30” and 60” Spot Advertising
The amount of advertising time on each channel varies between digital and terrestrial broadcasters – they will be able to confirm how many minutes run in total per hour on average.

The 30” Spot advert is exactly that - an advert which lasts for 30 seconds, booked at a certain spot in the TV ad break schedule. These spots can be specified so that an ad can appear before, during or after a programme. The type of viewer with the profile most likely to purchase a product can be targeted. Each of the programme companies charge different rates, or prices, for spot time. These rates will be linked to the number of viewers the programme is likely to attract.

The 60” Spot advert can communicate more information. It may also offer increased standout during a break because its length will mean there are fewer other adverts competing for attention. This approach may be cost prohibitive in the long term, but if the strategy is to create 'talkability', for example, around a one off event, then the 60” Spot may suit better than a 30” Spot

Extended spot advertising
Extended spot advertising is where a time length of advert runs beyond the traditional 30” and 60” advertising lengths so that the advert has real standout when broadcast. An advertiser may wish to take over the ad break in its entirety so that it is the only ad a viewer will see during a particular break.

For example, Honda’s famous “Cog” advert premiered during the ad break of the Brazilian Grand Prix and at 2 minutes long took over the whole break. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, McCains Oven Chips created a 3 minute ad which took a solo position in the middle of an episode of Coronation Street.

This kind of strategic media planning has great cut-through and, if the creative is as strong, makes the ad a talking point for a long time after it has aired.

Short & sweet
Spots can of course also be shorter and 2007’s IPA effectiveness awards had a couple of winning exmples: Original Source deployed a series of highly impactful 10sec spots to “stand out like a sore thumb in the ad breaks” and achieve cost efficiencies not possible with full 30 second treatments.  Ryvita minis mixed 10 second spots with 30s to cut through. Many other advertisers have also used short form to plug into the effects achieved by showing longer ads.

Shorter versions of ads are also used as interactive TV triggers, enabling viewers to get an extended form of the ad by pressing red.

Spots in a nutshell

TV advertising is primarily sold on the 'spot' system. A 'spot' can last for a few seconds or a few minutes