How to launch your first TV campaign

By May 10, 2017Opinion, Uncategorized

Picture it. It’s a Friday night and you’ve settled in for the evening. You’re relaxing on a comfortable couch in front of the telly; a glass of wine or beer in the one hand, a fistful of crisps in the other. An ad break comes on and then – BAM! It’s your ad. And oh, what a glorious ad it is. You’re suddenly overcome by a strange, giddy sense of pride as you imagine the millions of other Brits watching the same ad, and in that moment, all the blood, sweat and tears seem like a worthwhile sacrifice.

If you’re in the process of launching your brand’s first TV advertising campaign, or you’re toying with the idea, then you have probably allowed yourself to indulge in a similar fantasy at least once or twice. And we don’t blame you; launching a TV campaign should be exciting.

However, broadcasting an ad campaign to the bulk of Britain is a far less likely reality in today’s increasingly segmented media market. Just think about it – there are now thousands of TV channels, broadcaster video on demand (VOD) platforms are growing in popularity, video viewership on YouTube and Facebook has skyrocketed, and Netflix has become a cultural phenomenon.

But just because there are more advertising channels than ever, doesn’t mean you should simply pick one and pray for gold. In fact, it means the opposite – there’s a real opportunity for challenger brands to make an impact by taking a targeted approach to TV advertising.

Nowadays, there are a number of innovative platforms that make it possible for your brand to get on TV for a fraction of the cost you might expect. For instance, advertisers can now run entire campaigns through Sky AdSmart for a minimum spend of only £3,000, and during hit shows such as Game of Thrones.

So, if you’re new to TV advertising and have bold and brilliant plans to launch a campaign, but your budget doesn’t quite match your aspirations, here’s our guide to creating a hyper-targeted, cost-conscious and results-driven TV campaign strategy for the modern era.

Where should you advertise – online or on TV?

Since the 1960s, TV has maintained its reputation as a sturdy and valuable platform for brands to communicate face-to-face with millions of product-hungry consumers.

In today’s digital age, this is still very much the case, only the goal posts have moved. These same product-hungry consumers are now prowling the streets, iPhones in hand, giving brands the power to reach consumers on the bus, or at the mall, or even while they’re watching TV.

Despite digital’s growing popularity, TV viewing metrics remain relatively steady. The average person in the UK spends four hours and 37 minutes a day watching some form of video content, according to Thinkbox, and TV accounts for 74.8% of it – this includes live TV (60%), Playback TV (10.8%) and Broadcaster VOD (3.9%).

The remaining 25.2% of video viewing takes place on digital platforms, including social channels such as YouTube and Facebook, and subscription VOD sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

While TV still has the lion’s share of video viewers, there are a number of digital platforms that have been thrown into the mix, raising the question: where should you advertise – online or on TV?

Ideally your campaign should cover both – we know first-hand that the best campaigns are carried out across both platforms, and according to IPA, incorporating a TV commercial into your digital campaign will increase its effectiveness by 40%.

In fact, there are a number of TV platforms that are perfect for brands with smaller budgets and a more specific target audience in mind.

Sky AdSmart: A smarter option

Advertising on TV can be costly, with nationally broadcasted spots costing anywhere between £3,000 and £20,000, according to The Drum. Of course, national advertising to the masses is too costly and too wasteful for brands and businesses with a narrower target audience.

Sky AdSmart allows advertisers to run entire campaigns for as little as £3,000, and during hit shows such as Billions and Modern Family. With access to over 7 million homes in the UK, Sky AdSmart works by dishing out ads to different households watching the same show. For example, let’s say you’re watching The Simpsons, and so are your neighbours down the road, but during the commercial break you get an ad for a snazzy new sports car while they receive an ad for a trip to Barbados.


By combining its own customer data with information gathered by consumer profiling experts such as Mosaic and Mastercard, AdSmart enables advertisers to choose from thousands of different factors when selecting the audience that sees their ads.

For instance, with AdSmart you could send your ad out to households in a particular area or region, or you could choose to target households with young kids, or families that are planning to move house soon, or to people who own a cat (although you can never truly own a cat).

how sky adsmart works

Built back in 2014 as a platform that gives challenger brands a fighting chance in the TV advertising space, AdSmart has since attracted a flock of brands wanting to make their TV campaigns more targeted – 70% of which are new to TV or Sky.

AdSmart viewers are 14.5% more likely to remember ads compared to broader TV audiences, and 16.5% more likely to say the ads feel as though they are “aimed at people like me,” according to Sky. The telecommunications company also revealed that switching between shows has reduced by a third amongst those using AdSmart due to greater relevancy.

“AdSmart’s ability to target audiences in such detail means your advertising budget is going directly towards viewers with a proven relevance to your offering,” says Scorch London’s Chief Strategy Officer and Partner, Duncan Ramsay.

“The platform is particularly effective for location-based brands that benefit from reaching consumers in a particular area or region, such as universities, car dealerships or government entities.”

A quick example: premium sports and supercar brand, McLaren, partnered with AdSmart to launch its first ever TV campaign – a 40-second ad promoting the new 570S Sports Series models.

