LONDON: The best TV ads combine creativity, simplicity, emotional impact, brand integration and a catchy tune, according to an assessment of learnings from a tracking and testing database.

Phil Shaw of Ipsos outlines these findings in 10 rules for TV strategy, based on the evidence the market research business has accumulated, but also cautions that he is not offering a template for success. "Many of the best ads break all the rules," he writes in the current issue of Admap magazine.

But one aspect that cannot be ignored is creativity, which accounts for 75% of TV cut-through. After allowing for differences in media weight, Ipsos data revealed "huge variance" in the ability of ads to leave brand-linked memories which was largely explained by creative diagnostics.

"If a TV ad fails to engage and cut through from the outset, then it's unlikely to perform better by putting more spend behind it," said Shaw.

He further warned that "viewers won't work to understand your ads" and that simplicity was vital, so avoid multiple messages and have clear situations.

Facial coding is increasingly used to evaluate ads, and Shaw highlighted the importance of emotions in TV advertising. Ipsos data shows that ads with more emotional associations create greater brand desire and deliver stronger sales potential.

None of this matters, of course, if the viewer can't remember the brand being advertised. According to Shaw, 50% of the reason TV ads fail is due to weak branding attribution. "It seems so simple, but it's also incredible how often this happens," he said.

His advice was to devise a relevant and integrated role for the brand within the planned scenario and to include brand cues and brand presence.

Cadbury's Gorilla ad famously broke these rules but it did possess one other thing that Shaw stressed could be a useful driver of ad effectiveness. "Music can stir emotions like nothing else," he said and ads with music generally created a stronger desire for the brand and delivered better brand linkage, especially if consistent soundtracks were used over time.

Data sourced from Warc