Producing a Commercial for CTV/Digital vs. Linear Distribution: A Creative Agency’s Perspective

A woman watching on a television

Advertising has undergone a profound transformation over the past few years. The rise of digital platforms has meant that advertisers face new opportunities, but also unique challenges. All of it comes from the emergence of a new distribution channel – Connected TV (CTV) – radically different from traditional linear TV.  This article delves into the […]

Advertising has undergone a profound transformation over the past few years. The rise of digital platforms has meant that advertisers face new opportunities, but also unique challenges. All of it comes from the emergence of a new distribution channel – Connected TV (CTV) – radically different from traditional linear TV. 

This article delves into the intricacies of producing commercials for each channel and explores how creative agencies adapt to this dynamic shift.

Evolution of Advertising in the Digital Age

Advertising has witnessed a seismic shift in recent years with the emergence of digital media and the proliferation of CTV platforms. As consumers increasingly turn to digital and on-demand content, advertisers must rethink their strategies for creating and distributing commercials. In contrast to the traditional linear distribution on television, producing commercials for CTV and digital platforms demands a fresh approach.

Rise of CTV and Digital Advertising

CTV and digital advertising have disrupted traditional television. CTV refers to televisions connected to the internet, which allow viewers to access content through streaming services. 

Digital advertising encompasses a broad spectrum of promotional material that includes video ads on websites, social media platforms, and mobile apps. These platforms offer advertisers unique advantages that set them apart from traditional linear TV.

Advantages of CTV/Digital Advertising

Let’s understand the most compelling advantages of Connected TV advertising. 

  • Targeted Reach: One of the most significant advantages of CTV and digital advertising is precise targeting. Advertisers can tailor their commercials to reach specific demographics, interests, and behaviors, ensuring their message resonates with the right audience.
  • Cost Efficiency: Producing and airing commercials on CTV and digital platforms can be more cost-effective than traditional linear TV. Advertisers can allocate their budgets more efficiently to reach a broader audience without the exorbitant costs associated with prime-time television slots.
  • Flexibility and Creativity: CTV and digital platforms provide advertisers with creative freedom. Unlike the constraints of traditional 30-second TV spots, digital ads can vary in length and format, allowing for more engaging and interactive storytelling.
  • Real-time Data Insights: Digital advertising offers real-time analytics, providing advertisers with valuable data on the performance of their commercials. This data-driven approach enables adjustments to campaigns on the fly, optimizing their effectiveness.

Challenges of CTV/Digital Advertising

While CTV and digital advertising offer numerous benefits, they also present unique challenges for creative agencies.

  • Attention Span: Capturing and maintaining viewer attention can be particularly challenging in digital environments. Advertisers must craft compelling, concise, and visually striking commercials that take into account the countless distractions prevailing online.
  • Ad blocking: Ad-blocking software is prevalent in the digital space, hindering the reach of digital ads. Creative agencies must find innovative ways to engage viewers without falling victim to ad blockers.
  • Platform Diversity: CTV and digital advertising involve various platforms, each with unique technical requirements and specifications. Advertisers must adapt their commercials to fit various screen sizes, resolutions, and playback capabilities.
  • Competition: The digital landscape is fiercely competitive. Advertisers vie for the audience’s attention alongside many other content, making it crucial to stand out.

Producing Commercials for CTV/Digital Advertising

Producing a commercial for CTV and digital advertising involves a unique set of considerations. Let’s understand them in detail: 

  • Creative Flexibility: Creative agencies can experiment with different storytelling techniques, formats, and lengths. Commercials can range from short, impactful clips to longer narratives, depending on the platform and campaign objectives.
  • Interactive Elements: Interactive elements like clickable links or calls to action can be seamlessly integrated into digital commercials. Viewers can engage with the ad, providing a more immersive experience.
  • Mobile Optimization: Given the prevalence of mobile device usage, creative agencies must optimize commercials for various screen sizes and orientations to ensure a seamless viewing experience.
  • Data-Driven Insights: Creative agencies can continually harness real-time data insights to refine their commercials. They can assess viewer engagement, click-through rates, and conversion metrics, among others, to allow for data-driven improvements.

Producing a Commercial for Linear Distribution

While CTV and digital advertising offer creative freedom and targeted reach, traditional linear distribution on television remains a formidable platform. That is due to several factors: 

  • Mass Audience: Linear TV still commands a massive and diverse audience, making it ideal for broad brand exposure.
  • Cultural Impact: Iconic TV commercials have left a lasting cultural impact, ingrained in society’s collective memory.
  • Prime-time Advertising: Prime-time television slots provide access to millions of viewers during popular shows and events.

