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Spots and ad Innovation
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Ad innovation: how advertisers are making the most of the spot
The 30 second TV spot remains the cornerstone of TV advertising (we watched a record 2.7 billion of them at normal speed in 2011) and there is no sign we are about to stop watching, talking about, and sharing them with others. Importantly, the mighty spot is at the heart of most IPA effectiveness award winning campaigns. However, there are so many different ways to use the spot together with a host of other commercial innovations on TV that work alongside them. These are offering advertisers new ways to create inventive and original campaigns.
Here are a few of the ways advertisers and agencies innovated on TV in 2011 along with some handy links to articles, case studies and films elsewhere on our website. We hope there’s something inspiring or surprising here for you.
This is an advertiser turning the break into a TV event. They are an excellent way to launch a new brand or kick-off a campaign and offer lots of PR potential. T-Mobile’s “Welcome Back”, a three minute ad set in an airport arrivals lounge, which launched their new campaign, is a great example of a brand turning an ad break into a piece of entertaining content in its own right. And The Guardian’s 2 minute TV ad kicked off 2012 with another shining example of how to make a break into an event.
Sometimes the advertiser will pre-promote their event break with a series of teaser ads on broadcast TV and online. For example, Ann Summers were a new-to-TV advertiser in 2011, and to launch their campaign they ran a series of 10” teasers to promote their 2 minute advert and the competition. The 10 stars of the two minute advert were recruited through a Facebook competition to find the Face of Ann Summers. The advert was shown during the final episode of The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) on ITV2 and 1.47m people saw it.
Themed breaks are organised by broadcasters and so offer advertisers their implicit endorsement. Channel 4’s recent Comedy Galas have famously featured comedian Jimmy Carr – and in 2011 also Alan Carr – stepping into the ten ads in the break, offering a comic take on them and creating a comedy theme for the break. But there’s no limit to the themes that could be tackled from the Great British sandwich to the perfect holiday break.
This is when the entire break is framed by one advertiser but features other brands that relate to it. The most famous example is the Orange film break where the week’s new film releases are interspersed with an Orange sting. It enables an advertiser to take ownership of a break and have a continued presence throughout. An excellent recent example is Microsoft’s Bing break, where a relevant Bing search query appeared before every ad and then the other brand ads appeared as if in answer to the query.
An advertorial is an ad that has the qualities of a programme and acts like a programme. Their narratives can run over several ad breaks and build intrigue for viewers. They can be trailed and promoted, and of course extended and exploited off-air like a real programme. But because they are in commercial airtime they can overtly feature the product like any other ad. Ikea’s Kitchen Squad created their own makeover format replacing people’s kitchens in secret. Persil used an advertorial to launch its new Small & Mighty bottle. It featured Kirstie Allsopp performing 30 minute “mini miracles”, such as creating an indoor herb garden or baking homemade bread with children, while clothes were being washed.
Tailored / contextual ads
Advertisers can tailor an ad to a specific programme or programme environment in order to build a closer relationship with the content. There is now greater regulatory freedom around commercial TV including being able to extend the format of the programme to the ad break or using performers from shows in the ads. This congruency with the content appeals to fans of the programme and gives the ads more relevance, which can increase their stand-out. One good example of this in 2011 was Argos’s series of ads that tied in with ITV1 programmes, showcasing Argos products in the context of competitions about some of the most popular series on the channel, including Coronation Street and Emmerdale.
Live ads can be exhilarating, generate a lot of PR and attract a large, anticipative audience for the live ‘event’. They are potentially risky, but very rewarding. Honda’s live sky dive in 2008 started a trend that is now a more regular part of TV. This is particularly appropriate for products where prices and availability need to be as up to date as possible. Betting brands, such as Bet 365, run live ads during sporting events which offer viewers the latest odds to encourage in-play betting, and Virgin Media broadcast its live ads in 2011 giving away last minute tickets for its V Festival.
2011 saw brands embrace the growing trend for ‘2-screening’. Branded interaction can be offered with either programmes (such as Heineken’s Star Player app for Champions’ League matches) or within the ad break itself (such as Honda’s iPhone app which let viewers “catch” and play with animated characters from the TV ad). Some 2-screen ideas can be conceived to work within an AFP like New Look’s Style the Nation initiative, which allowed viewers to design a virtual outfit which could be subsequently featured on the catwalk at the end of the live show, earning online shopping discounts in the process.
Spots and ad Innovation
Our recent event at the Soho Hotel exploring the emerging platforms for distribution of TV content and how they are affecting the nature of TV viewing and advertising. Here you can view and download the slides of Thinkbox’s exclusive new research from Decipher where families were “tellyported” into the future of TV with the latest TV technologies.
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...
We want everybody, from agencies to advertisers to use us for help and advice and facts. So, we've put together a collection of fact-packed and thought-provoking presentations that explore the effectiveness of TV and the different ways that advertisers can maximise its many benefits. Each presentation is based around a theme and provides an overview of the subject as well as some key insights from major research projects.. If you'd like to find out more, or book a presentation for you and your colleagues, there's a full list of potential subjects here and all the contact details you need.
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