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Silicon Valley Advertising Embraces TV

May 14th, 2019   ||    by Callie Wheeler

What would you assume the world of Silicon Valley advertising values? Your guess would probably be largely digital—social media, display ads, native advertising—with some PR stunts or The New York Times coverage thrown in for good measure.

But increasingly we’re seeing Silicon Valley’s brands leverage television advertising, proving yet again the channel’s value as a premier destination for leading and growing companies. There are two primary reasons these brands are flocking to television.

Reason One: Validation

Silicon Valley venture capital often leads investments in brands disrupting traditional industries, from razor start-up Billie to men’s wellness start-up Hims. These and other privately held brands often start online and invest heavily in a social media presence and online communities, such as newly minted “unicorn” Glossier. A recent Forbes profile detailed the brand’s rise with nary a mention of television advertising.

Once brands reach a tipping point, though, we’re seeing them turn to television. In an interview with TechCrunch, Bullish co-founder Mike Duda explained why Hims turned to television advertising during March Madness: “TV works. That’s why you see companies that reach a certain size go to TV; it’s like some sort of validation that this [is] a real company. TV is a storefront for companies that may not have one.”

Reason Two: Accountability

With a Super Bowl ad, we saw Silicon Valley brand Airbnb turning to television advertising’s biggest day for brand exposure. As The Drum pointed out, their foray into the big game was simply an indicator of the broader trend; brands like Uber, Slack, and Warby Parker have all invested in television campaigns. And the reason for increased interest in TV may come as a surprise: accountability not offered by digital advertising.

With television, these brands are leveraging brand response TV. It combines the reach and prestige of brand marketing with the accountability promised by direct response. When brands create television campaigns with clear calls to action, they can measure the ROI generated by television.

Leveraging TV for Your Brand

This Silicon Valley advertising trend isn’t limited to VC-backed brands or California companies; the concepts can be applied to any growing brand. Consider these three lessons we can learn from the trend:

  1. Use TV advertising to reach new audiences. These brands often turn to TV once they’ve grown their online presence and want to tap into new potential.
  2. Create a clear objective for your ads. By including a call to action with measurable ROI, you can track the value of your investment and continue to optimize your advertising strategy.
  3. Don’t be afraid to start local. While these examples are national, your local broadcaster can help you launch your brand on TV regionally.
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