The positioning of television advertising, whether first in the ad break, ‘mid-pod’ or the last commercial can have varying degrees of effect and resonance with viewers. Further, the placement of ads adjacent to contextually relevant programming can enhance the impact of the communication on the viewer, with new technologies enabling this process to achieve greater results.


Television advertising positioning is the place where commercials fall within an advertising break – sometimes also known as a pod. Both context and positioning can have a bearing on the success of the advertising. Context refers to the tone and topics of the surrounding content, and the other ads in the break.

Key insights

1. Media context drives ad recall and recognition

A meta-analysis of 70 different studies focused on advertising recall and recognition found that high media involvement, greater congruency between media and advertising content and content liking drove advertising memorisation. However, highly arousing humorous, violent, sexual and suspenseful content had a negative effect. The analysis also found that context exerted a greater impact on unfamiliar brands, so particular care should be taken when launching new brands or trying to reach new, non-user target audiences not aware of the brand.