Concept Academy Masterclass CA-003: How to advertise on TV

How to advertise on TV – A brief explainer.

This Masterclass is an explainer of how to advertise on TV. Consider it an overview of what's involved and how it works, and how we move from your brief to a TV Advertising campaign that's broadcasting in the homes of your target customers.

Since 2004, Concept TV has produced TV Advertising campaigns that have boosted brands and sold millions of pounds worth of products, so we're well placed to explain the process and answer our most frequently asked questions.

Why advertise on TV?

The need to get in front of millions of targeted people has never been so important. We find most people choose TV Advertising to give them the competitive edge, particularly as more and more people compete for exposure in search platforms.

And even with the explosion of platforms like YouTube and Tiktok, research body Thinkbox recently confirmed Traditional Broadcaster TV accounts for 64% of all video watched in a day. In fact, the UK watches 2.5 billion TV adverts every day, so each person sees 41 TV Adverts every single day….

And, if you want your proposition to stand out, a whopping 66% of TVs are 40 inches or bigger.

Dual screening = Increased opportunity!

Most people have a mobile phone to hand when watching TV. We've seen people engage with TV adverts immediately by visiting your website on their phone. Which is a good reason to have your website mobile-friendly. That's known as having a responsive web site in the digital world!

The Five Steps to advertise on TV

So, let's get to it. How do you advertise on TV? There are 5 stages to TV Advertising. The TV Advertising Campaign Brief, TV Advert Production, TV Media Buying, Broadcasting and Analytics.

This is an overview of how TV Advertising works, so I'll keep it brief, but do feel free to contact us at or call 0203 002 92 42 to ask any questions. We're always happy to help and we'll be doing more video training courses on TV Advertising as part of Concept Academy in the future.

The Brief:

The first step will involve converting your objectives into a proper TV Advertising Brief. We look in detail at your proposition, what are you offering, how does it sit in the market and what are its Unique Selling Points, USP?

Next up is the target customer. We look to profile your customer using industry standard marketing profile techniques. These profiles are critical for choosing the right TV channels to advertise on.

We'll also discuss your ability to fulfil the order numbers generated by TV Advertising campaigns, perhaps considering ways to scale up or back depending on your capabilities.

TV Advert Production – Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production

Once we have a good idea of what you want to achieve, we create your TV Advert. Most of our TV adverts are filmed. We have seen strong support for the idea that 'people buy people'. That means people are more likely to engage with your proposition if they can identify with your presenter, or feel they are offering a genuine proposition.

Whilst we can create graphics and voiceover only TV Adverts, cost wise, there's not much in it!

TV Advert Production – TV Advert Claims and Substantiation.

The TV Advert Production process starts by formalising a list of claims and identifying substantiation. In the UK, all broadcast TV Adverts must comply with advertising laws and with TV Channel broadcasting license terms.

Broadcasters require that TV Adverts are checked for compliance before they are broadcast. We handle this process in detail, so can help identify claims in your proposition and scripts, then determine viability and substantiation options. We offer a service where we research and produce substantiation documents to prove your claims, where possible.

If a claim cannot be proven, we'll look at other ways you can advertise your proposition. It can become quite a complex subject, but that's an area we specialise in and can advise.

TV Advert Production – TV Advert Script

The next step is to create a filming script. I won't go into the technicalities of this, but our creatives look for ways to best engage your audience with your proposition. In some cases, we create TV Advert ideas that show your target viewer aspirational versions of themselves and their situations, a person they can identify with.

An example would be showing a family using your product in a home environment. If you can create a TV Advert that paints your product into the lives of your target customers, you're more likely to get their buy-in. Another example may be a presenter-led TV Advert where a presenter explains product benefits and features, then explains how the viewer can buy your product or service.

There are many other ways to create a compelling TV Advert too.

TV Advert Production – Clearcast Compliance

Once we've created a Production Script for your TV Advert, we'll submit it to the TV Advert clearing authority Clearcast, along with the substantiation to seek approval to broadcast.

Note we still haven't filmed anything yet! It's important to follow this step in this order to save expensive reshoots later!

TV Advert Production – Filming

With approval under our belt, we'll head of to a location or our TV studios to film your TV Advert. There may be other steps involved prior to this step, such as casting calls and licensing for example.

Again, we go into further detail about these specific aspects in other training masterclasses.

TV Advert Production – Compliance & Mastering

Once filmed and edited, the TV Advert goes back through compliance with Clearcast reviewing our final clocked TV Advert.

In this industry, a clock is an ID number given to a TV Advert which the broadcasters use to schedule it. The name clock refers to the fact that in the TV Advert video that we submit for compliance clearing and submit to the broadcasters, there is a graphics intro with a count down clock and the video ID or clock number shown in text.

In the good old days, the broadcasters would use these clocks to line up your TV Advert to ensure seamless transition to and from your TV Advert, although these days it's done digitally.

We then send your TV Advert to the broadcasters.

Broadcasting your TV Advertising Campaign

Using the target profiles we identified at the start of the process, we'll identify the TV channels and schedule time bands. With that information, we'll directly negotiate with the broadcasters to arrange the TV Advertising Campaign's broadcast. This is known as TV Media Buying. Once the Media Buying process is complete, the broadcasters will supply us with your TV Advertising schedules. We will check these schedules against our buying agenda, looking at average campaign spot ratings and times and TV shows, for example.

Once we're happy, we forward a combined schedule on to you and your TV Advert will start broadcasting into the homes of millions of people across the UK.

We always recommend running a campaign before making significant changes. This period allows viewers to become familiar with your proposition and for them to start engaging. Just think about how quickly you react to new offers. It takes a few showings to start seeing engagements or sales. We also look beyond an early peak in responses to determine the onward TV Advertising campaign bookings.

We now combine a TV Advert with a simultaneous digital campaign. For this we will help you set up a microsite and landing pages on your digital platforms to ensure people can find you when looking for you after seeing your TV ad.

We can also undertake Media Buying on platforms such as TikTok and YouTube which run concurrently with your broadcast TV Advertising activity.

The TV Advertising Process – a recap:

So, in summary the process follows:

  • Briefing
  • Pre-production, getting your claims and scripts in order.
  • Production and Post Production, turning your Clearcast approved script into a TV Advert.
  • Broadcasting, undertaking TV Media Buying, confirming schedules then watching your TV Advert go out.
  • Performance Analytics, reviewing how your TV Advertising campaign has performed and planning your ongoing activity.

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