Everyone's Watching TV. Time to Fix the Advertising.

TV viewership is skyrocketing with everyone at home. More eyes are glued to cable news and TVs are staying on, all day, even on weekdays. Consumers are forming new viewing habits that could last far longer than quarantine.

TV was already one of the largest marketing channels, and the current climate could lead to a new renaissance for traditional TV advertising. Assuming we address the challenges that were facing the industry prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Advertisers were planning to spend less on TV advertising in 2020 before the outbreak. And based on my background in analytics, I see three expensive reasons why.

Three problems that a captive audience won’t solve unless we make bold moves to correct them.


1. The High Cost of Entry and Agility

The brands that already had a foothold on TV, with titanic budgets, launched new TV campaigns overnight to respond to the current climate. Many marketers however, especially those hit hardest by the economy, can’t afford to make changes quickly. And the advertisers well positioned to thrive on TV in the current climate, like delivery services, can’t afford all the upfront costs to get on air.

These costs have always been high. Because advertisers aren’t close enough to the production process to find efficiencies. Advertising agencies are. If agencies rethink how they bill clients for their services they may be able to find more nimble and efficient solutions.

That’s why Marketing Architects has taken an All-Inclusive approach to TV that brings media, creative and analytics together. This allows our advertisers to create campaigns and get on air without any upfront costs. It empowers them to adapt and optimize without eroding campaign profitability. Removing this cost barrier also simplifies decision making, allowing us to move faster.


2. The High Cost of Buying Media Traditionally

TV has been so powerful for so long that the media buying process never needed to change. It’s still, largely, manual. With the vast sea of available media, the complexity of buying it efficiently has outpaced human ability.  

Programmatic media buying reshaped online advertising by displacing manual insertion orders. We should be able to use similar technology to simplify TV media buying. Through automation we can test more precisely, remember outcomes more easily, and allow media buying professionals to focus on campaign strategy.

We’ve developed a proprietary AI platform called Annika® to help streamline media buying. It essentially remembers the outcome of every test we’ve ever done. It runs our historical data and Nielsen impression data through a formula based on 25 years of media buying experience. This allows us to test more and re-buy profitable media repeatedly wherever we find it.


3. The High Cost of Producing the Wrong Commercial

The only thing more expensive than producing a TV commercial is producing the wrong commercial. And that was before a pandemic overhauled our sensitivities and sensibilities. Since then we’ve had a wave of sentimental advertising that at times, can be perceived as insincere.

So how do we advertise now? Pretesting is the only way to find out.

But brands responding in the moment don’t have time for classic focus groups or quantitative assessments that are expensive and take weeks. That’s why pretesting needs to evolve. It needs to ask the right questions, provide more predictive data, and move as fast as the business.

Marketing Architects has been at the forefront of agile, technology-driven quantitative assessment that ties the ad copy to in-market success. We found there was a difference between what people say they’ll do and what they actually do. So we developed a testing platform called ESPnow to pretest relative creative performance. We validated the outcomes from ESP testing in market, so now we cover the cost of ESP testing for our advertisers.

TV advertising may thrive regardless. The current climate, with everyone watching, will naturally create huge opportunities for big brands with massive budgets. But for the advertisers who can’t afford complacency, it’s time to make moves to drive superior business outcomes through TV.


Learn how to develop strategic creative.

Listen to Chief Creative Officer Rob DeMars explain how pretesting finds the right message for your commercial before you air on TV.