TV commercials are the most common, but also one of the most expensive forms of advertising. They vary from very annoying, like the Zalando delivery boy commercial, to the very funny Sinterklaas commercials. Both types seem to work.

However, when thinking about all the commercials that have really appealed to you in your whole life, it is very likely you can come up with a maximum of 15 commercials, of which you may only remember half of the actual brands that were promoted in that commercial.

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Do benefits outweigh the costs?

More and more, I am wondering if TV commercials can still be considered effective or efficient. Do their benefits still outweigh their relatively high costs?

Of course, people are still encountering a tremendous brand and sales rise after the broadcast of a commercial. However, more and more people are watching on-demand television now, where we can fast-forward the program any time we want.

And the rise of Netflix and other popular paid digital TV services are not really stimulating us to watch commercials.

Local television stations typically charge $200 to $1,500 for a 30-second commercial. National commercials produced by an advertising agency cost far more, averaging $342,000 for a 30-second spot in 2008, according to the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

In extreme cases, for example during Super Bowl, companies have to pay an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot.



Cheaper (and better?) alternatives

With social media platforms like Facebook, companies can even advertise for free to their own followers! And when spreading their message to non-followers, they pay still way less than for an average TV ad.

Another advantage of Facebook is that ads can be targeted to the right audience very easily. When you look for a flight to Barcelona, chances are very high that you are confronted with KLM ads about flights to Barcelona the next coming days. And honestly, for me this really works out: I am being remembered that I still need to book that flight – so let’s visit the KLM website!

Also other online websites make increasingly use of online paid advertising. Even though lots of people use ad-blockers, which harm the effectiveness of these ads, the reach is still very high. So, let’s use online advertising instead of old-fashioned TV commercials…

… you might think.
But, results from a research study by TechnologyAdvice and Unbounce suggest that online advertising is worthless as 38% of respondents said they don’t pay attention to ads online and 79% stated that they almost never click on online ads.

More surprisingly: 90% of the respondents said they never made any purchase commitment after clicking on an ad.

This doesn’t mean paid media is dead, but rather that there is room for improvement. Marketers should focus on more relevant messages addressed to the right target audience.



TV still makes the race

With competition from Netflix & Co. as well as online advertising, the television industry has undergone seismic changes over the last five years.

But one thing has remained constant: TV is still by far the most effective advertising medium. That’s at least what we can say anno 2016.

On average, the general population spends over four and a half hours a day in front of the tube, making TV watching one of the most common modern leisure activities. So, it is not a surprise that television commercials are still the most powerful form of advertising.

But what about 2026? Will it be the same, or will we all replace the regular TV with the most modern, who knows whatever form of media by that time? I think that we cannot predict anything yet and just have to see what the future will bring us.


Guest article by Nicoline Russel

Advertisements are everywhere. It’s not an exaggeration when I say that wherever we look, we see ads. Product placement is an awesome example of exactly that: even while giving into our Netflix addiction or while watching your favourite TV show on the actual TV (oldschool, I know), we are getting brainwashed by commerce. Now, product placement is not a new phenomenon, but the tactics are getting sneakier and sneakier every day. Let’s look at what product placement does with us, and some awesome examples.

What is product placement, and why does it work?

I learned something in class once that stuck with me: imagine being in a café and having a conversation with someone, and totally focussing on what they are saying. Suddenly we hear our name being mentioned in a conversation that is not yours- it’s across the room. Immediately our focus is shifted and we are listening to that other conversation. How is it that we could focus on one conversation, yet still pick up signs from another? Well, that’s because our brain picks up pretty much everything that goes on around us. So even though you think you are only receiving information from one conversation, your brain is programmed to listen to everything that goes on around you. When something striking happens near you, it just switches its attention to something else.

You’re probably asking yourself what in god’s name I am dragging on and on about. Well, it’s actually quite interesting that our brain processes everything that goes on around us. That means that the things we don’t consciously see, we actually do see – we just process them differently. And – like with every other tiny chance they get – marketers are playing with this feature of our head. It’s called product placement: the subtle placement of a product in something we like watching. So yes, that means that if you went to see Deadpool, you saw a little IKEA advertising (that one was not very subtle, but genius nonetheless), or when you watched modern family, you were being persuaded to try Oreo cookies. The brainwashing never stops!

deadpool                      IKEA’s product placement in Deadpool: a blind lady trying to understand the instructions. Photo credit:

It’s is absolutely genius though, when it’s done in the right (subtle!) way. Here are some awesome examples:

The good

Now, there are tons of examples of good product placements. To give you just a few:

  • Ford in New Girl
  • Coca-Cola in American Idol
  • Ray-Ban in Risky Business
  • Apple in Modern Family
  • Blackberry in House of Cards
oreo modern family                        Oreo in Modern Family. Photo credit: 

It is, however, more fun to look at the outstanding examples in more detail. So keep reading!

