It’s important to remember that commercials should be written by copywriters, not mystery writers. Yes, they can be clever and artsy, but a commercial’s main objective is to sell a product or service.
A recent Adweek Media/Harris Poll of 2,163 adults found that 21% often found TV commercials confusing with just 14% reporting that they never find commercials confusing.
Boring, mundane … I can accept, but confusing?? In this new economy where every dollar must work harder than ever, advertisers can little afford to leave 21% of the audience in the dark on what they hope to be selling them.
If consumers watching these commercials are unsure of the main focus of the message, do you think that might be a problem?
TV commercials need to be entertaining and informative. Unfortunately, as this survey proves, there are too many agency creatives who apparently would rather be writing an episode for Lost then selling the products that pay their salaries.
It’s a fact, in these trying economic times; people are cutting back on purchases. Advertisers (and the agencies that work for them) need to do everything possible to convince consumers that their product is worthy of consideration.
According to a recent study, the emotional brain reacts immediately to input and is much faster when making decisions than the rational brain.
That’s why when someone says to you, “you’re allowing your emotions to cloud your judgment,” they could be on to something…
Dr. Robert Heath, from the University of Bath’s School of Management, found that television ads with high levels of emotional content enhanced how people felt about brands, even when those ads were lacking product information. On the other hand, ads which were low on emotional content had no effect on how favorable the public felt towards brands, even if the ads were high in news and information.
Emotional warmth or lack of it determines a brand perception. If consumers are “warm” to your brand, it is much easier to get their attention, as they are more open to listening, seeing and absorbing new information. If they are neutral or distant about your brand, it’s more difficult to influence them and the advertising needs to work harder.
So the next time you’re tempted to add just one more copy point into your 30-second commercial, remember it’s not what you say, but the way you say it, that gets results.
Does the old-school formula of traditional TV advertising still work in this day of digital overload? I guess it depends on who you ask. But from my perspective, it’s still a vital component when bringing new products and services to market. It’s definitely not the only thing necessary for customer conversion, but it remains – in many cases – the launching pad for a brand’s success.
Let me provide you with a recent, real life situation that illustrates this point.
In the market for a new LCD television, I got in the car the other day and headed to my local Best Buy. As I do with most big purchases, my objective was not to purchase a new television at this time, but to check them out first and then go home to conduct my research online before making a final decision. The brands in consideration: Samsung, Panasonic and a brand I never considered before – Sharp.
Why consider Sharp, a brand never before on my radar? For starters, their new TV commercials featuring George Takei (Sulu from Star Trek fame) are superbly done. The campaign does a great job differentiating the Sharp Aquos LCD Television from every other TV out in the market today. Whether Sharp’s “Quad Pixel Technology” produces a better picture than the competitions is up for debate. What’s not debatable is how these commercials convinced me to consider a brand never before on my consideration set.
The commercials are smart. They clearly outline a strong USP. And they hammer it home in a way that’s persuasive and believable. After being exposed to these messages for a few weeks, how could I not check out the Sharp Aquos?
So here I am in Best Buy. And when I mentioned to the sales associate that I want to see the Sharp Aquos, he’s not surprised. It appears a lot of other folks have also been moved into action by the same TV campaign with its clever positioning statement, “You have to see it, to see it.”
I don’t know if I’ll settle on the Sharp Aquos. What I do know is that I’m considering one because of the power of a few well-concepted, well-executed and well-placed TV commercials that grabbed my attention and piqued my interest.
So at the end of the day, whether traditional TV advertising is now considered old-school, or not, is really irrelevant to me. What’s relevant to me (and should be to you) is that it still gets results.
It seems people are beginning to change their tune on the demise of TV advertising. According to a June article in Advertising Age, auto advertisers are back and apparently they have brought some new advertisers with them, “charging in and sucking up all the available inventory.”
“I think there might be a re-examination of television,” Ed Atorino, a media analyst at Benchmark Co. told the magazine.
