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Evaluating Television Advertisements For Effectiveness

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 2724 words Published: 1st May 2017

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Advertising is paid, nonpersonal communication that is designed to communicate in a creative manner, through the use of mass or information-directed media, the nature of products, services, and ideas. It is a form of persuasive communication that offers information about products, ideas, and services that serves the objectives determined by the advertiser. Advertising may influence consumers in many different ways, but the primary goal of advertising is to increase the probability that consumers exposed to an advertisement will behave or believe as the advertiser wishes. Thus, the ultimate objective of advertising is to sell things persuasively and creatively. Advertising is used by commercial firms trying to sell products and services; by politicians and political interest groups to sell ideas or persuade voters; by not-for-profit organizations to raise funds, solicit volunteers, or influence the actions of viewers; and by governments seeking to encourage or discourage particular activities, such a wearing seatbelts, participating in the census, or ceasing to smoke. The forms that advertising takes and the media in which advertisements appear are as varied as the advertisers themselves and the messages that they wish to deliver.

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The word “advertise” originates from the Latin advertere , which means to turn toward or to take note of. Certainly, the visual and verbal commercial messages that are a part of advertising are intended to attract attention and produce some response by the viewer. Advertising is pervasive and virtually impossible to escape. Newspapers and magazines often have more advertisements than copy; radio and television provide entertainment but are also laden with advertisements; advertisements pop up on Internet sites; and the mail brings a variety of advertisements. Advertising also exists on billboards along the freeway, in subway and train stations, on benches at bus stops, and on the frames around car license plates. In shopping malls, there are prominent logos on designer clothes, moviegoers regularly view advertisements for local restaurants, hair salons, and so on, and live sporting and cultural events often include signage, logos, products, and related information about the event sponsors. The pervasiveness of advertising and its creative elements are designed to cause viewers to take note.

Although the primary objective of advertising is to persuade, it may achieve this objective in many different ways. An important function of advertising is the identification function, that is, to identify a product and differentiate it from others; this creates an awareness of the product and provides a basis for consumers to choose the advertised product over other products. Another function of advertising is to communicate information about the product, its attributes, and its location of sale; this is the information function. The third function of advertising is to induce consumers to try new products and to suggest reuse of the product as well as new uses; this is the persuasion function.

The identification function of advertising includes the ability of advertising to differentiate a product so that it has its own unique identity or personality. One famous example of this is found in the long-running advertising for Ivory Soap. In the late 1800s, a soap maker at Procter and Gamble left his machine running during his lunch period and returned to find a whipped soap that, when made into bars, floated. The company decided to capitalize on this mistake by advertising Ivory Soap with the phrase “It Floats.” This characteristic of Ivory Soap served to uniquely identify it and differentiate it from other bars of soap.

The information function of advertising can also be found in advertising for Ivory Soap. For more than one hundred years, advertisements for Ivory Soap have focused on such product characteristics as purity of ingredients, child care, and soft skin. These characteristics, in turn, were often related to key benefits that could be obtained from using Ivory Soap. Thus, various advertisements emphasized “That Ivory Look,” which focused on the relationships between product characteristics and the benefits of obtaining a fresh and healthy appearance.

The third and most important function of advertising, persuasion, is also evident in the long-running Ivory Soap advertising campaigns. The advertiser, Procter and Gamble, has linked Ivory Soap with obtaining benefits that are important to customers: a fresh and healthy appearance for women, a mild, nonirritating method for bathing babies, and a novelty for children in the tub (since it floats). The benefits of the product suggest reasons to buy and use Ivory Soap and thus provide a basis for persuading consumers. Different benefits are important to different customers. Thus, to realize its full potential as a persuasive tool, advertising must often be tailored to emphasize those benefits that are important and meaningful for a particular type of customer or a particular use of the product.

