TV advertising was once the preserve of big brands and prime time viewing; the anticipation of the John Lewis Christmas ad or a Coca Cola commercial sandwiched between talent show hopefuls! But things have changed.
s the internet and social media have expanded communication, so digital TV and on-demand viewing have broken down barriers and opened up TV advertising to the businesses of all sizes and not just larger brands.
35 years ago, when JMS launched, advertising was a much more limited palette of TV (on just two channels), local press, posters and radio. Even the most far-sighted marketing executives couldn’t have imagined today’s multiple touch-point, cross-platform, multi-media campaigns! The demographics of each form of advertising were largely predictable, so an advertiser simply worked out who might be watching, listening or reading, allocated their budget and waited.
Things have developed immeasurably and with them the ability to be far more assured of a healthy return from well thought-out TV advertising.
Today, broadcasters and advertisers have access to vast streams of data which help them make more informed decisions. The most recent development is Addressable Advertising where advertisers can target audiences down to a household level. For example, AdSmart from Sky, with whom we regularly partner, can serve different households differing commercials whilst they watch the same live TV.
Put simply, the age of ‘Let’s advertise and see what happens!’ is thankfully long behind us. It is now daily practice for us at JMS Group to produce TV commercials targeted at a very specific demographic within a single region or even postcode. Advertisers need no longer accept that a proportion of their budget goes on reaching an inappropriate audience. Everything is targeted.
As marketing experts are keen to highlight, consumers rarely differentiate between different forms of advertising and respond best to consistent and persistent messages. Piecemeal advertising campaigns are rarely as effective as a strong creative concept employed across media to reach the desired demographic at exactly the right moment.
That’s why, as well as creating TV commercials, we frequently produce online videos, training materials, remarketing animations, print graphics and radio commercials, all ready to launch simultaneously.
Of course, the power of a TV commercial is also dependent on its execution. At their best, ads can be some of the most inspiring examples of today’s visual arts. They have the power to make us laugh, cry (sometimes) and remember them for decades to come.
Just like a feature film, drama or documentary, every commercial is the product of a creative and passionate team, like ours at JMS Group. Not every commercial on TV embodies the production values of a Hollywood movie, nor need it. Good or bad, each ad is subject to the same crucial challenge. It has just thirty seconds (ten seconds for sponsorship messages) to engage, inform and hopefully stimulate the viewer into considering buying something.
Naturally, if it’s a holiday of a lifetime, stunning new kitchen or mouth-watering chocolate, the creative process can be a little bit easier. But what if it’s a funeral plan, worming pills or fishing tackle?
We produce over 200 TV commercials each year and around five-times as many radio adverts. Regardless of the inherent desirability of the product or service on offer, each must catch your attention, set a scene and convey a persuasive idea, in less time than it takes to open a can of baked beans. Within technical, budgetary and legal boundaries, it must appeal directly to its intended audience and make them crave the product.
And it’s here where creativity and ingenuity come to the fore. I need only mention ‘Honda, the Power of Dreams’, ‘Should’ve Gone to Specsavers’ or ‘Compare the Meerkat’ and most people will instantly recall not just one ad but many. Someone, somewhere, had to conceive and champion even those concepts just enough to ensure they got the opportunity to make memorable the advertiser’s message in just thirty seconds.
When people ask me what I love most about my role, that’s it. It’s the magic of working with creative people who fret, fuss and puzzle over an idea until it’s fully formed, however exciting or functional the product. It doesn’t stop there as the combined expertise of our camera team, sound producers, motion graphics designers, directors and performers must then bring it all to life.
Need a forest snow scene in mid-summer? The perfect roast potato for a mouth-watering close-up? Children playing enthusiastically with the latest and greatest toy? No problem. For some commercials we engage a celebrity or two, for others we write unique music.
No matter what the product, budget or timescale, there is always a way of creating a TV commercial which achieves the brief and delivers a return. With the opening up of TV and other media, anyone can find cost-effective exposure, to just the right audience, to propel their business towards its own level of stardom.