TV Advertising: The Ultimate Guide

Feb 22, 2023 / Uncategorised / FOTW

TV advertising is one of the most effective ways to market a product or service. Despite the many threats the medium has faced – including digital formats and a change in audience behaviour – TV ads are still as powerful as ever. From the jingles that echo in our minds to the memorable characters that become cultural icons, TV commercials hold a unique sway over consumer consciousness. But what exactly is TV advertising, and why does it remain a vital tool for businesses in an era dominated by digital media?

Whether you are new to TV advertising or keen on learning more, we’ve got you covered! This comprehensive guide will help you understand more about this marketing channel and some of the key considerations for creating or measuring a campaign.

What is TV advertising?

TV advertising involves crafting compelling narratives, visuals, and audio elements to capture viewers’ attention and influence their perceptions and behaviours.

Traditional TV advertising typically involves purchasing ad slots during scheduled programming on broadcast or cable networks. These advertisements are broadcast to a broad audience, often categorised by demographics such as age, gender, or geographic location. Advertisers aim to leverage the mass appeal of television to raise brand awareness, promote products or services, and drive consumer action. However, there are also more targeted approaches, which use advanced data analytics and audience segmentation capabilities to reach a more precise audience.

In essence, TV advertising encompasses a spectrum of strategies and techniques aimed at leveraging the power of television to connect with audiences, drive engagement, and achieve marketing objectives. Whether through traditional broadcast ads or the precision targeting of addressable TV, TV advertising remains a potent force in the ever-evolving landscape of marketing and media.

What are the types of Television Advertising?

TV advertising encompasses various types and formats, each tailored to specific objectives, target audiences, and budget considerations. The diverse range of formats provides advertisers with flexibility and versatility in crafting campaigns that resonate with target audiences and achieve specific marketing objectives.

By leveraging the strengths of each type of TV advertising, brands can maximise their reach, engagement, and impact in the competitive media landscape.

Linear Advertising

Linear advertising refers to the traditional method of broadcasting television advertisements on scheduled linear programming, where viewers watch content at specific times determined by the broadcaster. In linear advertising, commercial breaks are interspersed within the programming schedule, allowing advertisers to reach audiences during popular shows, sports events, news broadcasts, and other television content.

This form of advertising follows a linear progression, with ads airing sequentially according to the predetermined schedule set by the television network. Viewers have limited control over the timing and content of advertisements, as they are typically presented in real-time alongside the broadcasted programming.

Linear advertising has been the dominant model in television advertising for decades, offering advertisers broad reach, high visibility, and the opportunity to capitalise on the popularity of established television programs.


Infomercials are longer-form television advertisements that resemble television programs or talk shows. They typically run for 30 minutes or more and are designed to educate viewers about a product or service in detail. Infomercials often include demonstrations, testimonials, and persuasive calls-to-action, aiming to drive direct sales or generate leads. They are commonly used for products with complex features or benefits, such as fitness equipment, kitchen appliances, or beauty products.

Sponsorship and Product Placement

Sponsorship involves brands paying to have their logo or brand name prominently featured within a television program or event. Product placement, on the other hand, involves integrating branded products or references into the content of television shows, movies, or other forms of media. Both sponsorship and product placement offer opportunities for brands to reach audiences in a more subtle and integrated manner, leveraging the popularity and credibility of the associated content.

Local Advertising

Local advertising involves targeting specific geographic regions or markets with customised TV commercials. Small businesses or regional brands, can purchase ad spots on local television channels or during programming that appeals to local audiences. Local advertising allows brands to reach consumers in their immediate vicinity and tailor their messages to local preferences and interests.

Interactive and Addressable TV

Interactive TV advertising enables viewers to engage with advertisements through interactive features such as clickable overlays, polls, or interactive games. This format enhances viewer participation and engagement, providing advertisers with valuable data and insights into consumer preferences and behaviours. Addressable TV advertising utilises advanced targeting technologies to deliver customised ads to specific households or individuals based on demographic, psychographic, or behavioural criteria, maximising relevance and effectiveness.

Branded Content and Sponsorship Integration

Branded content involves the creation of original programming or content sponsored by a brand, often in collaboration with television networks or production studios. These programs seamlessly integrate brand messaging and product placements into the content, offering a more immersive and authentic brand experience for viewers. Branded content allows brands to engage audiences in a non-intrusive manner while aligning with relevant themes or interests.

