Television advertisement

Television advertisement

A television advertisement or television commercial, often just commercial, advert, ad, or ad-film (India) – is a span of television programming produced and paid for by an organization that conveys a message, typically one intended to market a product. Advertisement revenue provides a significant portion of the funding for most privately owned television networks. The vast majority of television advertisements today consist of brief advertising spots, ranging in length from a few seconds to several minutes (as well as program-length infomercials). Advertisements of this sort have been used to promote a wide variety of goods, services and ideas since the dawn of television.

The effect upon the viewing public of commercial advertisements, and mass media in general, has been the subject of philosophical discourse by such luminaries as Marshall McLuhan. The viewership of television programming, as measured by companies such as Nielsen Media Research, is often used as a metric for television advertisement placement, and consequently, for the rates charged to advertisers to air within a given network, television program, or time of day (called a "daypart").

In many countries, including the United States, television campaign advertisements are considered indispensable for a political campaign. In other countries, such as France, political advertising in television is heavily restricted,[1] and some, like Norway, completely ban it.

Television was still in its experimental phase in 1928, but its future potential to sell goods was already in mind



The first television advertisement was broadcast in the United States on July 1, 1941. The watchmaker Bulova paid $9 for a placement on New York station WNBT before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The 20-second spot displayed a picture of a clock superimposed on a map of the United States, accompanied by the voice-over "America runs on Bulova time."[2][3] The first TV ad broadcast in the UK was on ITV on 21 September 1955, advertising Gibbs SR toothpaste. The first TV Ad broadcast in the Philippines was on ABS-CBN in 1960, advertising Tide detergent powder. Until the early 1990s, advertising on television had only been affordable for large companies willing to make a significant investment, but the advent of desktop video allowed many small and local businesses to produce television ads for airing on local cable TV services.


Television advertising in the U.S. and in other countries involves two main tasks: 1.) creating a television commercial that meets broadcast standards, and 2.) placing the commercial on television via a targeted air time media buy that reaches the desired customer.

To accomplish these tasks, it is important to choose a television production company and advertising agency with pertinent expertise in these two arenas, and it is preferable to choose an agency that both produces commercials and places air time, because expertise in broadcast quality production and broadcast standards is vital to gaining the advertisement's acceptance by the networks.[4] After the advent of cheap video software and consumer cameras, numerous individuals have offered video production services on the internet. Video production companies that do not regularly place TV ads on the air often have their productions rejected by networks for technical or content issues, due to their inexperience with creating broadcast-ready content.

Many television advertisements feature songs or melodies ("jingles") or slogans designed to be striking and memorable, which may remain in the minds of television viewers long after the span of the advertising campaign. Some of these ad jingles or catch-phrases may take on lives of their own, spawning gags that appear in films, television shows, magazines, comics, or literature. These long-lasting advertising elements may be said to have taken a place in the pop culture history of the demographic to whom they appeared. An example is the enduring phrase, "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should", from the eighteen-year advertising campaign for Winston cigarettes from the 1950s to the 1970s. Variations of this catchy dialogue and direct references to it appeared as much as two decades after the ad campaign expired. Another example is "Where's the Beef?", which grew so popular it was used in the 1984 presidential election by Walter Mondale. And yet another popular catch-phrase is "I've fallen and I can't get up", which still appears occasionally, over two decades after its first use. Some advertising agency executives have originated more than one enduring slogan, such as Mary Wells Lawrence, who is responsible for such famous slogans as "Raise your hand if you're Sure", "I♥New York" and "Trust the Midas touch."

Advertising agencies often use humor as a tool in their creative marketing campaigns. In fact, many psychological studies have attempted to demonstrate the effects of humor and their relationship to empowering advertising persuasion.

An animated TV advertisement

Animation is often used in advertisements. The pictures can vary from hand-drawn traditional animation to computer animation. By using animated characters, an advertisement may have a certain appeal that is difficult to achieve with actors or mere product displays. Animation also proofs the advertisement from changes in fashion that would date it. For this reason, an animated advertisement (or a series of such advertisements) can be very long-running, several decades in many instances. Notable examples are the series of advertisements for Kellogg's cereals, starring Snap, Crackle and Pop and also Tony the Tiger. The animation is often combined with real actors. Animated advertisements can achieve lasting popularity. In any popular vote for the most memorable television advertisements in the UK (such as on ITV[5] or Channel 4[6]) the top positions in the list invariably include animations, such as the classic Smash and Creature Comforts advertisements.

