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Appeal to the senses for maximum campaign effectiveness

In October 2016, almost 25% of the top 50 advertisers on TV were pure ‘dot-coms’ such as Very.co.uk, Confused.com and AO.com. In 2013, the number of dot-coms in the top 50 was almost half that. The rise in dot-com TV advertisers owes a lot to the growth of dual-screening; the act of engaging with a phone/tablet/laptop etc. whist watching TV.

So, why do many advertisers (or at least their creative agencies) seem to forget how potential customers engage with their ads when producing them? If a consumer is on Facebook during an advert break they will not see the visual element of your advert. So, unless the audio delivers the key message and gets their attention, you’ve basically paid for a wasted impression. Conversely, adverts consumed without sound when the voiceover purely delivers the key message similarly wastes impressions. An example being a betting advert during half time in a football match when the pub has turned the music back on.

Not On the High Street’s 2016 Christmas spot is an example of an advert that doesn’t deliver its key message with audio. 60” and 30” versions were launched on the 6th of November, showing crafty elves making gifts and talking to the camera about the joy of creating them. The end frame is a shot of a van’s number plate reading ‘5LEIGH’ which then drives off as the logo and web address appear along with the tagline ‘Thanks to our 5000 partners Elves’.

It is a nice advert: it’s smart, has a warm feel and showcases the ‘handmade and unique’ brand proposition. However, it is very subtle and lacks any real clear ‘sell’ or call to action. A creative director may tell you it is intriguing so people want to find out more. However, our performance experience indicates that a creative that is clear on what to do will always drive better results than one that leaves an element of ambiguity once the advert has ended. People simply do not remember every advert they see. No matter how ‘funny’, most consumers will not make the effort to find out what you’re trying to say. It’s a noisy market and the internet is a distracting place.

All Response Media Viewpoint

As a performance focused agency, our philosophy is to measure engagement in terms of action and to use advertising to send people to the site to experience the brand for themselves. This is a much more immersive brand experience than a TV ad which is squeezed in around other ads. The more people you can pull away from the big screen to look at your site on their small screen device, the better chance you have of making that campaign work for all metrics.

There are a number of variables to focus on when optimising campaigns to make them as efficient as possible; day of week, stations and programmes to name a few. However, the most important element (in synergy with a well optimised website and sufficient, relevant paid search support) is the creative. Without a responsive and clear advert, the media cannot work to its full potential.

Would adding a voiceover reading out the URL and a call to action at the end spoil the Not On The High Street ad and make it less effective in terms of ‘brand engagement’? The production agency felt so. Would it have made it clearer who it was for, thus improving brand engagement, driving more response and reducing wasted impacts for those not actually ‘watching the TV’? We think so.