Why TV Advertising Works for Businesses With Smaller Spends

TV advertising bears the ill-founded, outdated image of being a medium only open to businesses with multi-million pound annual budgets. Yet the fact is, this couldn’t be further from the truth, as Thinkbox’s Matt Hill demonstrated at our recent event for newcomers to TV.


“TV is actually incredibly cheap; it’s incredibly good value for money. The average cost of one person, seeing one 30-second spot, is half a penny.”

Matt empathised with the concerns drawn from TV’s perceived exclusivity, summarising the common view as: “’Surely TV is just a medium for big brands with big budgets; I’m a small business, I haven’t got the scale or the scope for TV.’”

Reflecting on why this idea persists, Matt said: “I can completely understand why people would think this, because the big brands do spend a lot of money on TV; the Money Supermarkets, the Skys, The L’Oreals, the P&Gs, the Unilevers: you will see a lot of their advertising on TV, and it appears unreachable.”

Yet, armed with research commissioned by Thinkbox, he was quick to illustrate how, contrary to popular belief, TV advertising is not only accessible for smaller spenders, but also very effective: “If we break down all advertisers who spent on TV last year into pockets, or groups, of different levels of spend, we can see that, by far, the actual majority of advertisers that have taken advantage of TV are sitting in the smallest bracket; in fact, I think it’s just over 60% of advertisers spent less than £250,000.”

“Now, absolutely, the guys who are in the £50 million plus category are the guys who make up the bulk of the spend, but there are a large number of smaller businesses who are utilising and taking advantage of the effectiveness that can be driven by TV advertising.”

So, how does this work? How can smaller business take advantage of TV? Driven by an unprecedented expansion in channel choice and subsequent opportunities to target specific audiences with greater efficiency than ever before, Matt outlined how “TV is actually incredibly cheap; it’s incredibly good value for money. The average cost of one person, seeing one 30-second spot, is half a penny.”

“You can get decent levels of reach, decent levels of exposure, at low levels of spend.”

Matt finished on an example of how a small business has utilised the scalable power of TV advertising to sustainably nurture grow into a market leader within its field: “I want to talk about a brilliant case study for an advertiser that’s seen tremendous growth. They started out in 2011, they’re called GTech, and basically, they came up with a new vacuum cleaner. The founder of the company once worked for Dyson, and thought he could do a better job: so he made his own.

“In the first year they started just by running regional advertising; they started in one region, and with no venture capital, no bank loans. Just by purely using their own cash, they put out a campaign and they generated response. They sold a lot of vacuum cleaners online, and made enough money to then go back on TV, reinvest it, and start to organically grow their business.

“They did this month after month, and they expanded incredibly quickly: in the first year they turned over £5 million, they are now turning over £100 million; they’re one of the fastest-growing businesses in the UK. They use TV as the way to organically grow their business from scratch, without any venture capital.”

TV advertising can provide the propelling force that smaller businesses need to drive growth, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth to achieve. If you believe television could work for you, then why not call our team for a chat on 0800 088 6789, or if you’d like us to put a non-obligatory strategy together, complete our TV Planning form.