You Can Now Build A Brand Without Using TV

One thing I love about the advertising and marketing industry is that it never really stops finding new ways to deliver a message.  If you don’t like the options presenting themselves, just wait 15 minutes and they’ll change. 

OTT, digital TV, streaming -- whatever you call it, the options for delivering a targeted message are strong.  There’s also some new and interesting media formats to help break through the clutter.

I recently started using AT&T TV, and though I find the service itself to be spotty as it would be with any app-based delivery, the ad units on AT&T TV are very interesting.  I’ve long wondered why carriers didn’t make better use of the pause screen for on-demand or recorded video.   AT&T TV does it very well with full screen, auto-play video that allows the advertiser to place a beautiful piece of content on loop and deliver a message to the audience.

I have not spoken to anyone at AT&T TV, but I would assume that now or somewhere down the line it’s able to deliver that unit on a targeted basis based on their profile of the customers in the household. 



Television has long been the centerpiece of an advertiser’s go-to-market.   It delivers the most traditionally impactful ad units. In the past, it delivered total reach. 

Reach is important when building a brand.  These days, targetability is as important because you can develop your brand in phases, radiating outwards from target to target by leveraging OTT and streaming.  Advertisers can start with their most important audiences first and generate waves of brand development from there.  This is a potentially cost-effective way of delivering growth, allowing you to manage that growth without the massive out-of-pocket costs for nationwide broadcast TV right out of the box.

If you accept that the definition of TV is different now than it was 10 years ago, you’re on board with this strategy. If you don’t, then you are hanging on to a memory. 

Video is the most important element of your go-to-market.  It can be immersive.  It can tell a story.  A picture may be worth a thousand words, but video is a novel.  Video is delivered across a multitude of platforms now, and many of these have marketing and advertising opportunities built into them. 

Video is your centerpiece, and traditional television no longer has the same reach that it once did.  I am not saying TV is dead or dying.  I am saying the playing field has leveled out, and TV is not the same as it used to be. 

You can build a brand without broadcast television.  You can build a brand using only digital forms of media. That is the “inconvenient truth” for many, and a convenient one for many others.  You can effectively build a brand without spending a dollar on traditional broadcast TV.  Of course, working that into your media plan, along with outdoor and other vehicles, can work better. 

Your customers are splitting their time across dozens of media formats and platforms every day.  Your job is to understand that the journey from prospect to customer is not a linear journey.  You need to identify the most opportunities to see and touch your brand, and construct messaging consistent and successive across them all, no matter what order or path the customer takes. 

You are the architect of a journey you cannot control or predict, but you have to be proactive no matter what.  Doing that requires a new paradigm of belief: Digital is your core channel.  Video is the anchor in that channel.  Video is the best way to tell a story and you surround it with other ways to generate more touches and extend that story in a way that hooks the attention of your targets and drives them to engage with you directly, on your terms, in a way that pushes them towards becoming a true customer. 

That is how you build a brand in 2021 – a strategy different from what you might choose in in 2019.  That’s why I love this space, and what keeps it interesting.

6 comments about "You Can Now Build A Brand Without Using TV".
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  1. Brad Bullock from Effectv, May 19, 2021 at 4:51 p.m.

    Yes, streaming video is on the rise and accelerated by covid, however TV delivers at scale better than streaming. On the household level it can be 2, 3, 4 plus to 1 more impressions. Also, I didn’t read a separation of traditional broadcast TV to Cable TV. Considering, in most markets to my knowledge, cable receives about twice the daily viewing hours than traditional (60% plus vs. 30% plus). And as you know, it can be targeted geographically & demographically much like streaming. And let’s not forget how effective it is driving Internet traffic. 2nd screen usage while watching TV is over 80%, and over 70% search content related to what they saw on TV. Separating traditional & cable is important because investment, geo & demo targeting makes a significant difference between the two.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 19, 2021 at 5:41 p.m.

    Brad, while I agree with you regarding your comments about cable vs broadcast and TV's power generally, it's not true that the average adult spends 80% of his/her viewing time on a second screen. Think about it. that would be 4 hours a day of second screen usage---heavily in prime time---not counting all of the other second screen usage that takes place when TV isn't being watched---at school or the workplace, as examples. When studies ask people if they have used a second screen while watching TV--or do so "often" or "frequently", such studies generate very high claims---but these are more akin to reach, not frequency. Camera type observational studies show that the average minute---or second---- of second screen usage peaks at around 20-30% when commercials are on the screen but much less when program content is shown. And commercials account for only 25-30% of TV's content. Other forms of avoidance---such as leaving the room---are equally common as well as simply not paying attention.

  3. Brad Bullock from Effectv replied, May 19, 2021 at 5:50 p.m.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 19, 2021 at 6:09 p.m.
  5. Brad Bullock from Effectv replied, May 19, 2021 at 6:38 p.m.

    Just more info. Copy & past the link if you like.

  6. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 19, 2021 at 7:54 p.m.

    Brad, this is exactly the kind of research I referred to. Of course most people will  say that they use a second screen "while watching TV" when the question is posed in a general, non program-specific  manner. But it does not translate to every time they watch or anything close to it. Such studies---and there seem to be millions of them--are used as propaganda to create the illusion that almost nobody watches TV commercials. If that were really true TV advertisers would know it as their sales would tank.

    As I mentioned, there are camera style measurements of eyes-on-screen activity  that show very clearly that an average second  of a TV commercial attracts eyes-on-screen attention about 20-25% of the time while approximately 40% of the "audience" watches the average commercial for two or more seconds. This means that a typical commercial viewer---or sampler---sees roughly 60% of its content and the corresponding figures for program content are higher. For those who are interested in this important subject, we cover it all in the latest edition of our major report on TV---"TV Dimensions 2021".

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