Busting the myths about TV’s decline

I've been guilty of suggesting that TV is an advertising medium in decline, as have many of us. Well, a brilliant booklet from Thinkbox has busted many of the myths about TV advertising (thanks to the Marketing Society for sending me the booklet).

Myth 1: TV effectiveness is in decline

Research by the IPA shows that in fact TV is more effective than 20 years ago, with ad campaigns including TV 35% more effective that those without TV. And a 10 year study by Price Waterhouse on over 700 brands in 7 markets showed a £1mill increase in TV ad spend delivers on average a £4.5mill increase in sales.

Myth 2: TV takes too long to pay back

TV advertising does have a long-term effect. But it also has immediate benefits as well. The rise of the internet has in fact made TV more effective, not less. The web means all TV advertising has the potential to generate a response, not just those that say "call this number" or "go to this website". In a survey by the IAB 57% of people said that as a result of watching a TV ad they had conducted a search online.

Indeed, many of the most celebrated online viral brand campaigns started through good old TV, such as T-Mobile's "Dance" and Old Spice's "The man you man could smell like".

Myth 3: Creative awards are only an ego trip

Interestingly, research shows that creatively awarded campaigns are 11 times more efficient at growing share. In a busy world with more and more messages, there is a need to be distinctive in order to get noticed. And creative execution can play a part in this.

Myth 4: I can protect profit by cutting my ad budget

If you cut TV spend in half it will take two years to recover the lost share, according to research by Data2Decisions. Also, companies who want to win back share a year after a recession will need to spend 60% more on ads than they saved by cutting the ad budget in the first place.

Myth 5: Younger people don't watch TV anymore

15-24 year olds still spend 44% of their media consumption watching live TV, more than any other medium. And their TV viewing has actually increased slightly over the last 5 years. They are the most into "2-screen" viewing, such as TV and internet, so most likely to respond to TV ads (see point above).

Myth 6: Everyone fast-forwards TV ads or skips them

In the UK 93% of TV is still viewed live. And in fact we watch 41% MORE TV ads at normal speed than in 1999. In houses with digital TV recorders like Sky+ 87% of viewing is still live, with 13% "time-shifted" (i.e. recorded and played later). But these homes watch 17% more TV, which more than compensates for this.

In addition, even fast-forwarded ads have real value, with about 65% of the recall of ads watched at normal speed!

Net, TV aint dead. Its alive and kicking and still the best way to achieve wide reach. You can get to 70% of people in one day, and 92% of them in a week. Its proven to drive profit. And the rise of new technology means that TV can be even more effective, not less so.