Marketing body Thinkbox claims commercial TV’s status rubs off on advertisers – and beats social

UK commercial TV marketing body Thinkbox has been looking into people’s attitudes to advertising and found (which won’t necessarily surprise you) that TV delivers the “strongest signals” across all categories and audiences with social media and video performing “significantly” worse.

Thinkbox says the survey of 3600 people by house51 – ‘Signalling Success’ – shows that advertising on TV doubles the perceived level of quality and popularity of ads on social media, even if the content is largely the same.

Three categories are looked at: Fitness (perceived brand quality, financial strength and confidence in the brand; Social (perceived fame, popularity and success) and Trust (the perceived degree to which the brand will deliver against its promises.) In all of these TV beats social.

Younger audiences had a more positive perception of social media and video sharing sites at driving ‘social’ signals than older age groups. 32% of 16-34 year olds rated brands advertising on social media as popular, versus 23% for 35-54 year olds, and 18% for 55+. For all these audiences, TV signalled the highest brand popularity at 57% (16-34), 52% (35-54) and 42% (55+).

Thinkbox research & planning director Matt Hill says: “The ‘as seen on TV’ effect is a widely used phrase to describe the ability of TV to deliver positive brand signals. If you’re advertising on TV, then you must be a high quality, widely used and trustworthy brand.

“This simple, but powerful study from house 51 finally provides concrete evidence of the superior signalling ability of TV and offers a huge amount of depth to our understanding of how signalling works across different media channels, categories and audiences.”

Up to a point. Some TV advertisers do gain a certain status from the medium (others like some of those crammed into daytime TV may not.). The work some channels have put in (ITV and Sky for example) to lure new advertisers into the medium during Covid may pay off in the longer term. Some have enjoyed spectacular results.

But commercial TV needs to be cheaper at busy times too (and far less crowded at others) if it’s to turn back the rush into digital, mainly social, channels.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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