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A Blueprint for the Future of TV Advertising

8 March 2018 17:39pm

Clichés,_ assumed wisdom, best practices and dogma are the four horsemen of the apocalypse obstructing innovation within the media industry, a packed audience was told at the latest Thinkbox event, AdFab: New Approaches to TV Advertising._

Treated to a fantastic roster of expert speakers, professionals spanning the width and breadth of the UK media landscape were delivered a stirring call-to-arms: let's harness technology and new ways of thinking as catalysts for a bolder future; one that will see brands and agencies finally tap into TV’s full potential. The trick to ensuring we get there? See orthodoxy for what is: the bedfellow of defeatism.

Courage in the face of new demands

That is according to Richard Huntington, chairman and Chief Strategy Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi. In an impassioned appeal to the industry for greater levels of courage and lateral thinking in campaign planning, Huntington stressed that “the impossible outcomes we demand, demand we attempt things that haven’t been done before.” In an environment shaped by a crusade to find the optimal balance between short-term sales targets and long-term client growth, his message resonated deeply.

He argued that to be successful means being brave enough to venture away from the beaten track when all the road signs warn against doing so; it means having unerring conviction in one’s beliefs. We need to think more creatively, and not be afraid to greet clichés, assumed wisdom, ‘best practices' and dogma with the middle finger if it means letting exciting ideas blossom.

Lighting the long fuse

Renowned economist and writer, Tim Harford, spoke along similar lines, citing both the importance of having a culture of experimentation within the workplace and the need to break out of comfort zones. Focusing on how agencies, brands and broadcasters can be creative and resilient in a ‘tidy-minded world’, Harford suggests they concentrate less on ‘marginal gains’ and more on ‘long shots’, where the chances of failure are much higher, but the potential rewards far greater.

By showing the requisite courage to go against the grain in pursuit of innovation, brands, agencies and broadcasters stand the best chance of successfully delivering campaigns that get tongues wagging, fingers tapping and units shifted. In other words, it will steady our aim on the sweet spot between short and long-term metrics.

All hands on tech

Technology’s role in this will be crucial. Providing a quick-fire round-up of the latest innovations in ad tech, Zoe Harkness, Head of Industry Programmes at Thinkbox, shone a spotlight on the array of opportunities available to advertisers who are open to being different in order to achieve better results.

From full channel takeovers and interactive ads to personalised VOD creatives, reverse audience targeting and the value of Sky Adsmart for B2B brands, Harkness showed that, by marrying new thinking with the latest technology, brands can engage their customers in ways that drive memorability and forge deeper connections.

The spoils of ambition

This point was expanded upon by Claire Heys, Director of Brand & Content Partnerships at ITV. Sharing examples of how Nivea, Giff Gaff and Philips all capitalised on partnerships with The Voice, Heys demonstrated how investing in a more ambitious strategy delivers added value in the quality of exposure such brands receive. Exposure that also spills over into other areas such as social media and offline point-of-sale.

With Ronseal and the Movember Foundation offering further case studies on how this approach - be it taking over an entire ad break or building your brand into the very fabric of a TV channel's programming and on-demand offerings - is already paying dividends, the challenge has been set. Should others follow suit, we could be in for a very exciting period in UK television’s history.


Television Advertising
Television Advertising
Television Advertising