Is traditional TV advertising still in touch with the times?

Addressable TV, connected TV, social TV – digitalization is seeing advertisers implementing new strategies to reach consumers. However, brands still invest billions in TV commercials during major broadcasts – such as the Super Bowl.

Connected TV opens up more possibilities for advertisers.
Image: © Georgii / AdobeStock

Multibillion sums for just a few seconds

Nowadays, if you tune into a good old over-the-air television network instead of streaming on Netflix, YouTube, or Twitch, you’ll soon realize that traditional commercials are still very much alive and kicking. In Germany, TV advertising has been a mainstay for 65 years. A lot has happened during that time, but digitalization has been by far the biggest influence. For example, addressable TV, which is a hybrid of traditional TV advertising and digital targeting, allows specific target groups to be reached via smart TVs.

However, the digital offerings don’t always manage to match up to the major impact of conventional TV commercials. Take Super Bowl 2022 as an example: companies wanting to advertise during the commercial break had to fork out up to 7 million U.S. dollars for 30 seconds of airtime – and the automobile industry was especially willing to invest such sums. BMW, Toyota, Nissan, and Kia not only pumped money into precious advertising seconds, but also into extravagantly produced commercials with star casts. Other sports events, such as the UEFA European Soccer Championship and the Olympic Games, have also seen brands digging deep into their pockets to entertain viewers with elaborate commercials.

The bottom line is that people sitting in front of their TV devices expect impressive commercials. They are a tradition during major sports events and stay in people’s minds for years.

TV advertising is thus more than just a gap filler and appeals to consumers on an emotional level, thereby creating a lasting association with certain brands.

Can connected TV replace tradition?

A lot has changed since TVs have been able to be connected to the Internet. Linear television has made way for cinematic viewing via streaming services – ad-free of course. Sports broadcasts are also being increasingly watched on smart TVs via digital apps or devices. Connected TV (CTV) is therefore becoming more and more relevant for advertisers.

An example of how effective marketing also reaches CTV users comes surprisingly from a brand that has arguably been the embodiment of traditional TV advertising for years now. In Germany, the beer brand Warsteiner is mainly known for its TV commercials aired during soccer events. In 2021, the company used the new digital technologies to develop a CTV campaign together with Mediaplus, Mediascale, and Samsung Ads. The campaign ran on Samsung smart TVs and only targeted viewers who hadn’t yet seen the beer brand’s commercials on linear TV.

This was made possible by a special user opt-in tool from Samsung, which automatically analyzes image content via image recognition and thus captures how often or whether a commercial has been shown on that particular end device. The result of the campaign was as clear as day: Warsteiner generated a remarkable 21 percent growth in reach.

TV advertising is far from being on the way out

We may love digitalization, but a good old TV commercial during suspense-packed events connects and entertains people. Although purely personalized, digital advertising reaches the target group more precisely, it would be awful if that meant we’d miss out on Arnold Schwarzenegger as Zeus, king of the gods, and his bizarre ride in a BMW electric car.

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