You used to see the slogan ‘as seen on TV’ splashed across product packaging and even press and magazine ads all the time. It was thought that the fact a product had been advertised on television meant it must be trustworthy and better than its rivals. It’s an odd thing to assume when you think about it, yet it carried an element of truth for many consumers. Television was the authoritative voice of the media, its news was neutral not politically slanted like the press, its entertainment was ground-breaking and its stars were household names, loved by millions. If it was on TV it must be true.
Times change. We had one commercial channel when I was growing up, I literally couldn’t tell you how many we have now. However that same channel, ITV, is still a hugely effective and influential advertising platform, something we are often guilty of overlooking. No other traditional media can come close to it for audience numbers and the sensory mix of sound and vision still has more impact than just one or the other.
So when our media department told me this week that advertising costs on ITV have fallen to their lowest price since the 1980s I was very interested. According to media consultancy Billets, television advertising costs are set to fall by 16% year on year, and while this might be bad news for the television companies and, long term, to the detriment of the industry, it is a wonderful opportunity for anyone thinking about advertising. We’ve a few clients on TV just now and a couple more considering it, times are tough for all businesses but as we all know opportunities also appear in the tough times and from our point of view this is definitely one of them.
ITV has evolved in many ways over the last 30 years, not all of them bad either. Micro regions on Scottish for example allow you to advertise to just Glasgow and the west or just Tayside only for example, further increasing its affordability. Likewise improvements and advances in technology have meant the production costs associated with a television commercial, often a prohibitive factor on their own, have also come down in recent years.
What hasn’t changed of course is the need to create something memorable, with some thought and a strategy behind it and a call to action or message that will resonate with the audience. The price of that hasn’t changed; it’s still invaluable.