Why TV is Still the Best Arena for Creating Brand Fame

Advertising can change a brand into a household name, and one form is by far the most effective for making a memorable impression: TV advertising.

Some television adverts make such an impact they stick with us not just for our next trip to the shops, but for many years to come. We see them every day, but some of them get under our skin.  How often have you had a jingle in your head? Or anticipated the arrival of certain Christmas adverts?  Maybe you remember an advert that was particularly imaginative, funny, clever, or touching. What makes these adverts remain in our minds?

The adverts that get into long-term memory are not usually the ones reeling off facts about the effectiveness of the product or value for money, but the ones that tap into an emotion. Whether they make us laugh or cry hardly matters; connecting with emotions in general is what makes an advert memorable.

Television advertising is uniquely set up to make an unforgettable advert. The combination of sounds and moving images is especially evocative compared to something like a static billboard that can be easily looked away from before the message has really sunk in, or the limited scope of radio advertisements.

There is a place for all kinds of ads, but TV advertisements must be the most effective. You would think with the popularity of the internet that online ads would be taking over. While it is still a growing industry, people almost view internet adverts as a nuisance, something to be sat through, whereas television advertisements are more established and accepted. A TV nation poll showed that 74% of people found TV adverts the most likely to make them laugh, miles ahead of joint second place: radio and web advertising took 10% each. And if it can make you laugh, it can make you remember the product. This poll is not in isolation.  Another study showed that 77% found TV to be the most likely advertising medium to generate an emotional response of any kind.

Perhaps this is in part because TV advertising is the best suited to narrative. Also, people watching TV are relaxed and receptive. The adverts appear in a break between programs that are often engaging and interesting. Research has shown that audiences who are most emotionally invested in a TV show are most receptive to the adverts they see in the break. We like to relax when we watch TV, and when we are open that is when our guard is down and we are most able to take on new information. The audience are captive, waiting for their program to begin, and easily drawn in to a short narrative.

Apple have managed to convince their customers through a series of often short but very impactful ads that Apple products are the best tool for creative people. A 2014 advert by Apple for their lightweight tablet the iPad air stirs the emotions with a passage from Dead Poets Society.  Robin Williams asks the viewer “the powerful play goes on and you will contribute a verse.  What will your verse be?” The repetition of this line in juxtaposition with people documenting incredible landscapes and cultural dancing in exotic locations reinforces the message that we each have the power to contribute something beautiful to the world, and the implication that maybe their product would help us do so. The advert is impeccably shot and features stunning images of wonder and curiosity.  It serves to demonstrate the device as integral in experiencing the world, but does this not by telling you that, but by showing people using it in amazing places and associating the product with appreciation of beauty and zest for life.

Google’s Parisian Love advert maintains it’s focus on the ubiquitous search bar as an unseen everyman (could it be you?) searches first how to study abroad, then translate “tu es tres mignons” (you are very cute) as the collaged sounds play a sweet french lady’s voice and piano music plays in the background with a sense of gentle inevitability. The relationship progresses, shown the whole time through searches for truffles, a church for a wedding, and how to assemble a crib, demonstrating Google as having all the answers and in fact facilitating all these marvellous things to occur. In following the storyline, we identify with the unseen computer user and note how he is able to find a new and exciting life using this everyday tool we take for granted and reinforcing it as invaluable. Not only that but our brains now associate Google with the thrill of romance.  Who else would you search with?

Both of these television adverts pull the heart strings in different ways, and are all effective ways of reinforcing brands. With 90% of brand conversations taking place offline, television is still the main arena for creating memorable stories and getting your brand into the minds and conversations of your demographic.  While big companies seem to advertise on television, for many of them TV advertising was part of establishing themselves as a leading brand. 

Advertising on TV is not quite as expensive as you’d expect and pays manifold dividends, most importantly in the guise of vastly increased sales and profit, but also in how the customer perceives your product.  And good adverts can be made even on a tight budget.  Sometimes limitations bring about enhanced creativity and if you have a creative enough idea for an advert, producers will fight to make it, often offering to do it for not very much as it is good publicity for them too. Putting together a television advert is much more achievable than some people would imagine, and is well worth the expenditure.