“‘You’re the television? Or someone in the television?’
‘The TV’s the altar. I’m what people are sacrificing to.’
‘What do they sacrifice?’ asked Shadow.
‘Their time, mostly.”

Neil Gaiman, American Gods

On average, the typical Briton spends over 6 hours a day fixated on tech outside of work, with 4 of those hours dedicated to watching television. The approximate 20 minutes of adverts per 1 hour of a TV show, plus the 5 minutes of TV adverts before and after your show, adds up to a solid 1 hour 40 minutes of unfiltered advertisements passing through your retinas every single day.

When it comes to moving image, advertising is everywhere. If you’re plugged into the internet for work, as 65% of Britons are for 5 days a week, then you’ll be watching an advert before you even know what’s happening. Browsing funny YouTube clips? Scrolling through your Facebook feed? Checking out supplier websites? Chances are you’ve been blasted with moving image advertising on an almost subliminal level.

“Reach out and touch someone”


With the advent of online native advertising, click bait and paid space; TV advertising, in a bid to compete, is getting more and more creative. But not in the way you might expect. Instead of higher budgets, flashy CGI and abstract subliminal’s, adverts are tracking back to grass roots with emotional storytelling and raw, simplified messages.

We all know that visual entertainment in any format relies heavily on the emotional impact it has on its audience, but in the early 00’s adverts veered away from this in favour of louder, brighter, in-your-face commercials that full-on smacked you into the decision making funnel.

In the last 3 years, adverts have been brought back down to earth with a re-think in strategy and delivery. The recent massive increase in viewer’s shift from TV to online has sparked the need for advertisers to really re-think their approach so that content is appealing to a broader audience, and TV campaigns can travel across platforms.

“Think different”


It’s not all down to changes in the way we consume visual entertainment; it’s also down to wider societal changes. The last few years has seen a rebellion against old ideologies of perfection and improvement. The LGBT community is now much more fairly represented in advertising (although there is still a long way to go!) and adverts such as Aerial’s #ShareTheLoad advert and Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign are asking important questions about traditional expectations of gender roles. Similarly, Dove’s latest campaign, Choose Beautiful picked up on begrudging attitudes towards the unattainable Photoshop Body, and cast ‘real’ women in their ads.

The cynics will point out that this is a clever marketing strategy to reach a wider audience and level with them on more real grounds, but regardless of this, it speaks about society’s shift as a whole, and the need for advertising agencies to address the emotional issues that are getting under people’s skin.

“Choose beautiful”


Audiences want to be less passive – they want to feel listened to. Products and services now need to help them express themselves in their raw, accepted form and celebrate them as they are, instead of pushing stale ideologies of betterment. The ‘rebels’ of society – those wanting to see change in attitudes – want to talk about real things and address issues full on.

Because of this, adverts are now shifting towards autobiographies – stories with character arcs, problems to overcome, and equilibrium. The core messages are probably no less subliminal, but they feel more up front and blatant.

Not all recent adverts are taking this route. Another strong trend in advertising is parody and humour. Of course humour has been around since the beginning, but what of parody? Brands are now turning the focus back on themselves (literally!) with mock behind-the-scenes shoots, and parodical celebrity endorsements, like T-mobile’s Restricted Bling Super Bowl ad featuring singer Drake.

“Time is what you make of it”


TV services like Sky now provide more region-tight TV content that better competes with online ads, and that can now be tailored to a smaller niche of viewers. Things like flashy budgets, impressive cityscapes and flowery abstract messages have been moved aside in favour of the more raw, shorter, autobiographical ads that play in front of specific groups of viewers much smaller than the more traditional audience targets. These ads need to be snappy to ensure the simply packaged messages are getting past a customer’s limited attention span, as well as challenging the environmental competition that broader adverts have to battle with.

This means that TV advertising is getting cheaper and is much more attainable than before for local businesses who thought that getting on TV was way beyond their reach. It also means that taking your TV ad online is easier than before.

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising”

Mark Twain

So why should you consider advertising your business on TV?

Even though the popularity of online advertising is soaring, the audience reach through TV is still undoubtedly king, but it now costs much less for the same high quality production. Teams such as Skylark Media are now geared up to create and deliver top quality content across platforms including TV and online.

Get in touch for more information. Bella Organ Marketing and production management

Jo Mar 8th, 2016

About Jo Haywood

Jo is the Managing Director at Skylark Media. Before starting Skylark in 2005, Jo ran the BBC Lifestyle website and prior to that directed science documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. To switch off she can be found on the tennis court, at yoga, or planting trees in the forest garden.