Ad Industry Makes TV Debut

As the ad industry grapples with its biggest revenue decline in a decade, one industry organization will promote the value of advertising for the first time on television.

Two 15-second spots in the American Adver tising Federation’s pro bono campaign aim to make corporate executives responsible for ad budgets more aware of advertising’s importance to the bottom line. The spots, created by Carmichael Lynch, will break in the next few weeks on network and cable, including CBS and ESPN. The work represents the equivalent of about $20 million in donated media.

The first spot opens with a black screen and the words, “A secret formula revealed.” The music to “It’s the Real Thing” plays as a Coke bottle slowly appears, revealing the words “Enjoy advertising” on the label. The tagline is, “Advertising. The way great brands get to be great brands.”

The second spot uses the Intel logo’s styling, with the word “advertising” appearing on a Pentium 4 computer. Copy reads, “It’s what makes computers more powerful.”

“The companies behind leading brands like Coca-Cola or Intel recognize that advertising dollars translate into increased market share, profitability and customer loyalty,” said Wally Snyder, AAF president.

The execution is similar to an AAF print campaign done with Coca-Cola, Sunkist and Energizer that broke in October 2000. That effort prompted one network executive to approach AAF about the possibility of bringing the campaign to TV. “We responded by saying, ‘You have the audience we want to reach, so you give us the time, and we will create the commercial,’ ” said AAF representative Mary Hil ton.

“The challenge was to move a concept born in print to television,” said John Colasanti, president and managing partner at CL. “We stuck to the basic premise that advertising is what built these brands, and continued to rely on the visual twist juxtaposing the name of the brand with the word ‘advertising.’ “

The TV spots mainly differ from the print in that viewers don’t see the entire image at once. “We wanted to build in a little intrigue but still maintain the simplicity and elegance that made the print so strong,” Colasanti said.