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Getting started on television
Television is a high impact medium. It delivers immediacy, mass coverage, flexibility, movement, colour and crucially, spot-by-spot accountability. TV ensures that an advertiser's message reaches a chosen target audience in an effective but cost-efficient way. And now every advertiser, however small their budget, can access its power.
If you ask people what their favourite ad is, 99.9 per cent of them will talk about a TV ad. That's because TV ads are memorable and enjoyable and there are lots of sections of this website where you can go to read all you need to know about how effective TV advertising is.
But maybe you think it's beyond your reach, too expensive and too complicated. Well, Thinkbox is delighted to tell you that these fears are unfounded and this section is designed for people who are thinking they would like to use TV but don't know where to start.
TV advertising can work for you
If you think that TV advertising is too expensive for your budget you may well have overestimated the price. We have case studies for brands that have spent as little as £30k on TV advertising and it has still delivered significant business success for them. You can search for low budget case studies by clicking here. We ran an event called TV on a Shoestring which was full of excellent advice about using TV with a lower budget and you can either watch it on-demand or see the presentations by clicking here.
You can also catch up with the legendary Dave Trott, Creative Director Chick Smith Trott, on film, as he shares some inspiring examples of great value TV creative and demonstrates that having a limited budget should in no way limit creativity: in fact, it can do just the opposite
Today's TV is so versatile and flexible - with channels and programmes for everyone - that it can be used for a very niche audience, or a regionalised one, for a one day TV event or for a long-term sponsorship association. It can build brands and generate response, often at the same time. Our case studies section can be searched by market sector or by strategic objective. There's bound to be a case study there that can help you.
Where to start
Whatever your budget, we would advise you to appoint a recognised and reputable media agency who will be able to understand your business objectives and then plan how you can achieve them. Creative agencies are also trusted partners. The IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) publishes a list of its member agencies, whether creative or media, on its website www.ipa.co.uk and can also be contacted for advice on agency selection.
However, Thinkbox can give you lots of sound strategic planning advice in confidence and for free. Call us on 020 7630 2320 or email us at email@example.com You can also contact the TV sales teams directly for more creative ideas and executional help, including making a TV ad for you. Click here for a full list of contacts of Thinkbox's shareholders and the channels they represent.
The following section gives brief answers to some FAQs.
How do I define my target audience?
Almost any way you like! Broadcasters trade against most broad demographs although many advertisers look to target tighter groups, interlaced with age or social grade - for instance Adults aged 16-34, Housewives with Children aged under 15 or ABC1 Men. Airtime will then be scheduled to reach your chosen target audience in the most cost-efficient manner.
My products only have limited regional distribution, so why would I use a national broadcaster?
The regional or macro area advertising facility enables you to tailor-make a campaign to fit the regional characteristics of your product range or customer base. If an advertiser decides that they do not want to reach certain parts of the country - say for reasons of limited distribution, or as part of a controlled test - then this is possible with many broadcasters.
If my commercial doesn't include some response mechanism, how will I know who watched it?
An independent household panel administered by The Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB) measures television viewing in the UK, with its audience figures used as a trading currency by the whole advertising industry. There are roughly 5,100 representative panel homes across the country and their viewing is automatically monitored on a minute-by-minute basis. Accurate estimates, including the demographic profile, can then be constructed for all programmes and commercials transmitted, on any channel.
How do I get a commercial made and how expensive will it be?
Advertisers generally use either a recognised production company or an advertising agency to produce their commercials. They will work directly with the client to ensure that the requirements of their communication brief are fully met. The cost of the commercial will depend on the creative content, music, location, cast etc. as well as the overall production quality of the commercial. A successful finished product could cost anything from a few thousand pounds upwards.
Clearcast was founded in 2008 by Britain's eight largest commercial broadcasters to simplify the process of getting advertising to air. You can find out more about them and how they can help you, right here.
How much does it cost to advertise on television?
