The effects of commercial length on advertising impact: What short advertisements can and cannot deliver

There are competing explanations for why longer advertisements are remembered better, such as more time to memorize, add branding and claims, tell stories, and get attention, with some acknowledgment of diminishing returns.
Varan, Nenycz-Thiel, Kennedy, and Bellman


  • Short commercials can deliver effectiveness efficiently, because commercial length has diminishing returns.
  • Most of the effectiveness of long commercials is delivered in the first five seconds.
  • Short commercials can achieve rates of brand recall nearly comparable to those of longer advertisements, but longer commercials allow more time to tell a story and take viewers on an emotional journey, which increases brand recall and advertisement liking.
  • Short commercials...

Not a subscriber?

Schedule your live demo with our team today

WARC helps you to plan, create and deliver more effective marketing

  • Prove your case and back-up your idea

  • Get expert guidance on strategic challenges

  • Tackle current and emerging marketing themes

We’re long-term subscribers to WARC and it’s a tool we use extensively. We use it to source case studies and best practice for the purposes of internal training, as well as for putting persuasive cases to clients. In compiling a recent case for long-term, sustained investment in brand, we were able to support key marketing principles with numerous case studies sourced from WARC. It helped bring what could have been a relatively dry deck to life with recognisable brand successes from across a broad number of categories. It’s incredibly efficient to have such a wealth of insight in one place.

Insights Team
Bray Leino

You’re in good company

We work with 80% of Forbes' most valuable brands* and 80% of the world's top top-of-the-class agencies.

* Top 10 brands