Advertising has a very long history. It existed in ancient times in the form of signs that advertised wares in markets. In Europe and colonial America, criers were often employed by shopkeepers to shout a message throughout a town. Medicine shows, in which there was a combination of entertainment and an effort to sell a product, usually a patent medicine or elixir, presaged modern advertising by creating an entertainment context in which advertising was embedded. Advertising became especially important in the second half of the nineteenth century as retailers began to advertise products and prices that would bring customers to their stores. Advertising for patent medicines also played a prominent role in the development of advertising, and by the end of the nineteenth century, the firms that would become advertising agencies had already begun to form.

Though user habits are rapidly changing, television advertising has long been considered the most effective mass-market advertising format. The introduction of digital video recorders such as TiVo, which allows viewers to skip advertisements, as well as the popularity of commercial-free cable channels, have begun to diminish the reach and effectiveness of TV advertising.

Television advertising’s crowning moment is the Super Bowl, where companies debut their very best television commercials, effectively putting them in competition with all of the other television commercials. With the cost of a single 30-second TV spot during the Super Bowl running into the millions, most companies opt instead for running their TV advertising in time slots that best match their advertising budget.

Television is the most common and most wide spread advertising medium. Watching TV is the most common leisure activity among the consumers.They spend attentive time watching TV.It will not be an exaggeration to describe television as the giant advertising medium as a report shows that people spend 5 to 6 hours (average) a day watching TV.

Showing your ad on TV has several advantages.TV reaches almost every household and it touches more people than any other medium can do.Even the most popular newspaper only covers the metropolitan area.However TV reaches every corner of your city, your state and your country.In fact some of the very popular channels reach the whole world.

Reach Larger Audience than Newspaper

Newspaper can only accommodate pictures and words.TV reaches much larger audience than newspaper can do and it can do this work within a very short span of time.Another thing that you should keep in mind is that people usually look only for the news and they overlook the ad in newspapers.However if you run your ad in the middle of the favorite TV commercials of the consumers they will surely watch the ad.

TV Ads have Visual Appeal

You can also go for radio ads,but again radio only captures sound.TV is the only medium that uses words,sounds,picture (both still and movie) and also music to motivate the consumers emotionally.With so many options it successfully captures the viewer’s complete attention.

You can Take Your Audience Anywhere

TV ads are so popular because with a camera you can take your audience almost anywhere you wish.You can show them anything. Not only the end result but also your factory,the procedure of making the product,the packaging and so on.It appeals to the viewer’s sight and hearing at the same time.With the application of color it turns the world of advertisement into a real world and it easily makes people believe in it.

TV Ads can Emotionally Motivate the Consumers

Television can show many people about your product or service at a time.Every time the consumers see the benefit of using your product or service they will get inspired to buy it.It will remind them of their desire to possess what you offer.It can instantly give your product or service the prominence it needs.

Reach Targeted Audience

TV ads can reach the target audience most easily.You can reach the housewives between the best commercials or soaps. You can make funny ads for children and reach them during they watch their favorite cartoon programs.You can reach the elderly people during some religious programming and the office goers during news.

However remember a few things while making a TV ad.Make it simple so that people can easily remember it.Repeat your ad at regular intervals.Go for a single consistent message. Offer what the audience wants and focus on the consumer needs.You will surely make a successful ad.

Being titled the”King” of advertising medium television has the power to influence consumer behavior over and again.

Despite the many entertainment options we have today, “television remains the dominant medium in most U.S. households,” according to a study by Ball State University. Americans on average spend over 4 1/2 hours watching TV each day. Advertising your product or business on television can be very effective, but there are also several drawbacks. Before you purchase ad time, you should be aware of the disadvantages of advertising on television.


Producing a television commercial and purchasing airtime is costly–it is the most expensive form of advertising there is. TV commercial production is often a complicated process which can involve a lot of manpower, time and equipment. Some ads are simple–for example, just graphics and a voiceover. Other ads involve renting a studio and equipment, hiring a director, writers, actors, light and camera operators and editors. Who you hire to produce your ad will also affect the overall cost. For a less expensive, albeit lower quality ad, use your local cable station, which often has the capability to produce ads. If you have more to spend and want a higher quality ad, hire a professional production company. And assuming you’re not an advertising professional, it’s wise to hire an advertising agency to help you come up with a campaign, which will add further expense.

