels became more commercially-focused with sliding price scales that take into account programming, timing, length and channel. Interactive ads were launched and even if they weren’t specifically sales-focused, they encouraged engagement and positive ‘buzz’ around brand names. These even included adverts airing at the same-time on different channels, with viewers encouraged to click between them to view the full story. The mainstream adoption of satellite and extra ‘paid-for’ channels extended the reach of television advertising again and began to offer marketers the chance to really target in on their desired audience segments. With channels now available on a range of topics and specialist interests, targeting can be thorough and even local companies can use such ads effectively.
Now, television advertising remains entirely mainstream but is often seen as an expensive option because the placements are costly compared to many other channels – but when you consider the amount of people who are likely to see it, it makes sense. If utilised properly, with a cleverly-crafted video, clear catchy messaging and promoted to a relevant audience, television advertising can be extremely successful in terms of brand building and sales, and can deliver good return on investment.
There are now hundreds of ‘must-watch’ ads that have elevated brand’s presence higher than ever and even, in some cases, gained cult-like followings. John Lewis’ Christmas adverts are always highly anticipated, and the Cadburys Milk Tray Man and Diet Coke Break are recognised all over the world. Ads now filmed and intended for TV are shared and watched online too, extending the reach of such films worldwide to a global audience.
If your business hasn’t advertised on television before or hasn’t done so with great success, it’s advisable to work in partnership with experts. PromoMEDIA’s advertising team can advise you from concept through to delivery on a variety of advert types and can manage the process end-to-end for you. Television ads can be beneficial even to small, local businesses – and if you’d like to learn how and why it could work for you, get in touch or read more information here - https://www.promo-media.co.uk/type-of-ads/tv-adverts