How to Create a TV Ad?

To create an effective TV ad, advertisers must follow some important steps, ensuring the correct planning and production of materials. We have a complete guide on how to embark on this journey, but here are some key aspects of this process:

Define Your Objectives and Your Audience

You probably have an idea of what your target audience is and what your campaign goals are. At this stage, it is important to define the specific goals of the TV ad campaign, such as increasing brand awareness, promoting a new product, or driving sales.

You can always ask for the help of a strategist to Identify the target audience for the ad, considering demographic characteristics, interests, behaviours, and media consumption habits. Even if that is something you are familiar with, getting other people to review your data might offer better insights.

Research and Insights

Work closely with your media planner to gather insights into consumer preferences, industry trends, and competitive landscape. You can conduct research to better understand your consumers.

Analyse past TV ad campaigns, including successes and failures, to inform strategy and creative development.

Develop a Creative Concept

Brainstorm creative concepts and messaging ideas that align with the campaign objectives and resonate with the target audience. Consider the unique selling proposition (USP) of the product or service and how it can be communicated effectively in the ad.

If there is a need to create a new master campaign, you may want to go through a pitch process that is fair and scored on creativity and cost to produce.

Explore different storytelling approaches, visual styles, and emotional triggers to capture audience attention and engagement.

Working with an agency is a great approach at this step, as they will be able to help you come up with a creative concept that is also doable, which means your ideas will be enhanced and brought to life.

Media Planning and Placement

Develop a media plan that outlines the timing, frequency, and placement of the TV ad across relevant channels and programs.

Consider factors such as reach, frequency, cost, and audience demographics when selecting media placements.

Negotiate ad buys and secure placement with television networks, stations, or media agencies to maximise exposure and impact.

Scriptwriting and Storyboarding

Write a compelling script that conveys the key message of the ad in a clear, concise, and memorable manner.

Create a storyboard or visual representation of the ad, outlining the sequence of scenes, camera angles, and visual elements.

Incorporate elements of storytelling, humour, or drama to enhance the narrative and evoke emotional responses from viewers.

We at Fall off the Wall can help you write a compelling script that will best translate your ideas and concepts.

Assemble a Team of Talents

Cast actors, spokespersons, or voiceover talents that embody the brand’s image and appeal to the target audience.

Ensure diversity and representation in casting to reflect the audience demographics and foster inclusivity.

For animated commercials, ensure you have a team like Fall of the Wall by your side that will help you bring your creative vision to life.

Location Scouting and Set Design

If you plan to have your advert as live action TV, you may need to scout locations that complement the creative concept and provide visually appealing backdrops for filming.

Design sets or props that enhance the storytelling and reinforce the brand identity, taking into account aesthetics, lighting, and production requirements.

Alternatively, you can work with an agency like Fall Off the Wall to develop an animated concept. If that is the case, location scouting won’t be necessary.

Filming and Production

Coordinate logistics for filming, including crew, equipment, permits, and scheduling.

Direct the actors and crew to capture scenes according to the storyboard, ensuring adherence to the creative vision and brand guidelines.

Optimise production quality by using high-definition cameras, professional lighting, and audio equipment.

As mentioned above, you can also skip this step if your production is animated.

Editing and Post-Production

Edit the raw footage to assemble the animated shots according to the script and storyboard, incorporating visual effects, music, and sound design.

Fine-tune the pacing, timing, and sequencing of scenes to maintain viewer engagement and convey the intended message effectively.

Ensure consistency in branding elements, such as logos, colours, and typography, throughout the ad.

Cost and Budgeting of TV Ads

The costs involved in TV advertising can vary widely depending on factors such as the length and frequency of ad placements, the time of day, the popularity of the TV network or program, and the production quality of the ad itself.

Production costs include expenses related to scriptwriting, casting, filming, editing, and post-production. These costs can vary based on factors such as the complexity of the creative concept, the number of locations, the use of special effects or animations, and the talent fees.

For small-scale TV advertising campaigns with simple ad formats and lower production values, production costs may range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. Larger-scale campaigns with high-production value ads featuring celebrity endorsements, elaborate sets, or visual effects can incur production costs ranging from tens of thousands to millions of dollars.