Other long-running ad campaigns catch people by surprise, even tricking the viewer, such as the Energizer Bunny advertisement series. It started in the late 1980s as a simple comparison advertisement, where a room full of battery-operated bunnies was seen pounding their drums, all slowing down...except one, with the Energizer battery. Years later, a revised version of this seminal advertisement had the Energizer bunny escaping the stage and moving on (according to the announcer, he "keeps going and going and going..."). This was followed by what appeared to be another advertisement: viewers were oblivious to the fact that the following "advertisement" was actually a parody of other well-known advertisements until the Energizer bunny suddenly intrudes on the situation, with the announcer saying "Still going..." (the Energizer Battery Company's way of emphasizing that their battery lasts longer than other leading batteries). This ad campaign lasted for nearly fifteen years. The Energizer Bunny series has itself been imitated by others, via a Coors Light Beer advertisement, in motion pictures, and even by current advertisements by GEICO Insurance.

TV advertisements around the world

United States of America

Entire industries exist that focus solely on the task of keeping the viewing audience interested enough to sit through advertisements. The Nielsen ratings system exists as a way for stations to determine how successful their television shows are, so that they can decide what rates to charge advertisers for their advertisements.

Advertisements take airtime away from programs. Commercial breaks have also become longer. In the 1960s a typical hour-long American show would run for 51 minutes excluding advertisements. Today, a similar program would only be 42 minutes long; a typical 30-minute block of time now includes 22 minutes[7] of programming with six minutes of national taes of advertising split.[citation needed] A television broadcast of the 101-minute film The Wizard of Oz (1939) for instance, could, in the early to mid-1960s, take two hours even with advertisements. Today, a telecast of the same film would last approximately two hours and 15 minutes including advertisements.

In other words, over the course of 10 hours, American viewers will see approximately three hours of advertisements, twice what they would have seen in the 1960s. Furthermore, if a 1960s show is rerun today, the content may be edited or cut by nine minutes to make room for the extra advertisements. In more recent years, that number has grown by an average of two minutes[quantify].

In the 1950s and 1960s, the average advertisement's length was one minute. As the years passed, the average length shrank to 30 seconds (and often 10 seconds, depending on the television station's purchase of ad time), but more of them are now shown during the break, while in the 1960s, only one or two advertisements would be shown at each break. However, today a majority of advertisements run in 15-second increments (often known as "hooks").

TV advertisements are identified by an ISCI code.


In the United States, the TV advertisement is generally considered the most effective mass-market advertising format, and this is reflected by the high prices TV networks charge for commercial broadcasting airtime during popular TV events. The annual Super Bowl American football game is known as much for its commercial advertisements as for the game itself, and the average cost of a single 30-second TV spot during this game (seen by 90 million viewers) has reached US$3 million (as of February 2011).

In general, advertisers covet the 18-49 age demographic; older viewers are of almost no interest to most advertisers due to their unwillingness to change their buying habits.[8] The number of viewers within the target demographic is more important to ad revenues than total viewers. According to Advertising Age, during the 2007-08 season, Grey's Anatomy was able to charge $419,000 per advertisement, compared to only $248,000 for an advertisement during CSI, despite CSI having almost five million more viewers on average.[9] Due to its demographic strength, Friends was able to charge almost three times as much for an advertisement as Murder, She Wrote, even though the two series had similar total viewer numbers during the seasons they were on the air together.[8] Broadcast networks are concerned by the increasing use of DVRs by young viewers, resulting in aging of the live viewing audience and consequently, lower ad rates.[10] Also TV advertisers may also target certain audiences of the population such as certain races, income level, and gender.[8] In recent years, shows that tend to target young women tend to be more profitable for advertisements than shows targeted to younger men, this is due to the fact that younger men are watching TV less than their female counterparts.[11]

