How should you phase your TV campaign?

When buying a TV campaign, it is important to think about your ‘phasing’ or ‘flighting’ strategy and also the ‘laydown’. These determine how you buy TVRs across the weeks of the year and also the weight of ratings that you buy. 

There are three widely used campaign shapes in TV planning: burst, drip and pulse. 


This is a heavyweight of advertising over a short space of time. It is used then you want to reach a large number of people quickly. If you were buying 400 ratings, a burst of advertising would most likely be 100 TVRs per week over 4 weeks. 

A burst strategy is often adopted for brand new product launches and seasonal brands. 

Below is an example of how the brand Valspar used a burst strategy to drive awareness at the start of the campaign, followed by a drip strategy to maintain presence across the first half of the year. 



This is a much lighter weight of advertising over a longer time frame. This type of flighting might be used when you want your campaign to have a slow burn and build cover slowly over time. It also means that you will be on air for as long a time as possible. If you were buying 400 ratings, a drip campaign would most likely be 50 TVRs a week over 8 weeks. 

A drip strategy is effective for low interest categories such as Insurance. 

In the example below, Injury Lawyers 4U adopted an ‘always on’ drip strategy, running between 50 – 110 TVRs per week but were on every week of the year. They can do this because there is no seasonality to their brand, and it is an extremely low interest category that’s only relevant to people who are in market and need this service.  This strategy ensures a consistent presence that will make sure they’re always there to ‘activate’ consumers when they come into market. 



People have the ability to remember television advertising pretty well. Therefore if money was limited and you wanted to be on air for as long as possible you might opt for a pulse campaign. This means advertising week-on week-off. If you were buying 400 ratings, a pulse campaign would most likely be around 100 TVRs every other week for about 8 weeks. 

It is also necessary to identify how many of the target audience need to see the ad and how often. This will mean determining Coverage and Frequency which will dictate the number of TVRs that are needed. 


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