The better

The name is Bond – James bond. And he loves himself a Heineken. Not only Heineken, but also Aston Martin have been really clever product placements in the James Bond series. The Aston Martin has practically become THE care associated with James Bond – at least it has in my eyes. That means that if we like James Bond, we automatically also tend to love Aston Martin cars.

aston                        Photo credits:

Heineken took it a step further. Besides being mentioned in the movie, the brand actually designed a bunch of commercial in the James Bond theme – with Bond himself! That’s masterly.

The best

The absolute best product placement – in my opinion – was in back to the future. Nike and Pepsi both showed futuristic products that ruled the world until the actual future: 2015. Nike actually lived up to the challenge and launched their back to the future items, as did Pepsi! To me, that is what you call ultimate product placement. Genius!

pepsi nike

Photo credits:

A mindtwister

Lastly, a mindtwister for you guys. Now, this is one of my favourite commercials EVER, it’s just hilariously well thought-out. But is it product placement or not? It’s kind of a reversed situation: Volkwagen (a brand) is showing Star Wars references (a media production) in their ad. Hmm, confusing. What do you guys think? Let me know in a comment!

Author: Kim van der Vliet

The 50th Superbowl Sunday… the season finale is one of the most watched sports events of the year; every year. This year’s viewing rates aren’t released yet, but based on previous figures the estimated number of people watching, amounted to 117M. Due to an unfortunate series of events (i.e. living in the Netherlands, as opposed to the U.S., not subscribing an extended sports package, also not finding a good stream, and not wanting to stay up until 4am in the morning), I did not watch the game last night. I can’t say I’m that upset that I missed the match, because even though I lived in the States, I didn’t grow up getting (American) football drilled into childhood, so I lack the communal sentiment. I am, however, sad that I missed the show. And by that I mean the half-time program (sorry for the bad quality..), the legendary commercials, and the puppy-bowl.

The Superbowl has grown into one of the world’s best TV marketing events. During the breaks, the biggest brands showcase their new campaigns, trying to trump one another with humor. Which ones were the best this year? I just spent a lovely 1.5 hrs watching (and rewatching) this year’s TV commercials (all in the name of research, of course), and picked three that caught my eye.

The one for the women who don’t care about football but slaved in the kitchen to make snacks for everyone

Superbowl Sunday is something the whole house + neighbours + friends take part in; but what if not everyone likes football? You give them Ryan Reynolds; in many outfits and forms. In any marketing effort, it’s important to know your audience, and with this big football event, the audience doesn’t just consist of those who love football.

The one that’s based on hot-topic marketing, but isn’t really Superbowl Sunday material

Marketing, by personifying a company, is a road travelled within industries where brands experience difficulty differentiating from others. Taste is a sense that is challenging to sell with words and visuals. so brands try to give their product a human face (Aaker, 1997). In this Budweiser commercial Helen Mirren sells the beer as someone who cares about drinking responsibly. Despite a few weak attempts, the clip is not very funny. You would expect a beer brand (especially) to come up with something hysterical, but unfortunately Budweiser lagged behind. Maybe it’s because it’s so obvious what they’re trying to do here, or maybe it’s really just not that great, but in any case, it’s not very impressive attempt in a competitive environment like the superbowl.

The one with the most goodwill

Even though this commercial has a very clear target market (the 40-60 year old crowd), this speaks to a much bigger audience. The cute dachsund puppies (also called sausage dogs) are literally turned into hotdogs, as they run across an extremely green (but not even flower filled) field. Harry Nilsson’s ‘Without You’ gives the scene a hysterical twist, but also ties Heinz to nostalgic Generation X memories, as the ketchup family (yes; a family wearing Halloween costumes) tries to contain their excitement with very subtle facial expressions. This commercial really gets funnier every time I watch it. And, because either the (hot)dog or the (human) faces with surrounding Heinz bottle are always in the picture, the brand ensures that the viewer remembers what brand was linked to the funny broadcast, which can’t be said for many others.