In the United Kingdom, television advertising is considered to be considerably cheaper than in the United States of America. The current record for an advertising slot on British terrestrial television is quoted at being £250,000 for a 30 second slot during the 2010 series of Britain's Got Talent. It should be noted however that while British TV advertising is cheaper, this is only to be expected as the United Kingdom has a much lower population (63 million) compared to the US (310 million). So if you adjusted the £250,000 figure into American terms, the population being 5 times bigger and the exchange rate, this figure would become $2 million, much closer to the US Super Bowl figure.[12]

Because a single television advertisement can be broadcast repeatedly over the course of weeks, months, and even years (the Tootsie Roll company has been broadcasting a famous advertisement that asks "How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie center of a Tootsie Pop?" for over three decades), television advertisement production studios often spend enormous sums of money in the production of one single thirty-second television spot. This vast expenditure has resulted in a number of high-quality advertisements with high production values, the latest in special effects technology, the most popular personalities, and the best music. A number of television advertisements are so elaborately produced that they can be considered miniature thirty-second movies; indeed, many film directors have directed television advertisements both as a way to gain exposure and to earn a paycheck. One of film director Ridley Scott's most famous cinematic moments was a television advertisement he directed for the Apple Macintosh computer, that was broadcast in 1984. Even though this advertisement was broadcast only once (aside from occasional appearances in television advertisement compilation specials and one 1 a.m. airing a month before the Super Bowl so that the advertisement could be submitted to award ceremonies for that year), it has become famous and well-known, to the point where it is considered a classic television moment.

Despite the popularity of some advertisements, many consider them to be an annoyance for a number of reasons. The main reason may be that the sound volume of advertisements tends to be higher (and in some cases much higher) than that of regular programming. The United States Congress passed a bill on September 30, 2010, called the CALM Act, to reduce the sound volume of advertisements, that should go into effect within a year. In the UK, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice has a similar regulation. The increasing number of advertisements, as well as overplaying of the same advertisement, are secondary annoyance factors. A third might be that television is currently the main medium to advertise, prompting ad campaigns by everyone from cell-phone companies, political campaigns, fast food restaurants, to local businesses, and small businesses, prompting longer commercial breaks. Finally, another reason is that advertisements often cut into certain parts in the regular programming that are either climaxes of the plot or a major turning point in the show, which many people find exciting or entertaining to watch.

From a cognitive standpoint, the core reason people find advertisements annoying is that the advertisement's offer is not of interest at that moment, or the presentation is unclear. A typical viewer has seen enough advertisements to anticipate that most advertisements will be bothersome, prompting the viewer to be mercilessly selective in their viewing. Conversely, if an advertisement strikes a chord with the viewer (such as an ad for debt relief shown to a viewer who has received a late notice in the mail), or has entertainment value beyond the basic message (such as the classic humorous spots for Wendy's "Where's the beef?" campaign), then viewers tend to stay with the advertisement, perhaps even looking forward to viewing it again.[citation needed]


Beginning on January 2, 1971, advertisements featuring cigarettes were banned from American TV. Advertisements for alcohol products are allowed, but the consumption of any alcohol product is not allowed in a television advertisement. Since the late 1990s TV advertisements have become far more diverse,[citation needed] and household products and foods that are not new are no longer generally advertised as they were in the mid to late 20th century.[citation needed]Subliminal messaging has also been banned.[citation needed]

Are advertisements also programming?

Since the 1960s, media critics have claimed that the boundaries between "programming" and "advertisements" have been eroded to the point where the line is blurred nearly as much as it was during the beginnings of the medium, when almost all individual television shows were sponsored entirely by a single corporation (the model which was carried over from old-time network radio). For much of the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, the FCC imposed a rule requiring networks that broadcast programming on Saturday morning and Sunday nights at 7 PM/6 PM Central to air bumpers ("We'll return after these messages...", " back to our programming" and variations thereof) to help younger audiences distinguish programs from advertisements. The only programs that were exempt from this rule were news shows and information shows relating to news (such as 60 Minutes). Conditions on children's programming have eased a bit since the period of the 1970s and 1980s.


In many European countries television advertisements appear in longer, but less frequent advertising breaks. For example, instead of 3 minutes every 8 minutes, there might be around 6 minutes every half hour. European Union legislation limits the time taken by commercial breaks to 12 minutes per hour (20%), with a minimum segment length of 20 or 30 minutes, depending on the program content.[13] However, these are maximum limits and so specific regulations differ widely from both within and outside the EU, and indeed from network to network. Unlike in the United States, in Europe the advertising agency name may appear at the beginning or at the end of the advert.

