LONDON: Digital developments and new platforms have their place, but TV can still act as the beating heart of any major advertising campaign, an industry figure has argued.

In a WARC Best Practice Paper, How to use TV effectively in the media mix, Matt Hill, research and planning director at Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, notes that while technology is advancing rapidly, the fundamentals of viewing behaviour haven’t changed.

“We like to watch TV on the best screen available, from the comfort of our living rooms, we like to watch TV together and the most popular form of video is live TV,” he observes.

And from an advertising point of view that means the average UK viewer last year watched 45 TV ads per day on their TV set at normal speed – only one fewer than in 2010 and six more than were viewed in 2006.

But while TV belongs at the heart of any major advertising campaign, thanks to its unrivalled ability to build exposure, that doesn’t mean that the creative starting point of a campaign is a 30 second spot, he cautions.

“Creative ideas need to be able to translate well across all media; but a multi-media campaign will work best when integrated across channels with each new exposure building on the previous one.”

Ultimately, how one uses television advertising depends on what a brand is trying to achieve. Since the medium accounts for 75% of all video viewing it’s the primary means to drive brand fame and generate emotional connections.

And as the most scalable medium, TV is fundamental to driving awareness and “mental availability” but this can be reinforced by other media at particular moments – out of home can provide a reminder close to the point of sale, for example.

If generating sales is the main aim, then combining TV with online advertising such as search, online display or affiliate marketing is a powerful combination, says Hill.

Changing perception is probably one of the hardest jobs in marketing, he adds, and here TV and social media can be perfect partners, the former enabling brands to tell their story and drive awareness at scale, while the latter allows active consumer involvement.

New technology and the internet may have had a negative impact on the music industry and print media, says Hill, but they are helping TV to thrive as an advertising medium.

Data sourced from WARC