Apparently this re-examination has uncovered the value of targeting a large-scale television audience that can’t be found elsewhere. For the many advertisers who still rely on the masses to keep their doors open, the need still exists to reach lots of people – cost efficiently. A feat that remains hard to accomplish exclusively with digital-savvy customers who hop along a myriad of websites, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages.
TV may look dowdy compared to a lot of the new technology taking center stage, but its intrinsic power has proven hard to beat.
Two new studies add more proof that TV advertising is challenging today’s popular wisdom. Pricewaterhouse Coopers projects ad spending on total U.S. TV will grow to 80.3 billion in 2014 from 62.1 billion in 2009, surpassing its previous high in 2006 of nearly $70 billion. Meanwhile, Interpublic Groups Magna Global media research unit sees TV’s share of total media dollars growing to 36.8% in 2015 from 35.9% in 2009.
TV still has it challenges ahead, but for now, when it comes to reach and impact – it still remains the only game in town.
Even while new devices like the iPad continue to drive simultaneous usage (people watching TV while they are online) there appears to be very little difference between people’s online usage habits when they’re watching TV and when they are not.
According to a new J.D. Power Study, people who use their computers while they watch TV tend to be doing the same things online as people who are not watching TV at the same time: email, chatting, shopping, etc.
Simultaneous use is a growing phenomenon: Nearly 40% of people use TV and the web simultaneously each week.
This means that your TV commercials have to work harder than ever before. For the first time, sound may take precedence over sight when engaging the consumer and ultimately determining a campaign’s success or failure.
Web-tasking consumers are simply ignoring commercials that don’t possess an audio hook. Do your company’s TV commercials have what it takes to get this ever growing segment to look up from their iPads and laptops? Or do your commercials sound like every other commercial in the break? How is your ad agency addressing this issue?
The time where visuals alone could carry the day is gone forever. Without the right audio strategy, your message could be falling on deaf ears.
According to a Duke University researcher, DVRs have not hurt television advertising or changed consumers’ buying behavior.
Some predicted earlier this decade that technology like TiVo and other digital video recorders – because they enable viewers to easily fast-forward through ads – would (eventually) kill television commercials.
However, Carl Mela, a professor in Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, says that the ability to skip through the ads has had no effect on buying behavior and that not as many people fast-forward through television commercials as originally feared.
“Companies are afraid of a ‘TiVo effect’ and are changing their media spending as a result.” said Mela. “But we find no change in people’s shopping patterns when we compare a group that has TiVo with a group that doesn’t. The manufacturers’ fears seem to be overstated.”
Mela credits the lack of impact to several factors:
About 95% of people still watch television live and, as a result, cannot fast forward through the commercials.
Even those without a DVR can skip commercials by using the breaks to go to the kitchen or flip to another channel.
While viewers fast-forwarded through about 70% of the commercials in shows they recorded, they still watch the screen to know where to resume play, meaning they are still being exposed to the advertisements.
Ability to record a show and watch it later means consumers are watching more television.
The study included households with and without DVRs.
That’s exactly what I want to tell advertisers who continually complain about how television has lost its effectiveness.
You won’t see Progressive Insurance complaining. The company recently blew away analysts’ expectations with a 27% jump in quarterly profit. They also noted the fifth straight quarter in which their auto policy counts have been up.
It appears the television commercials featuring “Flo” are winning over more than a few new customers for Progressive. The quirky cashier’s appeal is grabbing market share faster than she can fire off another zinger.
Now back to the problem with TV advertising?
It’s pretty basic. It always has been. Engage viewers with something compelling, add in a relevant, unique selling message and stay consistent with it. And most of all, keep an open mind.
How many Insurance company executives would have thrown their agency out the front door if they presented them with commercials featuring a talking gecko … or a bunch of cavemen stuck in the ‘80s … or a sarcastic cashier sporting a tricked-out name tag with “Flo” emblazoned on it?