United Kingdom

In the UK, the British Broadcasting Corporation is funded by a licence fee and does not screen adverts apart from the promotion of its own future programming (either 'coming soon' or the day's later programming features). On the commercial channels, the amount of airtime allowed by the UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom for advertising is an overall average of 7 minutes per hour, with limits of 12 minutes for any particular clock hour (8 minutes per hour between 6pm and 11pm). With 42-minute American exports to Britain, such as Lost, being given a one hour slot, nearly one third of the slot is taken up by adverts or trailers for other programs. Live imported television programs such as WWE Raw show promotional material that is shown in place of U.S. advert breaks. Infomercials (known as "admags") were originally a feature of the regional commercial ITV stations from launch in 1955 but were banned in 1963.

The first advert to be shown in the UK was an advert for S.R. Toothpaste on September 22, 1955 on the ITV network (its first day).[14]

In 2008, Ofcom announced a Review of television advertising and teleshopping regulation, with a view to possibly changing their code, Rules on the Amount and Distribution of Advertising (RADA), which regulates the duration, frequency and restriction of adverts on television.

Television advertising specialist, Nick Illston, of advertising-buying agency Pace Media,[12] states that ITV's £250,000 asking price for a 30 second slot during the 2010 series of Britain's Got Talent is currently the most expensive advertising slot on television.[12]


As in Britain, in Germany, public television stations own a major share of the market. Their programming is funded by a licence fee as well as advertisements on specific hours of the day (20 minutes per day; not after 8 p.m.), except on Sundays and holidays. Private stations are allowed to show up to 12 minutes of ads per hour with a minimum of 20 minutes of programming in between interruptions.


France is the only European country to not use the system clock time. The Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel allows up to 9 minutes of advertising per hour on average in a day. Private channels can only broadcast one commercial break if the show is less than an hour and two commercial break if the show is more than an hour. For public channels, the advertising is forbidden after 8 p.m and will completely disappear in 2012.


In the Republic of Ireland, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland determines the number of adverts on commercial and community TV stations, while the The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is responsible for the advertising limits of Public Service Broadcasters.

Up to 2010 Commercial broadcasters where permitted a maximum of 15% advertising time vs. overall broadcast time.[15] In 2010 TV3 asked for an increase in advertising minutes due to the high level of competition from advertising opt-outs coming into Ireland via satellite and cable pay providers and also the number of live ITV programmes carried by TV3 (such as The X Factor). The BAI agreed to increasing the number of ads on commercial TV broadcasts bring Irish commercial TV channels in line with UK commercial TV channels,[16] however the BAI refused to extend the limit of commercial radio operators stating that it did not face the same competition from non-indigenous radio stations.

Commercial Broadcasters may not exceed 18% of their broadcast day on advertising and they may only have a maximum of 12 minutes of adverts per hour, except for children's programming where advertising may not exceed 10 minutes per hour.[17] (Commercial TV broadcasters include TV3, City Channel and Setanta). Irish community TV channels rarely show advertising, however they are permitted to show 6 minutes of advertising per hour.

RTÉ cannot carry advertising on RTÉ News Now and RTÉjr, other RTÉ channels carry a maximum of 9 minutes per hour of advertising but only an average of 6 minutes of advertising per hour, these same rules apply to TG4. This amounts to 10% of total broadcast time.


In Finland, there are two mainstream non-commercial channels run by the state owned broadcasting company YLE, that run advertisements only on very infrequent occasions, such as important sport events. The three main commercial channels MTV3, Sub (a subsidiary of MTV3), and Nelonen ("Number Four" in Finnish), all run their advertisements during breaks approximately every 15 minutes. Since digital TV has been introduced, the number of TV channels has grown, with YLE and the main broadcasters all adding new channels (including some subscription channels). Analogue broadcasts ceased in August 2007 and the nation's TV services are now exclusively digital. A typical break lasts about 4 minutes. The length of individual advertisements can vary from a few seconds (7, 10 and 15 are common), but nowadays they are rarely over one minute in length. Many advertisements of supranational companies are dubbed from English language advertisements. Although Swedish is the other official language of Finland, the advertisements do not feature Swedish subtitles nor are any Swedish language advertisements shown with the infrequent exception of some political advertisements at the time of elections. English language advertisements are also uncommon.