A main takeaway here are that the commercial should resonate with your audience, which is more complex with such a big event. It should also be distinguishable to your brand, in between the large number of new and fun campaigns launched in the space of two hours. And lastly, it should fit the mood of the affair. I hope you enjoyed the ones that stood out to me / continue to watch others, because they are such an inspiration to us marketers, and also: it is a pretty fun (semi-responsible) way to procrastinate…

Written by: Susanne ten Brink


Aaker, J.L. (1997). Dimensions of brand personality. Journal of Marketing Research, 34, 347-356

Image Credits:
U.S. Department’s of Agriculture photostream via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Hello, its me
I’ve been wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
To go over, everything
They say that time’s supposed to heal ya
But I ain’t done much healing

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Let’s start today with a little anecdote. The inspiration for this blogpost came this weekend, when I played Adele’s ‘Hello’ on the piano. I have to confess, I am a big Adele fan. I love her. And I was curious about ‘Hello’ and how hard it would be to perform. At the moment Adele’s smashing hit from her album 25 has more than 1 billion views  on YouTube (for those of you that also need a visual: views),  which is absolutely insane, and breaks all kinds of records. So when I looked at the chords for this song a few days ago, I was astounded: this could not be right. Only 4 chords?! Okay maybe 1 or 2 more in the bridge, but that’s it.
How could such a simple song become such a hit? Is it brilliant in it’s simplicity (she would not be the first one)? Or is it the marketing? Let’s have a look at both sides of the story.

A 30 second clip to release the storm
The pro-marketing party states that the clever build up to the song caused the immens amount of hits on YouTube. The release date of the single was a well-kept secret and an unannounced teaser was aired during the commercial break on X-factor UK:

The crowd went wild. Their Adele was back, unannounced, and with her most emotional and powerful voice ever. The buzz around the release of the new album was enormous; fans had been waiting a long time for this new album, after complete silence from the singer for over 3 years. Adele does not do interviews, prefers to keep to private events and does not reveal much of her private life; her voice and the lyrics with the commercial were enough to create a hype. Additionally, there were also marketing

Beggars Group - Adele 25 "The New Album", GVB 2087, Lijn 14, Bos en Lommerweg, 15 november 2015. Foto: René van Lier.

Beggars Group – Adele 25 “The New Album”, GVB 2087, Lijn 14, Bos en Lommerweg, 15 november 2015. Foto: René van Lier.

expenses for offline exposure of the album, as the striking example of the ‘Adele tram’ here in Amsterdam illustrates:

Hello, it’ me…on a tram

Adele’s marketing team understood perfectly that, in order to match the number of sales of her last album ’21’ , the fanbase needed to be reengaged. The teaser was exactly enough to release the buzz storm online. The singer’s marketers did a great job by listening to the fan base and giving them exactly what they wanted: just Adele and her voice. Nothing more, nothing less.

Adele’s secret weapon
However, there is also the artistic side of the song. For example David Rees, of the Dave conservatoire state, said:

“Adele’s performances express a direct kind of emotional connection that her audience clearly loves. She has mastered a range of vocal colours and techniques, but cuts particularly through her long, held, higher notes – a key feature of both ‘Hello’ and ‘Rolling in the Deep’. This is, in our view, Adele’s secret weapon.”

The song is simple, yes, but does that mean that it is not art? In it’s simplicity it is also easily copied, covered and sang under the shower by the immense fanbase that Adele has build, which contributes to the virality of the music video. As David Rees states, the emotional connection that Adele has in here voice is something the audience clearly loves. So one could argue that the quality of the song in combination with Adele’s unique voice are the reasons behind the succes of ‘Hello’.

The question I want to raise today is: what do you think?
Are you with team marketing, and do you agree ‘Hello’s success is purely based on strategy, or are you with team musical skill, and do you think it is simply a beautiful song? OR could it possibly one of the most lovely marriages between art and marketing to this day?

I would love to hear your thoughts. To inspire you some more, here are some stils from the ‘Hello’ videoclip.

Enjoy 🙂





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We hope you successfully survived the first full work week of 2016!


We start off this new year by looking back at the rise of the white and yellow ghost: Snapchat. 2015 promised to become a big year for Snapchat and its possibilities for marketing. Today we will focus on Snapchat Stories, a feature that you should definitely integrate in your social media toolbox. It allows you to string snaps together to create a narrative within 24 hours. After 24 hours the stories disappear. Pretty easy, you would say. However, creating a Snapchat story for your brand is not as easy as you think.

