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Stay tuned to see if bumper TV ad campaign delivers for broker Habito – analysis

by: Chris Menon
  • 12/09/2017
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The launch of online mortgage broker Habito’s regional TV ad campaign on ITV Meridian for one month puts the spotlight on the medium as a means to garner increased business for mortgage brokers.

The regional campaign will last for one month and be very high profile: there will be a spot on the X Factor this Saturday night and during Victoria on Sunday evening. From January 2018 it will be run nationally. 

Habito declined to reveal how much the advertising campaign is costing the company, nor would it proffer lead generation or customer acquisition targets. A spokesperson said: “The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness. We want to build the UK’s biggest and best-loved mortgage brand. The aim of our launch campaign is to educate consumers that there’s a new way to get the best possible mortgage deal – through a process that’s entirely online, powered by human experts and free.”

As to how it will measure success or return on investment, the spokesperson explained: “In terms of tracking, we have conducted a pre-launch brand awareness survey and will follow the campaign with another survey to measure the impact of the ad. We’ll also closely monitor the conversion of traffic to successful mortgage applications.”

Broker reaction

John Charcol ran a national TV advertising campaign in 2000 when owned by Bradford & Bingley, prior to the latter’s flotation. Ray Boulger senior technical manager at John Charcol said: “It was connected with the IPO, otherwise I doubt whether it would have been justified in terms of cost, although it did generate enquiries and brand recognition.”

He added: “We also had a radio campaign on Classic FM shortly before that. For years afterwards when we questioned people how they had heard of us, they referred to that radio campaign. Radio is a lot more effective in terms of cost per enquiry.”

London & Country ran a large TV advertising campaign, from January to June this year. David Hollingworth, its associate director of communications, explained that the effect was immediate: “The results were stark in that as soon as the ads hit the screen we could see an increase in enquiry levels.  The awareness of the advert also grew with time, as the campaign continued and the reach of the ad grew.” 

Still, he stressed the importance of online advertising: “TV has certainly been a success but online advertising is a crucial area in today’s marketing mix, both as a standalone method but also in helping augment other activity including television.”

TV Advertising

Mark Baldock, associate director broadcasts at The Specialist Works, a media agency focused on TV advertising, stressed the potential impact a TV ad campaign can have. “All ad exposure is good. TV is the most powerful medium. There is a reason for the millions of pounds spent by big brands.

“When planning a TV campaign, we consider the coverage of our target audience. When driving responses, we look at high frequency of low cost spots every day, but when driving brand awareness, we look at larger efficient rating spots on popular TV shows.”

In terms of measuring the impact of such advertising, he explained: “There are multiple Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure. The coverage of your target audience is one, responses to a unique telephone number or web address is another. At The Specialist Works we use our own attribution software that allows us to track many aspects of a TV campaign’s performance.

“For a mortgage brand, I imagine that responses are still one of the main KPIs we would track and analyse at a granular level to ascertain good response volumes, but also strong conversion rates.”

Of course, the creative element is ultimately key to the success of any television advertising campaign as Baldock acknowledged: “The creative is where the brand can fall down. The best laid plans are futile if the messaging does not resonate with the brand’s target audience.

“Simple is always effective with direct response campaigns. Quirkiness with brand awareness campaigns assists brand recall, but it still requires an obvious message or call to action,” he added.

Clearly, Habito’s TV ad campaign will have to deliver more than eyeballs if it is to bring success to the brand. Stay tuned.

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