The Russian advertising break consists of 2 parts: federal adverts and regional adverts. The duration for each is 4 minutes and 15 minutes per hour respectively.


The Danish DR-channels are funded by a television licence, so they do not show any advertisements at all. The other Danish television network, TV2 shows advertisements only in blocks between the programs. These can take from 2 minutes to 10 minutes depending on the time to the next show. In Denmark, commercial breaks are strictly prohibited and advertising targeted to children is restricted. Channels like Kanal 5 and TV3 are allowed to interrupt programs, as these channels are being broadcast via satellite from the United Kingdom.



In India, the Code for Self-Regulation of Advertising in India, established by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), is applicable on Television Commercials (TVCs). If consumers see an advertisement, which they consider misleading or offensive, they can write to ASCI.[18]


All television stations and channels, whether government-owned or private, broadcast advertisements, with television channel logos removed before the start of the commercial break.

In Malaysia, the duration of a typical break differs between local and foreign programs, while RTM, the nation's state broadcaster, usually has shorter commercial break. There are usually two commercial breaks in a half-hour program and three commercial breaks in an hour-long program, with the exception of news programs. Terrestrial television can only broadcast advertisements during the program that was currently aired except before announcing the breaking of fast in the month of Ramadan.

In 1999, Malaysian television stations broadcast only around 15 minutes of television advertisements per hour. Now it had been increase to around 20 minutes with 10 - 15 advertisement per commercial break.

Malaysian television advertisements were at first identified by KP/YYYY/XXXX, which was first introduced in circa 1995. The KP is the abbreviation of the Ministry of Information while the YYYY is the year the advertisement produced and the XXXX is the number of the advert permit, and it was earlier was shown at the beginning or end of the advert, and some of the shorter advertisements (less than 15 seconds) show this code for the whole duration of the advertisement. As of 2010, advertisements that use this code (which was broadcast prior to mid-late 2009) is still broadcasting on television. Other advertising permits includes the KKLIU (Ministry of Health, the Medicine Advertising Authority) for medicinal advertisements, which was has been used before 1995 and the JIRP (Pesticide Advertising Department) for pesticide advertisements. All pesticide advertisement must show the word "INI IALAH IKLAN RACUN PEROSAK" (This is a pesticide advertisement) and JIRP advertising code at the beginning of the advertisement and the word "BACALAH LABEL KELUARAN SEBELUM MENGGUNAKANNYA" (Read the label before use) at the end of the advertisement. It was also used in advertisements on newspapers and magazines.

Since mid-late 2009, advertisements are shown with the KPKK/XXXX/YYYY, in which the KPKK is the abbreviation of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture and it was shown in the beginning of the advertisement. It is common for advertisements shown on RTM and also common for some advertisements shown on Astro satellite television service and Media Prima-owned television stations, such as TV3, ntv7, 8TV and TV9.

Astro is also known to delay incoming satellite feeds by two to five minutes from the actual time of the start and the end of program (for example program aired at 1:30 pm will be started at 1:33 pm) with broadcasting advertisements during in-between programs for its purpose of commercial replacement, as government laws forbid advertisements produced from overseas, except those recognizing Malaysia's brands, such as Sony, Panasonic, Nokia and LG, as well as produced from within the country itself.

Liquor advertisements shown after 10:00 pm during non-Malay programs have been banned in the country since 1995, while cigarette advertisements have been banned from showing cigarette packaging since 1995, and complete ban since 2003. Fast-food advertisements during children's programs are also banned in 2007. There are also restrictions on Malaysian television advertisements such as advertisement for 18-rated films, feminine care products and unhealthy foods, is not allowed to be broadcast during children's programs, and lottery advertising, which is prohibited during Malay programs. Lingerie advertisements are prohibited in Malaysian television, but allowed in non-Malay magazines published in Malaysia.

