The ingredients of a successful TV advert.

TV Advertising
8 mins read

If somebody asked you to name your favourite TV adverts, I’m sure you’d easily be able to name a few. But if that same person asked you why, you might find it a little harder to answer. In this blog, we’ll be discussing the key ingredients for creating a successful TV advert, as well as providing some tips and advice for creating your own. We’ll also take a look at some examples of successful TV ads from the past 30 years to see what made them so effective.

“A great TV ad needs to capture the audience’s attention, leave a lasting impression and communicate a message effectively.”

Clear and concise message

A great TV ad needs to capture the audience’s attention and leave a lasting impression, but most importantly it has to communicate a message effectively. One of the most important ingredients of a great TV ad, then, is a clear and concise message. The ad should communicate what the product or service is, what it does and, crucially, why the audience should care. This is often achieved through a clever slogan, a memorable jingle or a captivating and emotive story.

Visually engaging

Another important ingredient for successful TV ads is a strong visual element. The ad should be visually engaging and interesting, with high-quality images or footage that is relevant to the product or service. This can be achieved through the use of creative camera angles, special effects and CGI or animation. The use of colour, lighting and composition also play a crucial role in catching the audience’s eye.

Emotionally appealing

The best TV ads have a strong emotional appeal. It should be able to connect with the audience on a deeper emotional level, whether it be through humour, nostalgia or sentimentality. The ad should be able to tap into the audience’s emotions in a way that makes them remember the product or service long after the advert is over. This is possibly the hardest ingredient to nail and one that lots of TV ads get wrong.

“Over the past 30 years, there have been countless TV ads that have stood out for their creativity, impact and effectiveness.”

The three Ts

In addition to the key ingredients above, there are also a number of other things to consider when creating a successful TV advert. These are the target audience, the tone of the ad and the timing.

1. Target audience

When it comes to the target audience, it’s important to consider who the advert is aimed at, and tailor the core message, visual elements and emotional appeal to them specifically. This helps ensure the ad resonates with the intended audience and is therefore more likely to be effective.

2. Tone

The tone of the advert is also important as it sets the overall mood and feeling of the ad. Whether the ad is serious, lighthearted or comedic, the tone should be consistent throughout and reflect the product or service being advertised.

3. Timing

Finally, the timing of the advert is also crucial. It’s important to consider the best time to air the ad, as this can have a big impact on its effectiveness. For example, an ad for a children’s toy will be more effective if it’s aired during children’s programming, as opposed to during a late-night news program.

Over the past 30 years, there have been countless TV ads that have stood out for their creativity, impact and effectiveness. Here’s just a handful of our favourites.

Apple – ‘1984’

One of the most iconic TV ads of the past 30 years is Apple’s ‘1984’. After the ad debuted, people all over the country couldn’t stop talking about it. Inspired by George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel, the ad (which was directed by Ridley Scott) featured a woman battling a brainwashing machine as a group of drones were being sentenced to a life based on the “Unification of Thoughts” in an imagined future society.

The ad hit all the right notes. It was perceptive, unique, and most importantly, brave. Three months after the ad premiered, customers flocked to electronics retailers and spent $155 million on Macintosh computers. That’s really remarkable for a TV ad that was only shown once before being withdrawn for being too divisive.

Old Spice – ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’

In more recent years, Old Spice’s ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ campaign from 2010 is considered one of the most successful campaigns of recent years. The ad featured a charismatic spokesman, “The Man” (played by Isaiah Mustafa) demonstrating the product’s benefits in a funny and unconventional way, which made it both memorable and shareable.

The humorous, self-aware commercial rapidly won over viewers.  According to Wieden+Kennedy, the advertising agency behind the ads, the campaign helped Old Spice improve sales by a whopping 11%, Undoubtedly, there is strength in smelling like the man your boyfriend might smell like!

Nike – ‘Dream Crazy’

Finally, a TV ad that has gone down in history is Nike’s 2018 ‘Dream Crazy’ ad featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. Whatever your political views, no one can dispute the ad’s impact, which ended by putting the spotlight on Kaepernick in a dramatic close-up as an emblem of the brand’s “sacrifice everything for what you believe in” message.

The campaign launched on Labor Day, which was significant as it highlighted how Kaepernick’s NFL career was prematurely ended as a result of his taking-a-knee protests against racial inequality. The ad went viral almost immediately and became one of the most widely talked about ever.

So there you have it. The key ingredients of a great TV ad are a clear and concise message, engaging visual elements and a strong emotional appeal. Not only that, it’s important to consider the target audience, tone of the ad and timing as well. The examples above ticked all these boxes and are still remembered today because of their unique approach and ability to connect with audiences in an effective and memorable way.

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