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Thinkbox – New Approaches to TV Advertising

Thinkbox – New Approaches to TV Advertising

Last Wednesday I attended Thinkbox’s Ad Fab: New approaches to TV advertising event at BAFTA in Piccadilly.

Tim Harford, economist and journalist, opened the session by discussing the nature of innovation. He debated the merits of progression: a steady marginal gains approach (small changes and innovations) vs a riskier (but possibly more rewarding) great leap (radical experiments) . Harford asserted that brands should consider both strategies when it comes to TV advertising.

Zoe Harkness, Head of Industry Programmes at Thinkbox, continued with a quick fire round-up of innovative TV ads. This was an inspiring session for sparking ideas, and served as a great reminder of the possibilities and advantages of working with TV. Here are a few that really stood out:

In July 2017 Mindshare bought two simultaneous ad spots, one on Channel 4 and one on ITV, to promote “War for the Planet of the Apes”. The two channels showed different stories, with the voiceover announcing: “in every war there are two sides. Whose side do you want to hear? Stay tuned for the human story on ITV, or witness the ape story on Channel 4 now.” This was a simple but clever activation – and safely assumed that viewers of Skyfall and Bridesmaids would switch back to their respective channels once the ad was over!

In October 2017, TV channel Dave worked with Snickers on their “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign for a channel takeover. Dave, as a persona, adopted a different personality and became the posh and pretentious Rupert. The channel acted out of character at 3.28pm – the peak time for mid-afternoon hunger – changing its name, voiceover, and programming. OOH advertising followed suit, and social media also published uncharacteristic content. This campaign is a great example of extending a TV ad across different channels to maximise impact and cut-through.

Targeting In TV
The B2B audience is notoriously difficult to reach with TV viewing. However, Sky AdSmart now have a Senior Decision Makers audience segment that businesses can use to target potential clients. This is a niche concept, and one that has been explored by Santander, HSBC, and IBM – and is something we’re planning for one of our own B2B clients. It’s a great example of how TV is becoming a more viable and relevant platform for a growing number of companies who previously found TV targeting problematic.

With the progression of catch up and VoD, there is the added benefit of personalisation. This is becoming a focus for brands wanting to create cut through (especially FMCG brands). In August 2017, Onken ran a personalised ad on All 4. It addressed the viewer by name and encouraged them to handpick their favourite yoghurt flavours to create their own ‘YouGurt’.

Harkness continued to talk about the possibilities with brands creating content, citing Age UK’s Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds at Christmas on Channel 4 and Suzuki’s All Star Driving School on E4 as great examples.

Sessions that followed included an in-depth look at how brands have worked with ITV, Channel 4 and Sky to create innovative campaigns.

Sarah Hodges
Media Account Manager

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