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New Thinkbox study signals TV's influence over brand perception

24 Sep 2020  |  Mike Fletcher 
New Thinkbox study signals TV's influence over brand perception

Television advertising helps brands to be perceived as more popular and successful, according to research commissioned by Thinkbox.

The Signalling Success study by house 51, surveyed 3,600 people in the UK using the behavioural science principle of ‘signalling’.

Each respondent was presented with a description of a fictionalised brand in one of four product categories alongside a brief outline of its launch advertising campaign. The respondent was then asked to answer a series of perception statements in relation to this brand.

Half of all respondents rated brands that advertised on television as financially strong. The next best performing advertising channels at signalling financial strength were newspapers, magazines and radio, all at 32%.

30% rated brands advertising on TV as trusted to deliver on promises made, making TV the most trustworthy medium, just ahead of magazines (29%) and radio (28%).

Some 50% of respondents also rated TV advertising as demonstrating that lots of people were buying the brand, compared with 24% for social media and 29% for video sharing sites.

43% rated brands advertising on TV as being successful, slightly ahead of magazines at 41%. Social media and video sharing sites are least likely to signal brand success at 32% and 31% respectively.

Only 19% perceived brands advertising on social media as ‘high quality’. This compared with video sharing sites at 22% and the top performing medium, TV, at 43%.

The perception scores varied across brand categories and age groups, but television consistently delivered the most powerful signals.

Matt Hill, research and planning director at Thinkbox said: “The ‘as seen on TV’ effect is a widely used phrase to describe the ability of TV to deliver positive brand signals; if you’re advertising on TV, then you must be a high quality, widely used and trustworthy brand.

"This simple, but powerful study finally provides concrete evidence of the superior signalling ability of TV and offers a huge amount of depth to our understanding of how signalling works across different media channels, categories and audiences.”

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NickDrew, CEO, Fuse Insights on 7 Oct 2020
“What's most intriguing about this great write-up is that it points to more interesting analysis to be done. Objectively speaking, one could suggest that the financial strength attribute is a function of the perceived cost to advertise on each medium (TV is most expensive, print next, then radio and digital). More importantly, it could be surmised that trustworthiness and success then stem from that perception of financial strength - an affluent brand is a successful one, after all.
So while it wouldn't be in Thinkbox's interests to do so, I'd love to see more detailed analysis with a different focus (ie not using the medium as the control variable) of how the different attributes inter-relate and predict each other in respondents' brand perceptions.”