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How to get an ad on tv without it costing the earth

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With more of us spending more time glued to the television (on average, three hours and 37 minutes a day, two thirds of which is commercial TV and 87% live) a TV ad can be an integral part of your marketing strategy.

Here’s what you need to consider when thinking venturing into the world of TV advertising (potentially without a lot of money to pay for it).

First things first, you need to ask: “Why?”

What are you looking to achieve on TV? Are you trying to get your name out there for the first time? Are you launching a new service or product? Is it because you just reckon you should be on TV? And why is your budget at the level it’s at?

Get your answers – and get the big idea that relates to them.

We’d like to emphasise the importance of the big idea. Because a one-off TV spot without a big idea might get you noticed – but if you want to go further, you’ll run out of steam. A big idea will give you the legs to keep going into a campaign or into other media and collateral.

So you need to do some rigorous thinking that gets you to the core proposition and the core of your brand. Then you’ve got the chance to build on that firm foundation.

Which brings us back to the budget

You’ll have already asked yourself why your budget is what it is, and it’s important to clearly define how much money is in the pot.

Knowing the budget upfront allows the creative and planning teams to clearly define the best division of the pennies between the two to deliver the most effective campaign possible.

And if the budget’s low, you can still be crafty and clever, taking your big idea and moulding it into something that communicates well, doesn’t look cheap and grabs attention. After all, if you’re up against competitors in the same place, you’ve got to stand out and be different, otherwise your ad may as well just be wallpaper.

Not got the budget to do the job? Think you’ll struggle to get a half decent ad out? Sometimes it’s worth waiting and keeping your powder dry rather than putting out something that doesn’t hit the mark.

If you do go ahead, then getting the creative right is only half the battle

An effective TV commercial can only be as successful as its placement and being seen by the right people at the right time. Showing an advert to the completely wrong audience demographic is unlikely to deliver the results you’re looking for.

Sky AdSmart is one option. A simple but highly effective tool to target your prospective customers, it’s as easy as giving them your budget, dates for activity, target demographic and stating the number of impressions you want to achieve. Then they do the hard work for you.

Our next tip: aim to plan your media so that every potential customer will see your commercial at least four times. This may mean that your universe (i.e. the number of unique users that will watch your ad) will need to be smaller. So before putting all your eggs in one basket and rolling out the ad nationwide, select a target area to run a test campaign.

Finally, be sure to get the most bang for your buck by effectively repurposing the content you produce. You might consider paid distribution on YouTube, which on average reaches more adults during prime time than any cable TV on mobile, or repurposing your content for use on Facebook and Twitter, which between them have around 52 million users in the UK.

And that’s it…

A quick rundown of what to do if taking tentative steps into TV advertising.

It doesn’t have to be difficult – and as an integrated agency, we do a lot of this kind of work.

Take a look at an ad we produced for Nominet, that got noticed and got results.

So if you want to know more about TV advertising (or radio, print, social or paid online advertising for that matter), get in touch today.