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Besides production, there are a number of other factors affecting the final cost of your ad. Once the commercial is completed, you must then purchase airtime on one or more TV stations. According to AllBusiness.com, the key with TV advertising is repetition, so you’ll want to air the commercial as many times as possible. This is why TV stations offer pricing in bulk. Another cost factor is the size of the market in which you run the commercial. Airtime in major markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Dallas is more expensive than in Eureka, California or Amarillo, Texas. And cost will also depend upon where the ad will be seen. Local advertising on cable TV is significantly less expensive than ads that run on major networks nationwide.


Because of the complex process of making TV commercials, it can be difficult to make changes once the ad is complete. If a sale price or special offer needs changing, it could take days or weeks to make the adjustment at additional cost. Meantime, you may be unable to run your ad if the information is no longer correct. This will cost you valuable time during which you’re not reaching your audience, unfortunate especially if you’re advertising an event or limited time offer. In comparison, a newspaper or radio ad can be changed almost overnight and will likely cost little or nothing to change.

Ad Campaign

Creating an effective advertising campaign is not an easy task. You want your ad to be memorable, informative and entertaining enough to keep the viewer’s attention. If you don’t have prior experience writing ads, you should hire an advertising agency. You can present them with the information you want to use in the ad, as well as any creative ideas you may have. The advertising professional will help you shape your information and ideas into what will hopefully be an effective ad campaign. Just remember that even agency-created, high-quality campaigns don’t always work. TV-viewing audiences can be fickle and hard to please; sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether your ad will bring them to your business or make them change the channel. Your best chance of creating an effective ad campaign is to leave it to professionals.

Hitting the Target

Finding the right viewers is critical to the ad’s success. If you’re selling women’s shoes, then buying ad time during Monday Night Football is unwise, as most of the viewing audience is male. Run your ad instead during shows mostly viewed by women. Your advertising agency or a TV station’s advertising department can help you decide when and on what channels you should advertise. They have access to Nielsen ratings, which are compiled from surveys that ask TV viewers what they watch. These ratings also provide viewer demographics–information such as gender, age and economic class. These statistics make it easier to determine when your ad should air based upon audience makeup; if your ad misses its target audience, it may fail to increase your business.

Avoiding Commercials

For viewers, television advertising can be an annoyance. Many people use commercial breaks to go to the bathroom, get a snack or flip channels. Add to that all the other entertainment options they have such as video-on-demand, radio, the Internet, Mp3 players and video games–opportunities abound to miss the ad altogether. All you can do as an advertiser is create the best ad you can, repeat it often and hope viewers watch it and patronize your business.


A relatively new technology that is making its way into households across the nation is the DVR or Digital Video Recorder. A more modern version of a VCR, a DVR allows users to digitally record TV shows easilyand automatically, and to record more than one show at a time. Unfortunately for the advertising industry, DVRs allow users to fast-forward through commercials. According to Cnet News, a March 2006 study by the Association of National Advertisers and Forrester Research said about 70 percent of advertisers surveyed believed that “DVRs and video-on-demand will reduce or destroy the effectiveness of traditional 30-second commercials.” It remains to be seen just what sort of effect DVRs will have on television advertising.

Evaluating television advertisements for effectiveness is difficult since each viewer is affected by them in a different way. A general formula known by the acronym “AIDCA” is used by many advertisers to determine whether or not an ad will succeed in influencing viewers. The “A” in AIDCA stands for “Attention,” the “I” is for “Interest,” the “D” is for “Desire,” the “C” is for “Credibility” or “Conviction,” and the final “A” stands for “Action.” Each of these steps is believed to be key in creating a quality advertisement.


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