Have you ever been watching your favorite drama on TV when a commercial for a new toy came on? Me neither. There’s a reason for that—you’re not the target audience for toys, and kids don’t usually watch primetime.
In your strategic marketing plan, it’s imperative to know who is in the audience. Of course there will be outliers, but most of the time a certain age or interest group will be watching a certain program at a certain time. While this blog focuses on three instances of live television, these advertising guidelines apply to online viewing, radio stations, and everything in between.
The Price Is Right. Probably everyone has seen this game show of endless cheering and clapping at least once in their life. It’s on its 44th season, and there are over 8,000 episodes. The majority of these air at 11 a.m. in broad daylight. You’ll see ads for cosmetic surgery, medical suppliers, motorized wheelchairs, hearing aids, life insurance, and denture adhesives, among others. The commercials obviously target an older demographic, one that will consistently be at home in the late morning watching a golden-age game show. Advertisers know who’s watching, so they estimate the viewers’ needs and match them to the ads they show.
Saturday Morning Cartoons. There’s nothing like waking up on a Saturday morning and rushing to the TV to catch the cartoons. (Though I suppose this is more acceptable if you’re under the age of 13.) The programming is meant for kids, so the commercials are too. There’s no school on Saturday, and it’s breakfast time. By and large, toys dominate the scene, interrupted by the occasional ad for snacks or cereal.
Super Bowl. In terms of exposure, the Super Bowl is the Holy Grail. Each year on the first Sunday in February, Americans sit down (or stand and shout at the TV) for one of the most-watched television broadcasts in U.S. history. While the football is a big draw for many, a vast amount of viewers tune in solely for the ads. Super Bowl commercials have become a cultural phenomenon, and in 2015 a 30-second spot cost about $4.5 million. Popular and recurring commercials advertise beer, car insurance, candy, snacks, cars, and movies. Though it’s likely that people of all demographics tune in, it seems that advertisers target the most common football fans: young and middle-aged men and women. The best commercials—the ones that become viral—are cinematographic, funny, or touching.
When you’re advertising on television, consider your product and who would use it. Figure out what that person is probably interested in and match that to a style of TV show. Air your ad when they’re likely watching. If you get it right, your ad will get the right kind of exposure and hopefully you’ll see the benefits.