Challenges of Linear Distribution

Linear distribution presents its own set of challenges. Here are the most pressing ones: 

  • Cost: Airing commercials during prime-time slots on national TV can be prohibitively expensive for many advertisers.
  • Limited Targeting: Linear TV offers limited targeting options compared to CTV and digital advertising, making it less efficient for niche marketing.
  • Ad Skipping: Viewers often use digital video recorders (DVRs) to skip commercials, diminishing their impact.

Key Considerations for Creative Agencies

Creative agencies driven to thrive in the new TV-viewing landscape must navigate multiple considerations linked to CTV and linear distribution. Some of them are: 

  • Understanding the Audience: It is essential to grasp the preferences and behaviors of target audiences. For CTV and digital, this involves data analysis, while linear distribution may require demographic research.
  • Platform Expertise: Agencies must develop expertise in creating content tailored to the strengths and limitations of each platform.
  • Budget Allocation: Determining budget allocations between CTV/digital and linear distribution is crucial. A balanced approach may yield the best results.
  • Creative Adaptability: Creative agencies must adapt their storytelling techniques and formats to suit the platform, whether a short, engaging digital ad or a captivating linear TV commercial.

Navigating the Future of Advertising: Embracing Both Worlds

The choice between producing a commercial for CTV/digital or linear distribution is no longer binary. Creative agencies demand adaptability and innovation. While CTV and digital advertising offer precise targeting, cost efficiency, and creative freedom, linear distribution continues to provide access to broad audiences and opportunities for cultural impact. The future of advertising lies in the ability to harness the strengths of both worlds, delivering compelling messages to the right audience through the most effective channels.

Case Study: Blend’s Innovative Campaign for Midea

The ability to embrace technology and creative solutions is paramount in the current context. To illustrate the benefits of this approach, let us delve into a case study: Blend’s innovative campaign for Midea, a globally recognized household appliance brand.

Midea’s Ambitious North American Launch

Midea, a household name in many parts of the world, sought to introduce its Midea-branded home appliances to North American consumers. To achieve this ambitious goal, Blend assembled a team of seasoned creatives, crew members, and VFX artists with extensive experience in the industry.

The “Today…by Midea” Campaign

Blend’s campaign, titled “Today…by Midea,” focused on telling everyday household stories that showcased how Midea’s practical innovations brought tangible benefits to people’s lives. The campaign highlighted Midea’s innovative products and their capacity to simplify daily routines. Unlike traditional 30-second TV spots, Blend’s approach involved creating over 25 modular video content pieces, including OTT/streaming ads, social spots, product videos, and e-commerce videos.

Embracing Technological Advancements

Blend’s campaign for Midea perfectly illustrates the advantages of embracing technology in advertising. The agency produced a compelling and cost-effective campaign that resonated with audiences across various platforms by harnessing creative solutions and leveraging digital production techniques.

Achieving Cost Efficiency and Flexibility

One remarkable aspect of Blend’s approach was its ability to deliver a campaign worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for Midea without incurring the astronomical costs often associated with such endeavors. Blend’s nimble and flexible production process eliminated redundancies in pricing, resulting in significant cost savings for the client. This showcases the agency’s commitment to delivering value and demonstrates how embracing technology can lead to more efficient and cost-effective production.

The Blend Approach to Modern Advertising

Blend’s campaign for Midea is a testament to the power of creativity and technology in modern advertising. Blend produced a high-impact campaign that effectively reached its target audience by embracing technological advancements and eliminating unnecessary expenditures.

As digital and CTV/digital advertising becomes increasingly dominant, Blend’s success story with Midea offers valuable lessons. It demonstrates how a creative agency can leverage technology to produce compelling commercials that resonate with viewers and offer cost efficiency and flexibility.

Unlock the Power of Blend for Your Advertising Success

If you are ready to embark on a journey to create compelling and cost-effective commercials for both CTV/digital and linear distribution, Blend is here to guide you. Our experienced team will help you harness the power of technology and creativity to maximize the impact of your advertising campaigns.

At Blend, we are not just about creating commercials; we are about creating experiences that resonate with your audience. Whether it is for CTV/digital or linear distribution, our creative video agency is dedicated to helping you achieve your advertising goals. 

Contact us today for a consultation and revolutionize your advertising strategies