Monday, July 20, 2009

Television - the Super Bowl of Advertising

We're discussing how ads work differently in different media.

Today the topic is Television - the Superbowl of advertising.

Just like the Super Bowl that everyone seems to watch, even if they are not a football fan, TV Ads get seen every day by people who are not fans of commercials (except, of course, the Super Bowl commercials. Ironic, isn't it?)

The strength of television programming is it's ability to tell a story. Whether a serial like a sitcom or drama, or a one-time event like a Hallmark movie or sports, television is the story teller of our age.

Therefore, the strength of television advertising is in the ability to tell your story.

Television allows you to combine powerful words and music with compelling visual images to create an amazing experience and tell a wonderful story in a short window of time.

The downside? Money. It costs a lot of money to produce a quality ad that people might actually watch. It costs a lot of money to put that ad out there enough times to be seen and remembered. It costs a lot of money to run a television campaign and keep it fresh and in front of your customers over a long period of time until they are in the market for your product and are finally convinced to buy from you.

It can also be expensive when you do it wrong. And believe me, many advertisers get it wrong. Here are the three most common mistakes:
  • Using humor without reinforcing the brand (Quick, name the Super Bowl advertiser with all the monkeys at work. I'll bet less than a third of you were right.)
  • Making the ad entertaining but not telling anything about your company (How many people thought GoDaddy was a softporn site for men thanks to those Danica Patrick ads?)
  • Trying to say too much (Most local ads do this, packing way more info into an ad than anyone could possibly remember)
If you're going to advertise on TV, follow these tips:
  • Get professional production. Lousy looking ads with bad audio or video give the wrong image of your business.
  • Get people's attention in the first 3 seconds (before they can grab the remote).
  • Make one point and only one point in your ad. Everything else is just clutter and another reason for someone to tune you out or forget what you say.
  • Use emotions. Emotions connect your brand better than humor or cleverness.
  • Only use humor or cleverness if it reinforces your brand, otherwise the humor will trump the message and the message will be lost.
  • Make your images move slowly across the screen. They will be seen even by people fast-forwarding their DVR's.
  • Schedule your ads so that they get a good frequency (reaching the same people more than once). Frequency is just as important as reaching a lot of people.
  • Keep it up. Branding campaigns take time to get traction. It's a long term commitment.

If you have the guts (and the money) television can be a powerful advertising tool, especially for building brand awareness. But beware. Your ads can just as quickly be ignored.

Thanks to remotes and DVR's (and boring, unemotional commercials), television ads can become as invisible as non-relevant newspaper ads. It takes planning, dedication, time, and a producer who understands your message and knows how to portray it powerfully.

Do you agree or disagree?

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