Using Sky’s geo-targeted capabilities, McLaren delivered its ads to the top 2% of households, reaching entrepreneurs, small business owners and those earning more than £80k a year. They also narrowed down the reach to viewers within a close proximity to their five dealerships across the UK.

As a result, car sales doubled between 2015 and 2016. McLaren’s Managing Director Europe, Jonathan Pollock, said:

“We chose to use Sky AdSmart because it allows us to deliver a high impact, dynamic, and engaging execution, in a very tightly geo-demographically targeted manner … that’s more of an immersive experience that you would get in a digital online environment.

“It delivered for us over 400,000 impressions into over 61,000 households and it gave us access to a new target market that literally walked into our dealerships literally to buy a car.”

Broadcaster VOD: The best of both worlds

Alternatively, if you want to appeal to TV and digital audiences, there is a range of broadcaster video on demand (VOD) platforms that offer the same tailored approach, but for online audiences watching TV on catch up. This year, Channel 4 commissioned a study which revealed advertisers are charged more for completed video ad views on Facebook and YouTube than they are on commercial TV broadcasters’ VOD platforms (20% more to be precise).

The study also unveiled advertiser’s gain three and a half times higher attention levels on broadcaster VOD platforms than on YouTube – and only 53% of YouTube ads were viewed in an attentive state, compared to 85% of broadcaster VOD ads.

Channel 4’s VOD service, All 4, is home to 11 million registered viewers, reaching over a third of 16-34 year olds in the UK every month. Another option is ITV Hub, which has 17 million registered viewers and a mobile app that has been downloaded on 23 million devices across the country.

While these channels don’t allow advertisers to narrow down the viewership in such detail as AdSmart, these VOD platforms are equipped with a wide range of data taken from their broadcasting channels, and can target specific audiences based on simpler metrics such as age and region.

Getting strategic: Putting a plan in place

To get your ad campaign up and running, you’ll need to partner up with a creative agency. You will be relying heavily on this partner – they’ll be responsible for crafting a creative strategy, conducting quantitative and qualitative research, organising the shoot, mapping out the post-production plan and, ultimately, being your eyes and ears throughout the entire process.

When looking for a creative partner, you will want to partner up with a team that is passionate, results-driven, agile, and collaborative.

Also, try and get a feel for the vibrancy and culture of the company. You will be working with an account manager and their team on a day-to-day basis, so it is imperative that you find the right fit.

So that you know exactly what you’re after, it is worthwhile defining your campaign’s overall objectives and putting together a rough brief – you can iron out any of the creases once you’ve selected a creative agency.

Do you want your TV campaign to draw attention to your brand as a whole? Or do you have a new product, service or sale you want to highlight?

Also, think carefully about the audience you are trying to target – their age, gender, life-stage and occupation? What time would they most likely watch TV? Don’t stop there – take these to the next level – what motivates them, encourages them, or makes them stop and think?

“Your brand’s core proposition needs to move beyond the benefits of your product or service, and onto why it directly impacts the life of the consumer,” says Duncan.

“We are living in an era of brand-to-consumer relationship building. You have 30 seconds or less to make an impression – don’t focus on your brand, focus on your customer, and they will remember you for it.”

It’s also worth thinking specifically about what you are asking your viewers to do – or, in marketing speak, the Call-To-Action. Do you want them to go to your website to get more information, or call your sales team?

The core objectives of your campaign and the message you are trying to communicate will strongly determine your overall TV strategy.

Thinkbox recommend three different TV advertising strategies: the ‘burst’, ‘drip’ or ‘pulse’ methods – each of which are effective for different reasons.

If you were to adopt the ‘burst’ method, your brand would pump out a large number of ads over a short space of time to reach the maximum number of people as quickly as possible. This is a method worth using if you have a new product to launch or if you’re a season-specific brand.

But if your brand comes under a ‘low interest’ category, such as insurance, and is only relevant to consumers looking for a particular service, the ‘drip’ strategy airs less ads over a longer period of time – meaning your brand is on air for as long a time as possible.

The final method is ‘pulse’ – a strategy used for brands who want to be on air for as long as possible but don’t have a large budget. Essentially, this method means taking a week-on, week-off approach.

Coming to terms with these nitty-gritty details will help you to know what you want from the outset, and essentially, find a creative or production partner who can deliver what you want within your budget and timeframe.

Conclusion: Sealing the deal

Despite its long-standing history as an effective marketing method, TV advertising is quickly becoming more targeted and strategic in its approach – and as the line between digital and TV advertising becomes increasingly blurred, the opportunities for brands in this space will surely continue to develop.

There are a number of tricks challenger brands with smaller budgets can pull out of their sleeves to get ahead of the competition, especially with cost-effective and results-driven platforms such as Sky AdSmart.

We can help you to define your brief, develop creative ideas, manage the relationship between media owners, produce your finished TV commercial, gain clearance to air it on TV from Clearcast, and, ultimately, get your ad in front of the right people.

Scorch London is an agile and innovative creative agency with a reputation for equipping challenger brands with highly effective and efficient TV campaigns. For more advice on planning the first important steps for your TV advertising campaign, get in touch with our friendly team – we’re always happy to help!