Why TV’s not just a brand channel

There are many marketing debates. 

Agency vs. in-house. Brand vs. Product. Creative intuition vs. data-driven design. 

And, of course, sales activation vs. brand-building. 


How to drive sales and brand, together, on TV.  

Each week, we break down another marketing concept so you can skip the hype and get directly to what works. 

A MarketingWeek article by professor Mark Ritson points out that marketers sometimes seem to spend less time marketing than they do discussing the battle between top-of-funnel and bottom-of-funnel marketing.  

Ritson proposes a simple, albeit disruptive, solution: both are crucially important for business growth. Marketing must create and capture demand. Build brand and drive sales. 

Despite being known as a “brand” channel, the same is true for TV advertising. 

TV advertisers often separate their TV campaigns into “brand” and “performance” categories. Brand ads focus on emotional storytelling and beautiful imagery. The performance ads push a call to action.  

But this isn’t the most effective way to get results with TV. Instead, brands should use the same commercial to drive short- and long-term effects. Here’s how. 

  1. Develop ads that tell a story while leading to a CTA.  

    You have more options than a 1980s-style infomercial or a brand campaign at the level of Coca-Cola's “Share a Coke.” A commercial can be well-made, include a compelling story, and still encourage viewers to take action.

    Building your commercial should start with strategy and messaging development to uncover a story that will resonate with your target audience. The ad should be well-produced, but it should also feature a voiceover, include a CTA, and make it simple for viewers to respond, whether by visiting a website, scanning a QR code, or texting.

    Creating only one ad will save money (since you don’t have to produce and buy media placements for two separate ads). And you’ll ensure consistent messaging across your entire presence on TV.

  2. Take a holistic approach to measurement.

    Even if you are driving both brand and performance with your TV campaign, you won’t know what those results are unless you intentionally work to account for both types of effects.

    Start by looking at TV’s immediate impact. This means tracking response through calls, texts, app downloads, or web traffic after launching TV. But, of course, not everyone responds right after seeing an ad. So over the next few months, review changes in web traffic composition, new customers, and conversion rates.

    And finally, you should always track longer-term changes, even though these could take months to be noticeable. These include brand awareness, recall, and familiarity, but could also look like new partnerships or revenue growth.

  3. Look for TV’s halo effect.  

    Everything in your marketing mix is highly integrated, meaning each channel impacts the others. But TV has an especially notable impact on other channels. It improves the performance of generic search by 8%, online video by 20%, and paid social by 31%. And brand recall more than doubles when a consumer sees both a TV commercial and a digital ad for the same brand, as opposed to seeing only a digital ad. 

    By recognizing TV’s impact on the rest of your marketing mix, you’ll gain a fuller understanding of its short- and long-term effects. 

Key Takeaway: Harness the power of bothism in TV advertising by blending both sales activation and brand-building in your campaigns. 


Get your toughest marketing questions answered.  

Introducing The Marketing Architects, a research-first podcast that helps marketers build revenue, not condos.  

Join a team of experienced marketers as they discuss marketing accountability, category leadership, brand-building and much more. 

Listen now.