The Philippines

In the Philippines, advertising is self-regulated by individual broadcasters. The Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines, a self-regulatory organization representing most television and radio broadcasters in the country, limit advertising to 18 minutes per hour, a move taken to help "promote public interest."[19][20]

Since television was introduced to the Philippines in 1953, they used imported TV Ads until 1960. In the 1960, P&G paved their way to start the first local TV Ad.

In 1966, when the Philippine TV turned from Black-and-white to Color, Colgate-Palmolive was the first to advertise in color.

Television advertising (production cost) before in the Philippines was not so expensive. The materials needed for the TV Ad to be aired (just like in some countries) are: Film degradation, the styles of the music score (arrangement), film angles, B&W or colored, hair styles, the manner the commercial was presented and the scriptwriting.

In 1994, cigarette advertisements on TV had a warning at the end of the TV Commercial. It says, "Government Warning: Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous To Your Health". In 2007, cigarette TV ads, including radio and print ads/sponsorships, were banned from the Philippine government.


Similar to the European Union, advertising on Australian commercial television is restricted to a certain amount in a 24-hour period, but there are no restrictions on how much advertising may appear in any particular hour.[21] Australian television has one of the highest advertising content in the world. Prime-time can see 18 minutes or more of ads per hour. Furthermore, product ads wrapped up in informational content are labeled "public service announcements" and not included in the time restrictions; similarly with "this program brought to you by..." announcements, and station identifications. Consequently Australian viewers might see less than 40 minutes of actual program time per hour. Foreign, older television programs and movies are noticeably shortened; comedy shows often return from an ad break into laughter, for instance. Australia is also one of the few countries in the world where advertisements may appear prior to, and over the top of, the closing credits of a program. There are some restrictions on television advertising in Australia, such as a complete ban on advertising for cigarettes, as well as advertising during programs intended for young children.[citation needed] The ABC, the nation's public broadcaster, broadcasts no external advertisements, but between programs will broadcast promotions for its own programs and merchandise, but is restricted to approximately five minutes per hour. SBS had similar restrictions on advertising until 2005, when it began airing external ads as per the commercial stations.

New Zealand

All major New Zealand television channels, whether state-owned or private, screen advertisements, with adverts on average taking up 15 minutes of each hour. There are usually two advert breaks in a half-hour program, and four advert breaks in an hour-long program.

Television adverts are banned on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and also on Sunday mornings before midday (although TV3 did broadcast adverts on Sunday mornings during the 2007 Rugby World Cup). Also, advertising of certain products is restricted (e.g. alcohol, unhealthy foods) or banned (e.g. tobacco).

The Advertising Standards Authority is responsible for advertisement compliance, and deals with advertisement complaints (except for election advertising, in which the Broadcasting Standards Authority is responsible).

Korea, South

Under the current rules, terrestrial channels cannot take in-program commercial breaks. So, the advertisements are usually put between the intro and the start of a program, and between the end credits and the end of the program. Terrestrial channels often divide some longer-length films like The Ten Commandments into parts and consider each part as an individual program. Terrestrial channels can take commercial breaks during breaks in action during sporting events.

Pay-television channels can take in-program commercial breaks, although some pay tv channels schedule advertisement in the same way that terrestrial channels do. Regulations for advertisements on terrestrial channels are more strict than those for pay channels. Non-South Korean channels are not subject to these regulations. Tobacco advertisements are prohibited.

Latin America


Since late 2010, all Argentine television channels (including cable channels operated from the country itself), are forced to separate advertising from the rest of the programming using bumpers with the text "Espacio publicitario" ("Advertising space"). Commercial advertising is limited to 12 minutes per hour. In-program advertising is allowed, but counted toward the 12 minute quota. That means that if a 60 minute show has 2 minutes of in-program advertising, the commercial breaks have to be limited to 10 minutes for that specific hour. Otherwise the station might face a fine.

