There's a lot of debate about the value of television in today's creative culture. Does it work? Do we need it in our creative portfolios? Does it even fit into an evolving digital world?
And when we're talking about creating TV spots, there's this dichotomy. Either you think TV is the whole point of advertising and digital is a waste of time, or you think digital is the future and TV is outdated.
Just like with everything, the answer's not simple. But it is, to me at least, clear. TV works. It works, until it doesn't.
And in the meantime, you may be missing out.
You're Leaving 90% on the Table
After working in the industry for a while now, I've realized that every form of advertising works. I mean, literally every form. TV, billboards, print, radio, Instagram, Snapchat, banners, fliers, promotional notepads. Put enough money behind it, enough time, enough resources, and it'll work.
So, the question isn't whether it works or not. The question is if it's worth it.
And when it comes to your career, it gets questionable.
The rule of thumb is whatever you have in your portfolio is the kind of work you're saying you can do (or want to do). So, if you're putting all your eggs in the TV basket, then go for it. Fill your book with spots.
But only understanding how one medium works? That means you're ignoring 90% of the other mediums out there. Which means you’re leaving 90% of the opportunities to create on the table. Which means you’re leaving 90% of the jobs on the table.
By the way, pro tip - if you think executing (executing, not ideating) for TV is the same as on Insta, or Snap, or Facebook, then you have no idea how to do it right. And the people hiring are very quickly realizing that, too.
Agencies, In-House, and Consultancies
If you only understand how to create print and TV advertising, then you’re limiting your career to large brands and large agencies. They're expensive mediums, relatively. When you can put a million dollars towards a TV buy that gets you the same eyeballs as a $100,000 social buy, large brands are the only ones that even consider it. And large brands work with large agencies.
But put your ear to the ground. Talk to anyone in the agency world. The market just isn't what it used to be. And thinking the only path for a creative is the large-agency route is archaic.
A decade ago, working in-house was the kiss of death for creatives. Now, with the rise of mega-brands like Facebook, Apple, Google, Netflix, and tons of others developing great creative in-house, agency folks are clamoring to get in there.
Then you have consultancies, the monsters that are slowly, but surely, eating up the non-TV advertising work. Agencies are turning a blind eye because all they want to do is create "films," but they forget the rest of the business. And in the future, boutique agencies with that specialization will take on that work, while consultancies take everything else.
And speaking of boutique agencies, there are hundreds of shops popping up. And guess what they don't do: television.
Major advertising agencies and major brands are still going to be around. They'll adapt, probably shrink a bit. But there are, and will be, many more job opportunities for creatives in areas where people aren't spending hundreds of millions of dollars on television. So, you need to understand how to create on different platforms.
There's No Debate
To me, there's not much of a debate. TV works, if you want to spend the money that way. And more and more brands aren't seeing the need to.
But brands are getting frugal. Agencies are losing steam. And job opportunities are growing in uncommon areas.
So, the question is: when you're building your career, do you really want to leave anything on the table?