Thinkbox aims to show business impact of TV ads in Tooth Fairy campaign

The new campaign focuses on the role of TV advertising in business transformation for the first time, using a mythical character – the Tooth Fairy – and her struggles to grow her new business.

Thinkbox is “talking overtly” about the impact TV advertising can have on business growth for the first time in a new campaign that aims to convince marketers to keep investing in the medium.

The campaign will first air tomorrow (12 December) and features the struggles of the Tooth Fairy as she tries to build up her collections and deliveries business. The first work from new agency Mother London, it shows that while investment in word-of-mouth, paid search, social media and sales promotions might help grow a young business, eventually they will reach a point when they need to scale up – which is where TV comes in.

The ad ends with the line: “TV advertising. The results are legendary”.

This is the first time Thinkbox has spoken about the impact of TV advertising, rather than its benefits. Where previously, especially with its Harvey the dog series, it focused on running stories people cared about, it now wants to be more overt.

“Traditionally, we’ve not spoken overtly about TV advertising, we’ve spoken about the benefits of it,” Thinkbox’s marketing director Andrew MacGillivray tells Marketing Week. “The thinking was at the time that most people watching don’t really care, so let’s give them stories that pull at things they really care about where TV advertising has a positive role.

“Then we thought, can we find a way to talk more overtly about how TV advertising transforms business and drives growth? We have lots of research that does that, but what can we do to do that in an entertaining way.

“The challenge is how can we put a TV advertising and business growth story front and centre in a way marketing directors will say they recognise it and everyone else will say it’s a great, entertaining ad.”

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Given Thinkbox’s remit as the marketing body for TV advertising, it would seem both obvious and bizarre that it would advertise on TV. Clearly it wants to push its own medium, but equally its target audience is relatively narrow.

However, MacGillivray believes the wider public have a role to play in showing the impact TV advertising can have.

“We want to create positive conversations around TV advertising and the great British public do that better than anyone else,” he says.

“Although our primary target audience is anyone who has influence on advertising spend…the British public’s endorsement and affection for our TV ads is a great sound box for other advertisers to look at and say, ‘I’d like a piece of that’.”

This is an integrated campaign, however, so the ad will also run in social media, search, online display and Thinkbox’s own channels. There will also be a further push in the spring, while the characters from the ad will appear in other marketing communications.

“It works well for us the rest of the year. If we send out a booklet on econometrics, people might just push it aside, but if it’s got the Tooth Fairy’s face – it does all the things that a proper integrated campaign does – it fires up your memory, uses emotion. We use all our key advertising characters across our comms a lot for the rest of the year,” says MacGillivray.

Thinkbox will be measuring initial reaction to the ad from marketers and the public, as well as whether it drives up awareness and website visits. In the end, the campaign needs to generate more TV ad revenue for the body’s shareholders – Channel 4, ITV, Sky Media, Turner Broadcasting and UKTV.

“It gives us fame. It’s a fame and emotion campaign fundamentally, with a bit of B2B activation in it,” concludes MacGillivray

“We won’t single-handedly turn the macro-economic forces around. But it’s a big part of Thinkbox’s combined efforts – those enable our shareholders to generate more revenue for TV.”

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