There is much debate about the optimum TV schedule. The type of campaign – brand (or product) led, emotional or functional – is often the determining factor in TV scheduling. Continuity, flighting and bursts are among the most common approaches.


Continuity: Advertising runs steadily with little variation over a campaign period

Flighting: Intermittent periods of advertising, alternating with shorter periods of no advertising

Burst (pulse): Heavy bursts of advertising during key selling periods, combined with a low level of advertising all year round

Recency planning: Continuous advertising based on the idea that people purchase all year

Continuous reach planning: Like recency planning, except focusing on reach over frequency in continuous (not short) bursts

Key insights

1. Small businesses new to TV should start with a burst strategy

A 2019 study found that, for smaller businesses looking to generate a rapid uptake in sales volume, TV is the most effective medium. Over three years, TV created 80% of smaller businesses’ advertising-generated sales, even though it accounted for only two-thirds of spend. Small businesses are advised to use TV seasonally to leverage variations in media cost and seasonal sales effects. This means a burst rather than drip strategy. Burst campaigns at the most efficient time of year beat a longer campaign spread over the year. For example, to launch its product in the UK, Peloton, the US exercise equipment manufacturer, used two bursts of TV to create brand desirability during the key Christmas and New Year period – driving awareness, online traffic and exceeding its sales targets. As businesses grow, however, a more sustained TV presence throughout the year is recommended.