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Key Characteristics of a Successful TV Ad Creative

In a hyper-connected 21st century landscape where the new and traditional media worlds collide and entwine, TV advertising has remained stubbornly strong. Within this changing topography, it has embraced new technology and viewing trends to evolve and fortify its status as the most effective driver of long-term business growth, brand prestige and trust.

Yet, as important to the medium’s continuing power are the elements that have always been at its heart. Cue Nielsen, and its latest body of research on the key characteristics shared by TV ads that successfully break free from the media clutter. In particular, four areas have been highlighted as integral to ensuring brands extract maximum value from their TV creative. So, let’s delve further.

Emotional connections

Our brains are absorbing a vast volume of sensory stimuli every minute of our waking day. We process these sensations into information, which is then compartmentalised and integrated into our thought processes. Data perceived as ‘unimportant’ is unceremoniously filtered out; banished to inconsequence.

Now, we know and you know that your brand is important: it offers a great service or product that has real value to offer consumers. However, the way you market your proposition will determine whether it is ascribed the attention and respect it merits, or whether it is curtly kicked to the curb. It’s about creating an emotional connection with your audience.

TV is proven as the most effective medium when it comes to invoking an emotional response, with separate research from Thinkbox showing that 77% of UK adults cite TV as the media format most likely to make them laugh, cry or feel emotional.

To ensure that TV advertisers develop this emotional link with viewers and create memorability, Nielsen found that brands should base their creative angles around humour or empathy. Achieve this, and the chances of success are amplified greatly.

The power of storytelling

Human beings have loved a good story ever since we developed language as a communication tool. They provide context to the world around us, create and reinforce bonds, and instil values. And yet, in this dual-screening age of constant connectivity – one in which the typical adult is now having their attention dragged in multiple directions by different media sources, often simultaneously – finding a receptive, engaged audience for your company’s story is harder than ever before.

According to Nielsen’s research, for a brand’s TV advertising activity to cut through to its target audience and successfully engage customers, the story at its heart needs to be ‘clear, upbeat and simple’. The narrative should be incisive, avoiding the likes of montages and convoluted editing techniques whilst seamlessly incorporating your branding into the storyline.

Campaigns from the likes of Gaviscon and Tesco were credited as examples of advertisers implementing brand stories effectively, with clear voiceovers and recognisable situations two of the tools that can enhance the communication of ad narratives.

Showcasing your brand

The two final points explicated by Nielsen revolve around branding: specifically, utilising brand icons, and placing your brand prominently from the outset of your creative.

Using examples such as M&Ms’ talking duo, Walkers’ brand ambassador, Gary Lineker, and the Gaviscon fireman, Nielsen’s research highlights the importance of leveraging brand assets that create familiarity and drive recognition; of developing a long-term TV strategy that propels the development of a distinctive brand image over time. It could be specific colours, a jingle, character or narrative arc: each can contribute to brand fame and nationwide recognition.

Yet, as important to an effective TV ad is at what point in the creative you display your branding. Nielsen’s research demonstrates how it is during the first 10-seconds of the ad that a viewer will be at their most engaged; failing to integrate brand assets into the creative within this timeframe can result in a missed opportunity. Throughout the duration of the ad, your branding should be a prominent feature – whether it’s utilising brand mascots or ambassadors as characters central to the narrative, or emblazoning scenes with brand colours!

These are just four of the best practices advertisers should adopt when developing their TV creative. To learn more about the various other ingredients that go into a television campaign fit to supply long-term brand nourishment, why not give us a call?