The Facebook Poke Flop
When you compare your timeline nowadays with the one you had a year ago, one thing stands out: the shiny glimmering visual content. Today, brands have only a few seconds to catch our attention and visual content is the ultimate tool for doing so. At the end of 2014, Facebook jumped on the visual/video trend by making videos available on the platform, competing with YouTube (it is even possible now to have a video as a profile pic). After Facebook bought Instagram, they added another powerful visual platform to their ecosystem. After the failed attempt to buy Snapchat for 3 billion dollars, Facebook threatened to overthrow Snapchat with Facebook Poke, a nearly similar app, which flopped big time. Snapchat is currently the fastest growing app. According to E-Strategy Trends, Snapchat is stealing away Facebook users especially among the US Millennials (12-24 year olds).

10 years of content per hour
Snapchat is booming, especially for generation Y. It reaches out to over 100 million active users per day. These users create more than 400 million Snapchat stories per day.  It would take you 10 years to view all the photos shared on Snapchat in the last hour. More than 20,000 photos are shared every second. 45% of Snapchat users are aged between 18-24. To illustrate the success of Snapchat even further, watch the video below from Casey Neistat, who investigated how Snapchat murders Facebook for the new generation (source: Omniocracy).

Real vs. Perfect Stories
Where Instagram is always picture perfect and perfectly filtered, Snapchat owes its success to its ‘realness’ and ‘real-time reality’. Your Snapchat stories only stay available for 24 hours and your snaps for even less. Your product or brand needs to be suitable to show real/real-time stories, because snapping pictures from your office is not very sexy. Here are some dos and don’ts for your company’s Snapchat account:



  • Use Snapchat like your target group uses it
    To be able to do this, it is really worth it to invest time in getting to know the platform. Your Snapchat strategy will become much more effective.
  • Snap video’s or pictures that, preferably, last MAX 3 seconds within your story
    Blogger Frankie Greek puts it beautifully in her blog:

I’m serious about the leaving still images up too long thing. 3 seconds is the sweet spot (…) never longer than 7 seconds unless it’s a selfie of The Pope and Kylie Jenner.
Frankie Greek –

  • Post regularly
    Your content will disappear after 24 hours, which means that new followers do not have the possibilities to go through older content like they do on other social platforms.



  • Make your total story length too long.
    A story of 300 seconds will simply scare away users.
  • Create a random story
    A story needs to have a beginning, a middle and an end, even on Snapchat. When you are posting random snaps of the day without any obvious connection, your stories become boring and irrelevant.
  • Post content that was made in the past
    Snapchat is about now. Users do not want to see pictures of last week, they have Instagram or Facebook for that.


Do you want to get started with your brand’s Snapchat account? Some helpful tips can be found on Snapchat Support. And for some inspiration on creative Snapchat strategies you can visit: Snapchat Strategy.

Snappy New Year! 😉


Marjolein Tromp




It looks like science fiction. However, Amazon is very serious about their new project: Amazon Prime Air. In their new promo-video Jeremy Clarkson, yes the one from TopGear, reveals the new delivery system of the future; designed to deliver your package to your home in under 30 minutes. With more than 5 million views in less than 7 days, Amazon is on to something.


The Amazon Prime Air will work through unmanned drones that can fly distances of 10 miles or more (for the Dutch people, and people from most other countries in the world that do not use those silly imperial units,  that is 16km or more). The drones can carry packages up to 55 pounds (a little bit less than 25 kg). They can land in your backyard and drop the package off in the landing zone, which is provided by the customer in the form of a small square plate.

Of course it is a very handy system when your dog Steward just ate your daughter Milly’s football shoes, like Jeremy Clarkson shows in the video. However, delivery drones offer much more solutions. Amazon states that soon it will be just as normal to see drone traffic in the sky, as it is to see mail trucks on the road.

This groundbreaking new delivery system combined with the great English wit of Jeremy Clarkson, make this video a great marketing strategy of Amazon. They got the conversation started. I am very curious not if, but when this new technology will become reality, and how it will be adopted by the public.

Let’s only hope that when the time is there, your package will not get lost in a thunderstorm….

If you are interested to master the skill of controlling a drone, check out this website, where all the information is gathered in one place to get you started with all kinds of tips and tricks on the technical and legal side of flying a drone!


Marjolein Tromp

Edited: Marthijn Koenders