The cost of advertising on television is determined by a range of factors:
Transmission time - The day is divided into 'dayparts'.
- Breakfast (0600 - 0930). Particularly relevant for the housewives with kids audience and FMCG advertisers.
- Daytime (pre-1730) A particularly effective environment for Direct Response advertising (DRTV) and highly cost effective for brands looking to target adults.
- 'Peak' (1730-2300). The most valued daypart in terms of audience size and profile, commanding the highest price.
- Late Night (post-2430) Especially attractive for advertisers targeting a younger, or male-biased audience.
Programmes - Generally speaking, it is more expensive to advertise in and around high-profile, top-rating programmes, as well as at times of peak viewing.
Time of year - The cost of advertising on television varies by season, depending on audience levels and overall advertiser demand. For instance, the Autumn months are relatively expensive, while advertising in July and August represents especially good value. January is generally the cheapest month of the year.
Commercial time-length - The cost of television advertising also depends on the duration of the commercial, with the most popular length being 30 seconds. As a guideline, transmitting a 30-second commercial will usually cost twice as much as showing a 10-second ad, while a 60-second spot will usually cost twice that of a 30.
Target audience - Cost will also depend on the level of detail in specifying an advertiser's target audience. The more plentiful and accessible the target, the cheaper the rate for reaching them, expressed on a per-viewer basis. For example whilst a broad group such as All Adults could be bought at an average cost of around £5 per thousand viewers, a more tightly-defined target, such as Men aged 16-34, could cost closer to £50 per thousand viewers.
Regionality - The provision of regional flexibility differs by broadcaster. ITV can offer a full regional breakdown while others, such as Channel 4 and Five, provide a macro sales area facility, combining individual regions into logical geographical groupings, such as Scotland or the North of England. Some broadcasters offer only full national coverage. The cost associated with regionality will reflect both the size and nature of the population, together with the relative level of demand for each region.
For more information on regionality please click here, where you can also find macro maps for ITV, C4 and Five
We cannot be specific about the cost of buying television because, as we've attempted to illustrate here, the cost of a television campaign will be determined by a whole range of different criteria. You may have any number of questions that we've not addressed here. If you would like to talk about the possibilities, please contact Thinkbox's Head of Planning Leila Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7630 2339
TV sales house contacts
|Channel 4||Michele Russell||020 7306 8163|
|ITV||Jade Watson||020 715 66762|
|Sky Media||Jason Turner||020 7705 5903|
|Turner||Andrew Mallandaine||020 7693 1143|
Getting started on television
Over the last few years there’s been a lot of intriguing research into how TV advertising works and why. It’s a big subject, so we thought it would help to collect all this good stuff together, condense it and arrange the headlines and supporting evidence into what we think are the 7 killer facts about TV advertising. You can read about them here or download a handy, nickable PowerPoint version with notes and links. We think that all of this clearly shows why TV will continue to be absolutely central to the future of advertising.
This half day event explored the major impact brands can have by investing their small budgets in TV. Even with less than £100k you can create significant business success using TV. The morning included plenty of expert advice and inspiring examples from Sky, GMTV, ITV, Turner, Edward Groom and Saunders and the legendary Dave Trott. Attendees and visitors to the web stream were able to share the learnings from a wide variety of small budget TV advertisers, all spending less than £500k. TV may never be so accessible again, so this is your chance to get your share of TV’s effectiveness. You can find the slides that were presented on the day plus watch the full event as it was streamed via our on-demand site here.
Thinkbox and the Marketing Society have collaborated on this new handbook to explain why TV advertising can make a powerful difference to your business. It features key findings from the major recent studies of advertising effectiveness to create a compact guide on how advertising works and, in particular, TV’s place at the heart of the most successful campaigns. Here you will find concrete proof of how TV can work for you and how it pays back, whatever the time scale or budget. You can also download the handbook in handy PDF form, or navigate through to some nickable PowerPoint slides with notes that will help you make a watertight case for investment in TV. Find out more right here...
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