Are TV Ads Still Effective In The Digital Age?

With the world of digital advertising and online content providing means for intimate connections with consumers, and providing overwhelmingly more affordable avenues for promotion that traditional media, you’d be forgiven for assuming that television advertising just isn’t worth what it used to be – but surprisingly, TV advertising still has a hold on the Australian viewing public.


Aussies Love TV
The latest figures from the Australian Video Viewing Report show that Australian homes are averaging 6.6 screened devices for consuming video content includes broadcast TVs, tablets, smartphones, computers and internet-capable televisions. With an increasing variety and quantity of devices at home, all with wide variations of device-specific content, the figures show that Australian viewers now engage in viewing behavior know as  “cross-screen spreading’. This ‘spreading’ across digital media has indeed impacted on the amount of time people spend watching broadcast TV.


Despite this new viewing behaviour, broadcast television watched at home is still the primary way that Australians view their video content. According to the report, 82.6% of the population (over 19 million Australians) watches broadcast TV every week – averaging almost 2.5 hours per person, per day or roughly 75 hours every month – more than three times the approximately 22 hours per month spent watching online video on computers or handheld devices.


Whilst smartphone and tablet penetration has levelled off in Australia (around 84% and 50%, respectively), Associate Professor Rachel Kennedy of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Studies notes that “people will default to the biggest screen available at the time.”



Know Your Audience

And it shows in the viewing data. Even for millennials, television is still the dominant form of video content viewing, with over two-thirds of 18-24s regularly watching broadcast television – although, interestingly, this is where the scales have started to tip, and in the last quarter of 2017, the 18-24 demographic began to watch more video content on their devices than on a television – whilst still watching over 26 hours of television every month – however, they’re the demographic anomaly, with every other demographic’s television viewing habits exceeding their digital content viewing times by between 135% (40 hours of TV: 30 hours of devices) for the 25-34s to a massive 2500% (150 hours of TV: 6 hours of devices) in the 65+ demographic.


Effectively using broadcast television for advertising is truly dependent upon your target audience and ROI goals. Google are leaders in the world of digital advertising – and experts at effective advertising – an even they understand that TV has a efficiency that’s unique. If a brand needs to reach new audiences, or introduce new products to a wide demographic of tens of millions of customers, you need to use television. Digital can be targeted with razor precision, but no other medium can cast the wide net of television. Back at Ehrenberg-Bass, research from Professor Byron Sharp has dispelled the myth that growth comes from loyal customers, proving that for most brands, growth does not come from repeat customers but from attracting casual buyers, or entirely new customers, and to access untapped markets in this way, brands need the scale only TV can offer.


Cross-Device Synergy

Of course, if millennials are a prime part of your demographic – which they will increasingly become – you will want to look at harnessing the combined power of broadcast television and digital content to create a campaign based upon cross-device synergy.

Cross-device synergy is through-the-line campaign strategy, ensuring that a diverse channel mix will allow for greater cumulative reach. One of the benefits of cross-device synergy from a through-the-line campaign is that different mediums can have content tailored to the audiences that are most likely to consume the video content from that medium, and for audiences that use multiple channels, will provide enhanced repetition of messaging, allowing for greater brand retention in the audience.


DOTF has created a strategic content planning platform called GENOME which we use to analyse and plan content for brands through audience-led strategy based on the effectiveness of cross-device synergy. Our continuing work on Scooti’s through-the-line campaign combines a strong online video focus across socials for a millennial demographic, with media coverage across all major broadcast channels, bring the Scooti brand into the wider public consciousness prior to its official launch with targeted campaigns.  

Why use emotive storytelling in your creative?

In 2016, Colin Kaepernick, American NFL player, chose to kneel – rather than stand – during the pre-game Star-Spangled Banner, as a form of peaceful protest against racial injustice in the United States. His decision attracted praise and criticism from around the world, including a tweet-flurry from Donald Trump. No team has signed him since, and his activism has continued.

In September 2018, Nike released an ad for their 30th anniversary: a black and white portrait of Kaepernick, and the words Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything, followed by the iconic swoosh and Just do it tagline. And the world went crazy. Longtime Adidas and New Balance fans showed photos of their new Nike kit, whilst conversely, photos and videos of the less impressed showed people burning, slicing and binning their socks, shoes and clothing. Happy or mad, Nike is trending worldwide – all thanks to the power of emotional engagement.

University of South Australia’s Ehrenberg Bass Institute for Marketing Science research has embarked on the largest ever investigations to determine how to create the perfect ad, working with Mars Inc, US-based MediaScience Labs and their own Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, using multiple medical, psychological and neuroscientific methods to quantify emotion and attention responses in the body and brain.

Their early insights include the following:

  1. Emotional content can grab and hold attention
  2. People seem to be more willing to watch enjoyable emotional content over and over, rather than skipping or avoiding the content in other ways
  3. Emotional content is generally processed more quickly than factual information
  4. Emotions help people to remember information
  5. 95% of purchasing decisions are made emotionally.

