Written by Izzy Cheung, Account Manager

Ben Lester and I were lucky enough to attend The Big TV Festival 2020 from 4-6th March in Sherwood Forest. The event, which is now in its third year, is a collaboration between the three main broadcasters; ITV, Channel 4 and Sky.

The two-day festival was aimed at media planners and client leads in order to educate about the myriad of benefits of TV advertising. As client leads with predominantly digital (myself) and print /out of home (Ben) backgrounds, we found the event extremely useful and informative. Essentially, it gave attendees a crash course in TV but in a fun and engaging way.

Over the course of the one and a half days (with a party in between!), there were 11 talks, hosted by the lovely Georgia Toffolo of Made In Chelsea /I’m a Celeb fame and Kem Cetinay from Love Island.

We’re going to delve into the key themes we took away from the festival below.

Izzy and Ben arriving at The Big TV Festival 2020

TV content is evolving

The last couple of years has seen the advent of high-quality original TV series from streaming services such as the likes of The Crown from Netflix and The Man in the High Castle from Amazon Prime. Traditional movie stars are now frequently gracing the small screen as we’ve seen with A-listers Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon on HBO’s Big Little Lies and Jennifer Aniston on The Morning Show for Apple TV+.

Now more than ever before, broadcasters are having to keep pace and match the investment being made into original productions and as a result, TV shows have never been so broad both in terms of cast and genres, from Killing Eve and Fleabag to the surprise hit Chernobyl.

TV is the biggest driver of emotional response

Simon Dalglish, Group Commercial Director at ITV, gave a brilliant talk on The Power of TV. He explained that human emotions are the key driver of everything we do. So much so that TV can, in fact, drive societal change as it provokes such strong emotions in viewers.

TV is both a mirror and magnifier of real-life

Simon Dalglish

Channel 4’s ‘We’re The Superhumans’ trailer for the Paralympic games completely turned what it means to be disabled on its head and challenged conventional stereotypes of athleticism. Whilst ‘This Girl Can’ by Sport England changed the way women were portrayed and drove over 2 million women to become more active.

Simon Daglish, ITV

TV can build fame and long-term sales growth

Matt Hill, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox, then talked to us about the effectiveness of TV. Matt referenced the well-known Binet & Field (2016) paper which talks about advertising driving short or long-term sales.

As advertisers, we want to create brands that sit in our audience’s subconscious. As a channel, TV has one of the highest reaches and therefore is well placed as a channel to brand build by driving an emotional connection, which in turn can lead to long term sales growth. Nielsen reports that ads with emotional response drive a 23% uplift in sales!

Incidentally, a later talk by Orlando Wood talked about how brands are increasingly moving away from storytelling creative. Stories are more likely to engage with the right side of our brain which drives emotional response. Is it pure coincidence that the shift towards left brain (more abstract) creative is in line with a fall in advertising effectiveness?

TV is not just for big or offline brands

Hosts Georgia Toffolo and Kem Centinay

TV advertising is now more accessible than ever before and is not restricted to just brands with big media budgets. With the dawn of addressable TV, even your local car dealer can afford to advertise by targeting ads to have more relevance and impact with a precise audience. We heard from a panel of start-ups including Eve Sleep and Habito.

Equally many digital-first brands need to include TV on their media plans to effectively drive growth. Think Jet2, Netflix, eHarmony, Microsoft Teams.

In summary, we found the two-day event a really useful introduction into all things TV, but we were also exposed to some deep dives into harnessing the power of the channel, with a range of talks and opinions. We especially liked that The Big TV Festival was created by a collaboration between TV’s main broadcasters, demonstrating that sometimes working together is more beneficial to the industry than just pure competition.

Izzy Cheung with Kem Cetinay and Georgia Toffolo

Did you even attend a TV festival if you didn’t get a selfie with a celebrity?

If you would like to discuss how to harness the power of TV with one of our experts, just drop us a line at enquiries@wavemakernorth.co.uk.