After 27 years in the advertising business, I have been exposed to all kinds of propaganda, and I’m sure I have been guilty of propagating some myself. But, I have always tried to base mine on logic. So when I hear the social media people tell me that television is fast becoming a thing of the past, I must question the logic in which they base this claim.
Are they unaware that in 2009 the average American home had 2.86 TV sets; 18% higher than 2000 and 40% higher than in 1990?
Or that Americans spent over 36 hours a week watching TV last year compared to 4-hours a week using the Internet?
Perhaps they also forgot that 35% of all advertising dollars will be directed to TV advertising in 2010.
Even if they were aware of these facts, I’m sure it remains a mystery to them “why” television remains so popular.
So, let me clear up this mystery as succinctly as possible. Consumers continue to purchase TV sets, at a record pace, because they simply enjoy watching what’s on them. It’s passive entertainment. It requires them to do absolutely nothing, but switch it on. A comforting concept in today’s overly active world.
TV receives 35 cents of every ad dollar spent because it works for its advertisers. Despite the debate over Push vs. Pull marketing; there’s apparently more than enough consumers who are still happy to be “pushed” into stores all across America.
While building online communities, cultivating dialog and adding twitter followers may eventually pay dividends.
TV pays those dividends NOW.
And from a retailer’s standpoint, coming off the worst recession in 70 years, I can’t think of a better reason “why.”
While many Madison Avenue executives are slobbering praise over Nike’s latest controversial commercial featuring a somber Tiger Woods as he is reprimanded by the voice of his deceased father – main street America’s is responding much differently.
An online poll of 600 Americans by Flemington-based HCD Research shows that the favorable opinion of the Nike Brand dropped from 92% to 79% after watching the commercial. With 29% of the viewers saying they were less likely to buy products endorsed by Woods after viewing the creepy commercial.
I’m not surprised with these poll results. It is Nike’s pathetic attempt to capitalize on the reprehensible behavior of another athlete pitch man gone bad.
A Nike spokesman, reading from a statement, said “The ad addresses his (Tigers) time away from the game, using the powerful words of his father.” Really?
He neglected to say that those “powerful words” were carefully taken out of context from a 2004 interview that had absolutely nothing to do with the current situation.
A well-crafted, edgy commercial … too bad it didn’t fool the people who really count – the consumers.
After a series of controversial commercials over the years, I think Nike may come to regret this one. I know I have.
Everyone is selling something. As soon as you realize this simple fact, the sooner you’ll be able to see through the “TV is Dead” smoke screen perpetrated by those who are, yes “selling” digital services.
Most new media folks are like the partisan politician who is unwavering in his position even when the facts prove otherwise. It’s the classic “if I say it long enough … it must be true” approach.
Well, they can stick to their “TV is so yesterday” talking points, but the facts just don’t add up.
TV is stronger than ever. This, according to the largest privately-owned, full-service direct response media agency in the country. And TV is not losing its luster.
The Senior Director, Research & Analytics at Mercury Media, Michael Goodman says, “Rather than cannibalize traditional television, emerging video platforms, like Hulu, cable VOD and FLO TV, are supplementing viewership and creating new revenue streams for programmers.”
“Television advertising is not dying,” said Goodman.
“Rather than fragmenting the marketplace, emerging video platforms like broadband and mobile TV are acting as audience multipliers.” Goodman points to innovations like Addressable TV, TV Everywhere and Interactive TV as leading the evolution toward “a harmonious video delivery ecosystem.”
Among Goodman’s top findings are: TV is still the #1 screen. Television viewership remains at hundreds of hours per month, while viewership of broadband and mobile video remains in the low single digits.
“It is reckless to proclaim that any great revolution is taking place”, says Mercury.
In 2Q 2009, watching TV in the home accounted for 77% of screen time among consumers age 2+, up 1.5% year-over-year.
So there you have it. Yet more information that dispels what the new media folks would have you to believe on the state of television. But it won’t stop them though … they’re armed with one heck of a sales pitch, just not the facts.