When to Use 15-second Commercials in Your Local Media Campaign

local media strategy

The use of 15-second spots has increased in recent years as advertisers search for effective ways to cut costs, while still achieving their local media objectives.

There are three standard television commercial lengths: 30-seconds (:30), 15-seconds (:15) and 10-seconds (:10).  While :30’s are the most common television unit, :15’s are gaining in popularity with clients.  Keep in mind, :15’s may not be the best fit for all clients and all messages.

Here are 3 effective ways to use :15 spots in your local media campaign:

1. Reinforcement

Consider using the :15 spot as a reinforcement of your :30 message.  Many times a strategic mix of :30’s and :15’s can be a good way to reinforce the most important part of your :30 message.

By running a higher percentage of :30’s early in your flight, or “front-loading,” it gives your customers time to understand your message, as you increase the percentage of :15’s later in the flight as a reinforcement.

With the cost of a :15 commercial around 65% of the cost of a :30, this will free up valuable dollars you can invest back into the campaign to increase the number of times the message is heard.

2.  Reminder

The ideal use of :15 messages is for well-established brands in less competitive categories.  When your brand is very recognizable, you may not require an extensive message for people to understand your product.

If your brand has high unaided awareness, you might consider using a :15 spot as a stand-alone message that quickly reminds your customers of an important product or sale.

The use of “bookend” :15’s is also a strategy that can work well as a reminder message, if you have two different pieces of creative that are related.

A “bookend” will secure your message at the beginning and end of the commercial break.  The cost is the same as running one :30 commercial.

3. Increase Frequency

One of the most important benefits of using :15 spots is the ability to increase the number of times the message is heard or “frequency” of the message.

Research has proven, people need to hear or see a message at least 3 times before they will react on it.    With the cost savings associated with 15-second spots, you are able to increase the number of times the message is heard by potential customers.


Linda Thomas

About Linda Thomas

Linda is the Director of Media Services at Sheehy+Associates, a regional advertising, marketing and media agency. With over 25 years in the industry, there isn¹t much she hasn¹t seen or done with regard to media planning and placement on a local, regional or national level.

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