Media buying costs are also important. They involve the purchase of ad placements on television networks or stations. The cost is influenced by factors such as the time slot, program popularity, audience demographics, and market demand.

Ad placement costs can vary significantly depending on the time of day and the popularity of the program. Prime-time slots during evening hours when viewership is highest tend to command higher ad rates compared to daytime or late-night slots.

The duration and frequency of TV ad placements also impact overall campaign costs. Longer ad durations or more frequent placements generally require higher budgets to maintain visibility and impact.

When budgeting for TV advertising campaigns, it’s essential for advertisers to consider their overall marketing objectives, target audience, competitive landscape, and available resources. By carefully allocating budget across production, media buying, and other campaign elements, advertisers can develop effective TV ad campaigns that deliver maximum impact and ROI within their budget constraints. Additionally, tracking and analysing campaign performance metrics can provide valuable insights for future budgeting and optimisation efforts.

Ways to Measure the Success of TV

We have discussed how TV ads are still relevant, the different types of ads, how to create one and even the cost of this type of advertising. However, nothing matters if advertisers can’t measure the results and success of their creations.

Measuring the reach and effectiveness of TV ads is crucial to evaluate the impact of their advertising campaigns, optimise performance, and justify investment decisions. By leveraging key metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), businesses can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of their TV ads and make informed decisions to enhance campaign outcomes.

Here are some important KPIs for TV ads


Impressions represent the total number of times an ad is viewed by the audience. It indicates the potential reach of the ad campaign and helps gauge overall exposure.


Reach measures the total number of unique viewers or households exposed to the ad. It provides insights into the breadth of audience coverage and helps assess campaign penetration.


Frequency measures the average number of times an individual viewer is exposed to the ad within a specified time period. Monitoring frequency helps manage ad fatigue and optimise campaign frequency to maximise impact without overexposure.

Brand Awareness

Surveys or brand lift studies can assess changes in brand awareness, recall, and recognition among viewers exposed to the TV ad compared to a control group. Increased brand awareness indicates the effectiveness of the ad in capturing audience attention and enhancing brand visibility.

Message Recall

Testing ad recall or message association among viewers can evaluate how well the ad communicates key messages or brand attributes. Higher message recall indicates the ad’s effectiveness in conveying the intended message and resonating with the audience.

Purchase Intent

Surveys or consumer research can measure changes in purchase intent or consideration among viewers exposed to the TV ad. Positive shifts in purchase intent indicate the ad’s influence on consumer attitudes and willingness to purchase the advertised product or service.

Advanced TV Advertising Strategies

Although TV advertising is a traditional method, there are some innovative approaches that leverage digital technologies, data analytics, and audience targeting capabilities to deliver more personalised, relevant, and effective advertising experiences on television platforms.

Targeted TV Advertising

Targeted TV advertising enables advertisers to deliver tailored ads to specific households or individuals based on demographic, behavioural, or geographic attributes.

By leveraging set-top box data, smart TV data, or third-party data sources, advertisers can target TV ads with precision, reaching relevant audiences with customised messaging.

This approach allows for greater targeting efficiency, reduced ad waste, and improved campaign effectiveness compared to traditional broadcast TV advertising.

Connected TV (CTV) Advertising

Connected TV advertising involves delivering ads to viewers who stream video content on internet-connected devices such as smart TVs, streaming media players, gaming consoles, or OTT devices.

CTV advertising offers opportunities for targeted, interactive, and measurable advertising experiences similar to digital advertising, enabling advertisers to reach audiences beyond traditional linear TV viewership. It also allows for precise audience targeting, dynamic ad insertion, and real-time performance tracking, enhancing campaign effectiveness and ROI.

Programmatic TV Advertising

Programmatic TV advertising automates the buying and selling of TV ad inventory using data-driven algorithms and real-time bidding technology.

Advertisers can use programmatic platforms to target specific audience segments, optimise campaign delivery, and achieve greater efficiency and transparency in TV ad buying.

Programmatic TV advertising offers flexibility, scalability, and targeting precision, enabling advertisers to reach desired audiences across a diverse range of TV channels and platforms.

