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TV Commercials: Why Creative is King

TV Commercials: Why Creative is King

Of course it’s important to create great ads, everybody knows that. Why, then, is most common theme among advertisers who want better sales results is their belief that they need a bigger ad budget. Some believe that their advertising can’t be expected to work all that well because they’re being outspent by the competition. Additionally, much of advertising research is focused on counting and optimizing exposure opportunities, and attempting to correlate exposures with sales results. Most advertisers and ad researchers behave as if there’s more power in how much you spend and where you spend it than in the creative that you get in front of those eyeballs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Communicus norms for identifying the branded engagement achieved by advertising campaigns across a wide range of spending levels make this clear. The ‘average’ $20mm campaign achieves branded engagement (the first step to reaching sales goals) of 53%. An advertiser who invests $20mm in media for a multimedia campaign, with great creative, can achieve branded engagement of 80 to 85%. Other, less successful advertisers, that spend the same $20mm, achieve branded engagement of less than 10%! Increase spending by 50%, to $30mm, and the average campaign shows a 6% bump in awareness. A doubling of the ad budget nets the advertising another 5% gain. All told, double your ad budget to gain 11% better results, or spend the same amount on your campaign, improve your creative, and potentially achieve 800% better results. The choice is obvious. When it comes to the creative power of TV specifically, three years of Communicus Super Bowl findings confirm that executional excellence is paramount. Only one in five Super Bowl ads persuade those who engage with the commercial to change their behavior and behavioral intentions. The fact that the other four of five ads don’t trigger the same results isn’t because of the media buy, the position during the game, or placement within the commercial pod. It’s because the creative wasn’t persuasive. When it comes to engagement, Super Bowl commercial performance ranges from a low of 10% to a high of 74%. Branding ranges from 9% to 99%. And these differences can’t be explained by commercial position, either – even in 2014, a blow-out game, commercials that aired in the fourth quarter were equally likely to succeed as those that aired at the beginning of the game. The difference between success and failure: the commercial creative itself. Our advice to advertisers and ad researchers: Stop asking, “How much should we spend to get the results we want?” and start asking, “How can we make the dollars that we are spending...

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