These insights are significant to creating content across all industries, as whilst rationality must underpin all emotion, just stating the facts – even if your product or service is the best  – is not always enough to win over your audience, you must humanise your brand through an emotional experience relevant to your demographic. In fact, these insights may be even more significant for a brand providing products or services that may be technical or abstract, or don’t immediately engage the senses, as you want to create significant and positive emotional memories associated to your brand – which is more difficult for say, a business consultant service than a gourmet chocolate brand.  

Keep in mind, we’re not just talking about the tearjerker, the relatable and the sad-turned-success story, engaging emotions can come with humour, intrigue, surprise and as Nike have just shown us, outrage. (Although, we don’t really recommend the latter unless you’ve really profiled and understood your demographic.) [LINK BRACKETS TO GENOME]

On the other hand, achieving the perfect balance of emotive storytelling and brand messaging is essential to a campaign’s success. Think of the times you’ve engaged with a campaign, laughed or puzzled, only to go back and think… wait, what was that for?! Balancing the appropriate messaging and brand strategy with emotive storytelling will determine the effectiveness of the campaign – without emotion, there’s no connection to the audience, but without rational brand messaging, there’s no point in creating the campaign.

Our recent campaign created for Our Watch’s youth organization The Line, achieved a balance of authentic emotional storytelling and important key messaging through a direct engagement with real people telling real stories in their own words. The Asking For A Mate webseries campaign focuses on dispelling stigma and myths around sex, gender and relationships for young people, with a wider scope of preventing violence against women through education.  Whilst the content and messaging of the campaign is not disparate to what is taught by psychologists, and what should be taught in health classes and Safe Schools programs around the country, presented in this authentic and emotive manner, it engages the emotions of the viewers and allows a connection that’s more authentic, and more memorable than a teacher in class, a chapter in a textbook or an article online.

Using emotive storytelling creates a bond between brand and audience, and allows messaging to be turned into memories. It gives a brand a personality beyond the promotion of its products; it give a brand an influential voice in the hearts and minds of its demographic.

(Photo credit: www.instagram.com/kaepernick7)

VidCon Australia 2017 – Should Brands Make Their Own Content?

In early September, the Melbourne Convention Centre was packed with thousands of people with one thing on their minds – online video.

VidCon started in 2010, in Anaheim, California, and has grown into the world’s largest event about online video, drawing over 30,000 people to each conference. The event is a global phenomenon, with conferences in the United States and Europe, and exists at the centre of the online video revolution, bringing together industry leaders, creatives and the wider community to discuss and define the fastest growing medium in the world.

Our Managing and Creative Director, Ivan Gomez, had the pleasure of moderating a panel at VidCon Australia, focusing on answering the question: “Should Brands Make Their Own Content?”

The answer from the panel was an overwhelming “Yes!”, but with some caveats on doing this effectively. Below are some of the insights from the day, with some tips on going into content creation as a brand.

Do both.

Steve Crombie, the CEO of Totem, suggested that brands should absolutely make their own content  – but they should know when to outsource as well.

“Brands should definitely create content in-house – but that depends on how much money you’ve got, and how much content you can create. There are different ways to create, professionally created content can be expensive, but worth it. They should do both.

Have a solid strategy.

Similarly, Emotive’s Social Media Director, Jack Crick suggested that brands making content should have a “publisher-like mentality”.

“Bigger brand moments should be outsourced, but for lower level content, it could definitely be done in house – if you have the right strategies, and people who really understand the audience that you’re trying to reach. “

Ensure quality control.

Understanding your audience’s expectations was the top tip given by Broad’s Head of Strategy, Lauren Joyce.

“It comes down to what your consumers are expecting from you. Understanding your audience, and understanding what quality of content they expect from you, and then delivering on that, and doing it consistently, so that when they come back to your content publishing platform, they’re actually seeing something that they’re expecting to get, and you’re surprising them through the stories that you’re telling. “

Creativity is king.

It’s not about the gear, it’s what you do with it. This was the sentiment expressed by Joke Theory’s all-rounder Cisco Corea.

“[A current smartphone’s level of video technology] was probably worth about $100 000 about five years ago. The kind of content you can produce on your phone in the right hands with the right skills, can definitely be done by in-house staff. But it’s not the technology that matters, it’s actually the creativity. Because if that creativity is not there, it just becomes irrelevant. It doesn’t hit the mark. “

Understand your audience and understand content.

Here at Department of the Future, we believe that brands can – and should – definitely make content inhouse, but to always remember that the audience is number one.

As Ivan said at VidCon: “Understanding how you can build teams to make content is the most important thing – video needs to be front and centre from the beginning when brands are looking into content creation. Another important aspect is distribution – because distribution dictates the tone. Ultimately, it’s about having someone in a team that understands the process – how content behaves.