50 Years of Fame: Brands that TV built

The TV platform's ability to launch brands remains undiminished, despite changing viewing habits, writes Clare Goff.

Television advertising has come under increased pressure during the past five years. Most terrestrial channels can no longer command the mass audiences of the past because viewing habits are fragmenting among the increasing number of digital channels. At the same time, brands are being offered an ever wider choice of media options.

The launch of personal video recorders has triggered a debate about the way TV is viewed, and numerous reports have claimed that once they become widespread the spot ad will be less effective.

Brands have shifted adspend accordingly, ploughing money into online and outdoor. However, while some may argue that brands can be launched and sustained by other media, the fact remains that TV is the platform on which brands are built. It continues to offer both mass and reach and, as the 118 118 campaign has demonstrated, provides a highly effective springboard for a powerful, layered, multimedia campaign. This is why TV's share of advertising remains robust.


Carlsberg has used TV as its lead medium since the brand's UK launch more than 30 years ago and currently spends between £15m and £20m each year on TV advertising for its three core brands, Tetley, Export and Carlsberg.

Three-quarters of its TV spend goes on ITV and its old 'Probably the best ...' campaign built up 99% awareness among the UK public.

The brand is heavily involved in football and has expanded its TV exposure via sponsorship of the England football team and European tournaments.


Morrisons has upped the ante in terms of its use of TV advertising.

The trigger for increased investment has been a move out of its north of England heartland with the takeover of Safeway, as well as the increased ferocity of supermarket price wars.

Initially the chain used the medium solely for product and price-tactical promotions, but in 2000 it moved into brand-building, using its staff in commercials that focused on quality and price. This has seen its investment in TV more than double to £15m in 2004.


The chief executive of brewer Scottish & Newcastle, Tony Froggatt, came under fire recently for upping adspend on key products such as John Smith's, but the brand has a track record in building awareness on TV since 1979.

It was originally advertised with two different executions - one for northerners and the other for southerners - and its first national campaign did not run until 1991.

The brand has used comedians such as Jack Dee and Peter Kay to promote its 'No-nonsense' message.

118 118

For a launch, TV is a vital medium to build brand awareness quickly, and there is no better recent example of this than the launch of directory enquiries service 118 118.

The brand achieved fame with its two identikit 70s runners, who made their debut in 2003 and captured the imagination of the public to such an extent that they were taken on the road to meet their fans.

Sixty per cent of the brand's initial budget went on TV and the medium still accounts for the major chunk of its spend, amounting to £7m in 2004.


Marmite began advertising on ITV in the 50s and the Unilever brand still spends more than 90% of its budget on TV. In the mid-90s the brand's Love/Hate campaign led to a rise in awareness and sales, and since then Marmite has had an average 5% annual sales growth rate, with returns from the ads estimated to be £47m.

During 2002, Marmite's TV ads generated double-digit sales growth. Millward Brown research indicates that those ads have been three times more effective than other forms of advertising.


Mobile phones are now becoming television platforms themselves but it was traditional TV that brought Orange to a mass audience back in 1994.

Its 'The future's bright, the future's Orange' campaign built the brand's identity and created a powerhouse that was capable of taking on BT Cellnet, Mercury One 2 One and Vodafone.

More recently its 'Wise man' campaign has shown how TV, more than any other medium, can affect popular culture, spawning webpages and the catchphrase 'vanished, like a wrinkly ninja'.


Capital One first advertised on TV in 2002 and has become a major spender, investing nearly £12m in the medium in 2004. As a US brand entering the competitive UK credit card market it has used TV to build both brand awareness and differentiate its offer.

Last year it ran a TV campaign featuring impressionist Alistair McGowan, which promoted Capital One as the first credit card to offer free Identity Theft Assistance. The campaign used TV to establish a clear point of difference in a sector that is generally rate-driven.


Audi has won praise for its TV campaigns with the tagline 'Vorsprung durch Technik'. An estimated 85% of the UK population are aware of the phrase and the company reintroduced the slogan at the heart of its advertising last year.

The brand still embraces TV, spending £18m on the medium in 2004, and has trebled its UK sales during the past 10 years.

Recent ads helped create a buzz around an already cool brand, with the 2003 A4 FSI campaign showing the vehicle driving on roads alongside car-sized, gasping fish.


Although Virgin Atlantic's greatest promotional asset is Richard Branson, TV has played a significant part in turning what was widely considered an upstart airline into British Airways' most popular rival.

The brand's TV activity was launched in 1984, and recent TV work from the airline has focused on the appealing environment offered to travellers in its revamped Upper Class Suite offer.

It spends £5m on TV, which has underlined the move from being a challenger brand to major UK operator.


Lloyds was named most trusted bank brand in Marketing's 2005 survey, with 95% of respondents from 14 European countries saying that they would use it.

Heavy investment in TV - £67m in 2003 - has helped the brand stay front-of-mind with the consistent use of its black horse icon, in a sector that can seem homogenous.

In 2001 the brand used celebrities such as Cat Deeley and Frankie Dettori to promote its customer services and portray itself as a sympathetic and understanding bank.


Unilever's Lynx deodorant has used TV to bring alive the brand's promise of contact with the opposite sex to a young male target audience.

TV spend has supported a succession of variants as the 'Lynx effect' is communicated to each new generation, and this has kept the brand as the number one in its sector. TV budgets have also grown, up from £10m in 2002 to £16m in 2004.

A recent TV campaign, 'Spray more, get more', shows what can happen when men spray Lynx in unexpected places.


Historically not always convinced of TV's marketing power, Dixons took an eight-year break from the medium in the 90s, returning in 2000 with a campaign that focused on its global buying power.

A radical departure from its price-based print ads, the campaign allowed Dixons to push a branding message in a price-driven market. It spent in the region of £13m on TV advertising in 2004.

In January Dixons attributed a 3% increase in like-for-like sales to a refit programme and its 'Future for less' campaign.


Tango began advertising on TV in 1991, and its 'You know when you've been Tango'd' campaign helped the brand to become Britain's number one drink in its sector.

Throughout the years, TV has maintained Tango's front-of-mind brand presence in its target audiences, and the irreverent and popular ads have enabled it to stand out from the competition.

Earlier this year the brand used TV to launch Tango Clear, a drink that contains no added sugar, to appeal to a young female market.


The biggest cancer charity and one of the best-known charity brands in the UK, CRUK was formed through a merger of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the Cancer Research Campaign in 2002. In that year the charity spent almost £15m on TV advertising.

It uses TV primarily to drive donor generation and build awareness. The medium played a key part in its 'All clear' campaign, launched in 2004.

Brand recall during the campaign shifted from 7% to 17%, with TV response 15% above target.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message