Introduction to spot advertising

Ask any member of the public to name their favourite advert and they will pause, reflect for a moment, perhaps cast their mind back to their childhood and then, more often than not, they will respond with a TV advert, or should I say, a ‘TV Spot’

Be it an ageing monochrome surfer, a gorilla at a drum set, a CGI meerkat or a boxer dog on a trampoline, the memory and therefore effectiveness of the humble TV spot can last a lifetime.

TV spots are the most common form of TV advertising. They are the adverts that we encounter at the beginning, middle and end of all our favourite shows, across linear TV and broadcast VOD.

Excluding spots watched in BVOD content, in 2021, the UK public watched almost 800 billion spots from 2,640 different advertisers. Individuals watched 2.2 billion TV ads every day which is 36 ads on average per person per day.

Please can we replace this slide with the one for 2021


Despite being the most common form of TV advertising, spot advertising is anything but simple. Spot campaigns come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can achieve many different things.

In this section we will look at:

  • Time Lengths – whilst the most common length of a TV spot is 30”, there are various spot lengths which help achieve different things.
  • Reach & Frequency – careful planning determines how many people see your advert and how often.
  • Flighting – what are the most common tactical deployment patterns of spot advertising? 
  • Ad break innovation – how are advertisers innovating within the realms of spot advertising?

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