Interactive TV Advertising

Interactive TV advertising allows viewers to engage with ads by interacting with on-screen elements, such as clickable overlays, quizzes, polls, or interactive games. By encouraging viewer participation, interactive TV ads can enhance engagement, brand recall, and purchase intent, driving higher levels of viewer interaction and ad effectiveness.

Interactive TV advertising provides advertisers with valuable data and insights into viewer preferences and behaviours, enabling them to optimise ad creative and messaging for better results.

Cross-Platform Advertising

Cross-platform advertising involves coordinating TV ad campaigns with digital advertising efforts across multiple screens and devices, including desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs. With this approach, advertisers leverage the power of second screening.

By integrating TV ads with digital channels such as social media, search, display, and video, advertisers can extend their reach, reinforce messaging, and drive cross-channel engagement and conversions.

Cross-platform advertising allows for cohesive, omnichannel marketing experiences that maximise audience reach and impact across the consumer journey.

CTV Retargeting

CTV retargeting involves re-engaging with viewers who have previously interacted with an advertiser’s brand or website across digital channels, such as websites, mobile apps, or social media platforms, through targeted TV ads delivered on CTV devices.

By leveraging data from online interactions, such as website visits, app usage, or search queries, advertisers can retarget audiences with relevant TV ads when they are streaming content on connected TV devices.

CTV retargeting enables advertisers to extend their reach across multiple screens and touchpoints, reinforcing brand messaging and driving conversions through personalised and contextually relevant TV ads.

The Impact of TV Advertising

TV advertising can have several positive impacts on society, ranging from fostering positive viewer moods to delivering tangible brand benefits.

When it comes to the impact they have on viewer behaviour, TV commercials often incorporate humor, creativity, and storytelling elements that entertain viewers and provide moments of joy and amusement. Well-crafted ads can lift viewers’ spirits, evoke positive emotions, and enhance their overall viewing experience.

They can also serve as educational tools by informing viewers about important social issues, health concerns, or public service initiatives. Advertisements promoting public safety, environmental conservation, or charitable causes raise awareness and encourage positive behaviors within society.

TV commercials have the power to shape cultural norms, values, and attitudes by reflecting societal trends, diversity, and inclusivity. Ads that celebrate diversity, challenge stereotypes, or promote social justice contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society. Furthermore, inspirational and aspirational TV ads featuring success stories, personal achievements, or acts of kindness can inspire viewers to pursue their dreams, overcome challenges, or make positive changes in their lives. Advertisements that highlight human resilience, empathy, and altruism foster a sense of hope and optimism within society.

For brands, TV advertising offers numerous benefits that contribute to positive societal outcomes. By raising brand awareness, building brand trust, and reinforcing brand values, TV ads help businesses establish strong connections with consumers and become integral parts of their lives. TV advertising enables brands to communicate their commitment to social responsibility, sustainability, and ethical business practices, enhancing their reputation and earning consumer loyalty.

Are TV Ads Worth it’s Value?

Despite the evolving media landscape and the emergence of digital advertising alternatives, TV ads continue to be worth the investment. They offer unparalleled mass reach and scale, allowing advertisers to reach millions of viewers across diverse demographics, geographic regions, and socio-economic backgrounds. Television remains a dominant medium for reaching broad audiences efficiently and effectively, making it ideal for brand building and maximising exposure.

TV ads also have the power to captivate viewers’ attention and evoke strong emotional responses through compelling storytelling, visual imagery, and audiovisual effects. The immersive nature of television enables advertisers to create memorable and impactful ad experiences that resonate with viewers, driving brand awareness, recall, and favorability.

Television is a trusted and established medium that enjoys high levels of credibility and authority among consumers. TV ads aired on reputable networks or during trusted programming are perceived as more trustworthy and legitimate by viewers, enhancing brand credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of consumers.

TV advertising is a powerful tool for brand building and long-term brand equity. Through consistent and strategic TV ad campaigns, advertisers can establish strong brand identities, shape consumer perceptions, and build emotional connections with audiences over time, leading to increased brand loyalty, advocacy, and lifetime customer value.

This approach also complements digital channels and integrated marketing campaigns by providing broad reach, emotional engagement, and brand storytelling capabilities. By combining TV ads with digital channels such as social media, search, and online video, advertisers can create cohesive, omnichannel marketing experiences that maximise audience reach and impact.