Use of popular music

Prior to the 1980s music in television advertisements was generally limited to jingles and incidental music; on some occasions lyrics to a popular song would be changed to create a theme song or a jingle for a particular product. An example of this is found on the recent popular advert that utilises "Over There", the 1917 song popular with United States soldiers in both world wars and written by George M. Cohan during World War I. In 1971 the converse occurred when a song written for a Coca-Cola advertisement was re-recorded as the pop single "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" by the New Seekers, and became a hit. Some pop and rock songs were re-recorded by cover bands for use in advertisements, but the cost of licensing original recordings for this purpose remained prohibitive until the late 1980s.[citation needed]

The use of previously-recorded popular songs in television advertisements began in earnest in 1985 when Burger King used the original recording of Aretha Franklin's song "Freeway of Love" in a television advertisement for the restaurant. This also occurred in 1987 when Nike used the original recording of The Beatles' song "Revolution" in an advertisement for athletic shoes. Since then, many classic popular songs have been used in similar fashion. Songs can be used to concretely illustrate a point about the product being sold (such as Bob Seger's "Like a Rock" used for Chevy trucks), but more often are simply used to associate the good feelings listeners had for the song to the product on display. In some cases the original meaning of the song can be totally irrelevant or even completely opposite to the implication of the use in advertising; for example Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life", a song about heroin use addiction, has been used to advertise Royal Caribbean International, a cruise ship line. Music-licensing agreements with major artists, especially those that had not previously allowed their recordings to be used for this purpose, such as Microsoft's use of "Start Me Up" by the Rolling Stones and Apple Inc.'s use of U2's "Vertigo" became a source of publicity in themselves.

In early instances, songs were often used over the objections of the original artists,[citation needed] who had lost control of their music publishing, the music of Beatles being perhaps the most well-known case; more recently artists have actively solicited use of their music in advertisements and songs have gained popularity and sales after being used in advertisements. A famous case is Levi's company, which has used several one hit wonders in their advertisements (songs such as "Inside", "Spaceman", and "Flat Beat"). In 2010, research conducted by PRS for Music revealed that "Light & Day" by The Polyphonic Spree is the most performed song in UK TV advertising.[22]

Sometimes a controversial reaction has followed the use of some particular song on an advertisement. Often the trouble has been that people do not like the idea of using songs that promote values important for them in advertisements. For example Sly and the Family Stone's anti-racism song, "Everyday People", was used in a car advertisement, which angered some people.[who?][citation needed]

Generic scores for advertisements often feature clarinets, saxophones, or various strings (such as the acoustic/electric guitars and violins) as the primary instruments.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, electronica music was increasingly used as background scores for television advertisements, initially for automobiles,[23] and later for other technological and business products such as computers and financial services. Television advertising has become a popular outlet for new artists to gain an audience for their work, with some advertisements displaying artist and song information onscreen at the beginning or end.

Future of TV advertisements

Though advertisements for cigarettes are banned in many countries, such advertising can still be seen in the sponsorship of events such as auto racing.

The introduction of digital video recorders (also known as digital television recorders or DTRs), such as TiVo, and services like Sky+, Dish Network and Astro MAX, which allow the recording of television programs onto a hard drive, also enabled viewers to fast-forward or automatically skip through advertisements of recorded programs.

There is speculation that television advertisements are threatened by digital video recorders as viewers choose not to watch them. However evidence from the UK shows that this is so far not the case. At the end of 2008 22 percent of UK households had a DTR. The majority of these households had Sky+ and data from these homes (collected via the SkyView[24] panel of more than 33,000) shows that, once a household gets a DTR, they watch 17 percent more television. 82 percent of their viewing is to normal, linear, broadcast TV without fast-forwarding the ads. In the 18 percent of TV viewing that is time-shifted (i.e. not watched as live broadcast), viewers still watch 30 percent of the ads at normal speed. Overall, the extra viewing encouraged by owning a DTR results in viewers watching 2 percent more ads at normal speed than they did before the DTR was installed.

The SkyView evidence is reinforced by studies on actual DTR behaviour by the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB) and the London Business School.

Other forms of TV advertising include Product placement advertising in the TV shows themselves. For example, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition advertises Sears, Kenmore, and Home Depot by specifically using products from these companies, and some sports events like the Sprint Cup of NASCAR are named after sponsors, and of course, race cars are frequently covered in advertisements. Incidentally, many major sporting venues, in North America at least, are named for commercial companies, dating back as far as Wrigley Field. Television programs delivered through new mediums such as streaming online video also bring different possibilities to the traditional methods of generating revenue from television advertising.

