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3 minute read | May 2015

Even though India’s biggest brands still allocate the bulk of their media spend on television advertising, their creative campaigns aren’t as bulletproof as they once were. Today, consumers are distracted by a growing deluge of messages, they’re more fickle with their remote controls, and once-hallowed time slots have to compete with digital media. As a result, results from the ever-pricier on-air TV commercial are becoming less predictable and costlier to invest in.

Despite the options and channels available to consumers today, the wide reach of TV and its unmatched presence in the household makes television advertising a critical part of any mass media campaign. So what then can marketers straining to maximize return on investment (ROI) do? To help find clarity within the new media landscape, we’ve studied millions of seconds of televised advertising across categories to identify the five key characteristics of successful television campaigns.

Beware, however. These findings aren’t for the faint hearted or for brand managers from a time ruled by limited channels and few media vehicles. But they can be an invaluable source of strategic direction and planning for brand and media custodians who are willing to track, monitor and alter their campaigns in flight rather than after they’ve run their course. For the nimble-footed, these guidelines can form the basis of smarter campaign management and creative direction that can yield better returns and economies that can fund a broader width of marketing support activities to complement a great television campaign.

Rule 1 – Strong ad content breaks through 4x better than a weak ad.

Rule 2 – Be categorical about your comparison: Standing out within your category is more important than being liked. 

Rule 3 – Duration doesn’t define impact: Longer formats don’t guarantee higher ad resonance.

Rule 4 – Eliminate overlaps = Efficiency = Better ROI 

Rule 5 – Differentiate more to avoid ‘helping’ competitors

Less is more… sometimes

Ad breakthrough, which confirms that both an ad and the featured brand have been recalled by the respondents, doesn’t vary significantly across formats. Longer formats, despite the fanfare they tend to receive, don’t necessarily guarantee high ad resonance. In fact, while the buzz around them may lead to greater interest and memorability, they usually take too much effort to view repeatedly.

It’s more important for advertisers to focus on creating a compelling ad and integrate adequate brand cues than spending money on a longer format just to create a longer message.

This is neither an exhaustive list of rules nor a magic potion to cure bad advertising. But it’s a list that can help you refine your strategy and tactics while a campaign is being conceived and executed. Remembering that a distinctive proposition, the right duration, a better understanding of your desired demographic and the right degree of differentiation can make your campaign more memorable and effective, comprise a surprisingly simple formula for success. The key is remembering to apply these rules during the course of a campaign rather than after it’s too late to make changes.

For more details download the full report (top right).


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