6 Alternatives to TV Advertising

Published: August 2011

Thinking outside the Box

When X Factor returned to our screen as well as the music moguls raking it in, it gave the TV big-wigs an excuse to rub their hands together at the thought of this year’s advertising charges (which emptied the wallet at £250,000 per advert in the 2010 final).

So with more noise and competition in the marketplace than ever before, advertisers around the UK are being challenged to do ‘something different’ with their budgets. If you don’t have the advertising budget of TalkTalk, Waitrose, BT, Apple or Nintendo, or decide against being one of the 96 commercials squeezed into 4 hours of prime time ITV, then read on for Urban Rivers 6 Alternatives to TV advertising.

What could you get for the airtime price-tag of 2 seconds (aka £16,000)?

The Creative

An overall campaign (including creative and design across all forms of media) ensures consistency and if advertising isn’t your business’ forte; it is the best option to guarantee results.

One of the advertisers during The X Factor final

One of the advertisers during The X Factor final


To advertise in the Metro you will be charged per square centimetre if your business wants a colour advert in the Newcastle edition. Whereas nationally, the prices range from £779  for a 50mm by 35mm colour ad (mono £620) to £14,956 for a 240mm by 151mm colour ad (mono £11,904).

This is all well-and-good if you want to reach a broad audience but consider targeting specific markets via their reading habits; i.e. niche magazines.


The design, production and print of 200 bus passenger panels and 35 street liners over an 8 week period will cost you close to your £16,000 budget. The bonus of buses is unless an advertiser wants to take over your space immediately after your allotted time ends, your ad could be still on there for free afterwards.

For those on a tighter budget, the design and print of open event posters and exhibition stands are a cheap way of getting in front of your target market and can be re-used which also saves time and money.


A series of plays of your 30 second advert on the radio may also get expensive depending on your station choice, length of campaign and time of play as prices differ between breakfast, morning, afternoon, drive-time and evening play slots. Do bear in mind that production of a selection of ads is not included in your quote.

To produce a 30 second video clip (with props, actors, editing, etc.) may seem expensive at first but can feature on your website, be shared on social media and uploaded to your YouTube channel for example, so make sure you know where to post it so as many of your potential customers see it as possible.


Cinema media buying including certification and 1470 screenings over 7 weeks (in 6 screens) will cost £13,000+. It may also seem costly but this is a great way to target a specific audience depending on the film.


We’re obviously not suggesting David Beckham should promote your insurance firm, but think very carefully about what you want your celebrity to say about your business; they need to be trusted by your market, but also share the values of your brand. If you do a lot of work in a specific region; use a local hero or well-known member of the community. If you have a technical or niche product; your big-name client will be known by the industry on the whole so use this to your advantage.

Do you want your endorser to be a role model, be known for achievements outside their profession, be physically attractive, have unique skills, a likeable personality or be known for what they have achieved within their industry?


Designing an online banner isn’t very expensive considering the number of people who will see it. The final banner costs will increase depending on site traffic/popularity, where it features on the page; whether it is featured on a rotation basis (e.g. every 4th visitor may see your banner) and demand of the ad space. Online marketing may also take the form of social media and pay per click (PPC) advertising which delivers measurable results whatever your budget.


If your company has adopted web banners previously, then an application banner is the next logical step. In general, these ads run at about 3-18p per click and an ad campaign can be kicked off with as little as £40. However, AdMob offer a limited amount of targeting, such as device, demographic and location. A realistic click rate can run at 1% or lower, so it’s important to keep this in mind when budgeting.

But are they your target audience?

Of course it is always wise to promote your brand; and when your products and services are needed you will be top-of-mind. But as we presume your company is after some hard-earned cash as a result of this investment, make sure you’re aiming your message at those key decision makers who will ensure you get the best ROI possible.

A selection of Apps which your banner advert could feature in

A selection of Apps which your banner advert could feature in

We have created a number of campaigns for our clients which use a combination of these media – view our campaign portfolio to see how a variety of marketing communications tools work seamlessly together to create maximum impact.

Want a website that really get results?

Let's get started

Sign up to receive our latest articles hot off the press