TV Commercial Might be Dead: Long Live T/V Commercial!

TV commercial is not dead, but… (adding a bit of dramatic pause to the statement) it needs to be associated with video advertising strategy, which includes online video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. The consumers are moving away from sitting in the couch watching TV to swiping their finger up and down, sometimes left and right, to consume content – which include video ads – and using their two thumbs to converse with their friends, family, colleagues and business partners.

Old TV with old TV commercial

TV’s transformation into T/V

As you can see, the content world is changing, and so is the advertising world. As Gary Vaynerchuk has said time and time again, we need to market in the year we live in. In video advertising context, we need to cater the need and want of our target market with the right video ad platforms, which include TV and social media platforms.

Content production agencies (the most trend-responsive ones, that is…) know that a strategy that includes cross-platform video publishing and marketing is the way to go for them, as well as for clients. Here’s an example: Toast TV, a London-based video content production agency, is one of those agencies that taps into the cross-platform video campaigns. They are no longer just a production house: Not only producing TV commercials or online video content as standalone services, they are now position themselves as the cross-platform video production partner.

Toast TV screenshot

The transformation on agencies, buyers and content platforms is just a follow-through of the TV industry’s significant transformation. These days, TV is quickly turning into T/V (Television/Video.) There is less and less standalone campaign that is TV-only or digital-only – most of the campaigns are now a packaged combo of TV and digital.

The industry trends also reveal that companies are moving away ad spending dollars from traditional TV commercial to other type of advertising, mainly digital. The shift won’t happen overnight, though – that’s why video campaigns should make the most of both worlds.

Indeed, TV commercials still work; even the trend says that young people are still consuming TV content – even the ads, despite the general consensus that says young people don’t view TV commercials anymore, as they are busy with their smartphones and tablets.

So, how a business should respond?

All trend talks aside, businesses need to decide on what would they do with their ad budget. The big question remains: How to make commercials – TV or digital or both – work for my business? Here are some tips that you might want to ponder upon:

1. Focus on people’s behaviour

It is widely known that people respond when the ad features a person or a group of people. In order to get your message across, you need to answer these simple, probing questions through your commercial: What is the ‘pain point’ of your audience, and how your product/service can ‘remedy’ your ‘pain’? What are the common behaviours that your audience have in responding to a particular set of issues?

2. Tell compelling stories

Storytelling has always been a crucial part in any marketing campaigns. However, for some reasons, businesses and marketers fail to tell their story effectively. Stories still work, and to get your commercial viewed/heard/actioned upon, you need tell a compelling one.

Example: Ancestry TV ad tell stories about a man tracing his family history and visit his great, great grand dad’s then-house.

3. Customize your approach based on your target market’s ‘hangout’ places.

TV commercials – on its own – are no longer that effective. Today, with consumers’ ability to fast forward every TV commercial, you should focus on the right segments for your commercial to get the attention it deserves. What about the other segments who choose to consume content via their mobile device? It’s simple really: Market in their hangout places.

Social media is today’s hangout place – so if you want to reach out your audience on Facebook, you should publish and promote your video ads on that platform. You should also incorporate the right marketing tactics for that particular platform, e.g. Facebook dark post. The same goes for other social media platforms, like YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

Example: Pantene’s latest commercial, featuring Selena Gomez, published on YouTube.

4. Cross-promote

Every platforms that marketers can use to reach out to their audience have their own characteristics. With that said, you need to cross-promote your video commercial, and customise your message according to the platform that you use to publish your video content.

With that said, you need to be careful in using any marketing automation tools – ‘blasting’ the same videos and the same messages on various online platforms is not only ineffective, it can also backfire.

5. CTA!

Last but not least, your video commercial needs to have a clear call-to-action (CTA). And in line with the tips number three and four above, your CTAs need to be customised based on your target market’s behaviour. Remember, in today’s marketing world, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.


Indeed, we can’t deny the fact that TV commercials are approaching their demise. Fortunately, it won’t happen overnight, which mean that with the right strategic approach, you can mix-and-match your video content, as well as your video publishing platforms.

As always, test things out and respond to the results revealed in timely manner.