AMV BBDO's Cilla Snowball discusses TV advertising as a matter of life and death

Throughout September, Marketing will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of TV advertising in the UK with a series of articles penned by influential industry leaders. The aim is to explore where TV advertising is now and, more importantly, its future in a rapidly evolving media landscape. We continue with Cilla Snowball, group chairman and group chief executive at AMV BBDO

Back in 1998, AMV BBDO won the Department of Transport’s rear seat belt pitch. We had a ton of great ideas ready to run but the media plan wouldn’t work against the budget that was eventually assigned. A compromise was reached. We would run our campaign for one week only on TV , supported by outdoor and radio.

The client was brave to agree to the plan. But the ad was Julie, graphically demonstrating the consequences of an accident involving an unbelted rear seat passenger on the driver. It launched and the impact was immediate. The effect was instant. Wearing levels rose to record levels, in days. The ad itself went on to run over many years, at very low weight, and was exported to other countries where it had a similar transformative effect, winning awards and saving lives. It had a dramatic, profound and immediate impact.

TV advertising has had a similar effect on countless other public service campaigns over the years; the tobacco control, drink drive and stroke awareness campaigns would have gone nowhere without the power of TV advertising to inform, educate and drive mass societal change.

TV advertising on these projects has literally been a matter of life and death . And for countless businesses in the for profit sector too. Three decades of the IPA Effectiveness awards are testament to that impact and many single out the role of TV advertising in driving that effect.

The potential to engage with , personalise and evaluate TV advertising has never been stronger and its life- changing power never greater

And so it is today, when TV advertising has never been more affordable, flexible or profitable. Too often it gets labelled and dismissed as ‘traditional’ media when the weight of evidence points to a dynamic and vibrant ‘ new’ medium ,accessible on multi-screens you carry in your pocket and wear on your wrist, connecting ever more personally through programmatic, engaging ever more deeply emotionally and pushing boundaries and partnerships as new technologies come online.

The potential to engage with , personalise and evaluate TV advertising has never been stronger and its life- changing power never greater.

So we look back fondly and with pride on 60 years of TV advertising. But the past is for reference, not refuge. We look forward excitedly to the amazing new possibilities for TV advertising . And it has to be said it’s looking a very young 60 too.

Subscribe today for just $116 a year

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to , plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free