Advances in TV ad measurement and analytics enable advertisers to track and measure the effectiveness of their TV ad campaigns more accurately than ever before. By leveraging metrics such as reach, frequency, brand lift, and sales attribution, advertisers can assess the ROI of their TV ad investments and optimise campaign performance for maximum impact and efficiency.

Despite the rise of digital media and streaming services, TV advertising remains resilient and adaptable to changing consumer behaviours and technological trends. Television continues to evolve with innovations such as addressable TV, connected TV, and programmatic advertising, offering advertisers new opportunities to reach audiences in a dynamic and evolving media landscape.

The Future TV Advertising Trends

In this page, we have discussed how TV advertising is still relevant and how advertises can leverage this marketing approach. Still, like with any other advertising or communication method, TV is constantly evolving. Keeping an eye on TV ads trends and ways to reach an audience more effectively is essential.

The internet is definitely one of the main drivers for change in TV advertising. Technology has transformed the manner in which people access and consume media, as well as how they make purchasing decisions. Therefore, some of the most innovative and modern trends in TV advertising involve the internet and digital means.

Using multiscreen approaches, target ads based on online behaviour, programmatic and interactive ads are some of these new trends advertisers can incorporate into their campaigns.

Following trends enables advertisers to stay relevant, maximise their advertising effectiveness, and adapt to evolving consumer behaviours and industry dynamics. Understanding emerging trends allows advertisers to adopt innovative approaches, leverage new technologies, and differentiate themselves from competitors.

TV ad trends provide valuable insights into shifting consumer behaviours, preferences, and consumption habits, allowing advertisers to tailor their ad strategies accordingly. By understanding how audiences engage with TV content, consume media across devices, and respond to different ad formats, advertisers can create more targeted, personalised, and effective ad experiences.

TV Ads Examples

This article provided a lot of information and you can learn more by reading some of the articles linked here or exploring our blog. Still, it is important to remember that there are many factors that make a great TV ad campaign.

When it comes to TV commercials, short, simple stories, that reflect on your company values and business goals is always the best approach. The best TV ads out there are fun, have a call-to-action that works, and, most importantly, talk directly to the brand’s audience.

Here are some good examples of ads that can inspire your campaign:

Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (2010)

Old Spice was a brand associated with the past. In 2010, the bizarre and insanely viral advertisements featuring the “ideal man” Isaiah Mustafa changed this perception.

Instead of targeting men, the commercial was aimed at women. The brand understood that the purchasing decision for men’s deodorant was often made by the women in these men’s lives. The targeting insight and the funny and curious appeal of the campaign brought amazing results to Old Spice: 55 per cent increase in sales.

The image of the “ideal man” continued to be part of the brand’s ad strategy, as well as the fun and bizarre nature of the commercials. The brand now appeals to a younger generation and is often remembered for these commercials.

Apple – Mac Vs PC (2006)

A great commercial has the potential to becoming part of our culture. It will be referred to in normal conversation and used to describe behaviours. This is definitely the case of the Mac vs PC commercials.

In the early 2000s, Apple launched a series of adverts – that lasted three years – showcasing the difference between its more relaxed and “cool” tech and the more serious, laggy PC. The visual representation of the two hardware made it easier for consumers to understand the appeal of a Mac computer and contributed to the idea that Apple is much “cooler” and modern.

Furthermore, the image of Justin Long and John Hodgman, two very different actors representing each of the devices, became part of our culture.

Cravendale – Cats with Thumbs (2011)

If you’ve been on the internet long enough, you’ve probably seen the gif of a cat filing its nails. This commercial is the origin of this meme.

The idea of this ad, proposed by milk brand Cravendale, was “what if cats had opposable thumbs?”. What results is a fun and absurd commercial that generated a 9 per cent increase in sales for Cravendale and a meme that is used to this day.


Do you need help to create a memorable TV ad? Contact us here or at

Author - Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith is the Co-Founder and Creative Director at Fall Off The Wall, a forward-thinking TV advertising & creative production agency in the UK. Jamie Smith is an experienced Creative Director with a demonstrated history of working in the DRTV marketing and advertising industry.