Another type of advertisement shown more and more, mostly for advertising TV shows on the same channel, is an ad overlay at the bottom of the TV screen, which blocks out some of the picture. "Banners", or "Logo Bugs", as they are called, are referred to by media companies as Secondary Events (2E). This is done in much the same way as a severe weather warning is done, only these happen more frequently. they may sometimes take up only 5 to 10 percent of the screen, but in the extreme, they can take up as much as 25 percent of the viewing area. Subtitles that are part of the program content can be completely obscured by banners. Some even make noise or move across the screen. One example is the 2E ads for Three Moons Over Milford, which was broadcast in the months before the TV show's premiere. A video taking up approximately 25 percent of the bottom-left portion of the screen would show a comet impacting into the moon with an accompanying explosion, during another television program.

In 2007, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, then CEO, announced plans to enter the television advertising business, despite its lack of any internal video production or network placement capability or expertise. Initial industry speculation was that they would use a business strategy similar to their scheme for radio ad sales, primarily the acquisition of operations system support provider dMarc. According to the Google corporate blog, Google abandoned its radio ad sales feature and its radio advertisers in February 2009. Google sold its radio buying assets in August 2009. Google's radio effort was widely considered a failure,[25] as was their foray into print ad sales.[26] These two traditional media schemes were among a number of Google's media and technology experiments, which have yielded mixed results.[27]

Online video directories are an emerging form of interactive advertising, which help in recalling and responding to advertising produced primarily for television. These directories also have the potential to offer other value-added services, such as response sheets and click-to-call, which greatly enhance the scope of the interaction with the brand.

During the 2008-09 TV season, Fox experimented with a new strategy, which the network dubbed "Remote-Free TV". Episodes of Fringe and Dollhouse contained approximately ten minutes of advertisements, four to six minutes fewer than other hour-long programs. Fox stated that shorter commercial breaks keep viewers more engaged and improve brand recall for advertisers, as well as reducing channel surfing and fast-forwarding past the ads. However, the strategy was not as successful as the network had hoped and it is unclear whether it will be continued in the future.[28]

See also


  1. ^ Fritz Plasser, Global Political Campaigning, p226
  2. ^
  3. ^ "A U. S. Television Chronology, 1875–1970". Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  4. ^ "Finding the Right TV Commercial Producer". 
  5. ^ ITV’s Best Ever Adverts. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  6. ^ 100 Greatest TV Ads. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  7. ^ How Much Do Television Ads Cost?
  8. ^ a b c Storey, Michael (2009-04-23). "THE TV COLUMN: Not in 18-49 age group? TV execs write you off". Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  9. ^ Santiago, Rosario (2007-10-03). "For Advertising Purposes, 'Grey's Anatomy' May Well be Colored Green". BuddyTV. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  10. ^ Downey, Kevin (2008-07-07). "DVRs giving broadcast more gray hairs". Media Life Magazine. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b c "PRESS DIGEST - British business - April 18". Reuters. 2010-04-18. 
  13. ^ European Parliament. "Culture and Education Committee endorses new TV advertising rules (2007-11-13)". Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  14. ^ "1950's Commercials". 1955-09-22. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  15. ^ Broadcasting Commission of Ireland. "Radio and Television Act, 1988". Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  16. ^ McCaughren, Samantha (1 August 2010). "TV3 happy but BAI slated over ad limits change". Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  17. ^ "BAI Rules on Advertising and Teleshopping". Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  18. ^ ASCI : Advertising Standards Council of India
  19. ^ KBP: Only 18 minutes of ads per hour -, Philippine News for Filipinos[dead link]
  20. ^ "Business - ABS-CBN supports cap on ad load -". 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ Sainsbury's song tops adverts playlist
  23. ^ The Changing Shape of the Culture Industry; or, How Did Electronica Music Get into Television Commercials?, Timothy D. Taylor, University of California, Los Angeles, Television & New Media, Vol. 8, No. 3, 235-258 (2007)
  24. ^ SkyView
  25. ^ Vascellaro, Jessica E. "Radio Tunes Out Google". Wall Street Journal Online. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  26. ^ Johnson, Bobbie. "Google Scraps Newspaper Ad Sales Service". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  27. ^ Rosoff, Matt. "Google's 16 Biggest Purchases and How They Worked Out". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  28. ^ Brian Stelter (2009-02-12). "Fox TV’s Gamble: Fewer Ads in a Break, but Costing More". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 

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