traditional advertising

“Traditional advertising is dead”. We’ve all heard it before, but apparently, it’s been “dying” since the internet first came on the scene back in the early ’90s… Yet here we are, 2021, and traditional advertising is still going strong.

The term traditional advertising can apply to both the medium as well as the method of advertising. This causes a bit of confusion when it comes to a formal definition. By one standard “traditional” advertising refers to what the ad message says i.e a direct message that tries to get a user to buy. The well-known definition refers to the medium of the ad, such as TV commercials, Radio Ads, Billboards, and Print Ads.

This blog post will delve into the idea that traditional advertising is alive, and still a useful advertising tactic for businesses of all sizes.


The world’s first television commercial aired on July 1, 1941, during a game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies. It lasted only 10 seconds and aired on a local channel in New York called WNBT.

We’re all familiar with commercials and have experienced 100s of thousands in our lifetime, both good and bad. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to the advertising medium.


  • Audience Size – TV is able to reach a much larger audience in a shorter time frame than some other traditional mediums.
  • Attentiveness – Your ad is seen by a captive audience
  • Ad Depth – Your ad uses multiple effects including sight, sound, and motion.
  • Creativity – It is an easy method to attach personality or brand image to your small business


  • Cost, Cost, Cost – From production, air time and ad repetition, TV is going to cost you a pretty penny.
  • Flexibility – Simple updates such as discount changes or basic information switchouts require a lot. You need to replan, reshoot and reconfigure your ad completely.
  • Audience Targeting – Targeting a specific audience with TV ads is more difficult. Audiences are much larger and not everyone follows the same tv watching schedules based on demographic
  • Varying Viewership – There is no guarantee that your audience is going to sit through the commercials. This is usually when people go get a snack or use the washroom. Advertising at the beginning of the commercial break or the end is most effective, but it comes at a higher price


If your business has a large budget, a broad target audience and an attractive product to multiple demographics then TV advertising could be effective for your business. Effective TV advertising can be an absolute home run. We’re sure there are a few commercials that you remember instantly when brought up. This proves that TV advertising can have a lasting effect, especially if it is executed properly.

The MARC Group has developed a hybrid advertising medium. TV meets digital and promises captive audiences, consistent run time, and exposure. Read more about Gift Box TV here!


The radio may not be the first medium that comes to mind, but it should. It can be a great part of your marketing strategy. Understanding what demographics listen to radio, where it is aired and the style are all important pieces of the puzzle.


  • Targeting – Radio show formats are diverse and there is something for everyone, whether it is talk, sports, music or kids.
  • Cost-Effective – The price of a radio ad is significantly cheaper than a TV ad of the same length
  • Quick Turn Around Time – Small changes to a radio ad are easy to implement without much production headache


  • Permanency – Radio ads are short and people can’t save your ad for later reference.
  • Time Slot Demand – Common driver commute time slots are in high demand. This can drive the price up of specific slots based on interest.
  • Unengaged Audience – Radio is often turned on for background noise while listeners are doing other things. Having your radio ad heard by enough people in one go is unlikely. For this reason, repetition is necessary.


Yes, radio advertising could be effective for your business. BUT it is only one piece of the puzzle and you should combine it with other mediums. Radio is most effective for businesses that offer larger ticket items and services (think landscaping, window and doors, etc.). Businesses with multiple locations can also benefit, especially if they are all within the coverage area for the specific station.


71% of people consciously look at billboards when driving (Source), and now that we said that, we are sure you will see a few on the way home. Billboard advertising uses large-scale print to market a company, brand, product, or campaign. Billboards are usually found in high-traffic areas and are an effective method of building brand awareness.

The advantages and disadvantages of billboard ads are unique. This is due in part to the fact that it is the only form of a print ad in this list that is stationary.


  • Exposure– Considering that 71% of people actively look at billboards, exposure for your ad is a guarantee with this medium
  • Cost-Effective – In terms of impressions, cost/impressions is relatively low.
  • Location Targeting – Billboards are stationary objects, meaning they don’t move around. So if people follow the same daily commute, your ad will be visible to the same “target” audience repeatedly.


  • Message Length – People need to be able to see and understand your message quickly, so forget about long-winded, informative ads.
  • Measurement – Actual reach and effect of the ad can be difficult to measure
  • Short Exposure Time – The majority of billboards are beside highways and other roadways where drivers are focusing on the road. The actual exposure time is approximately 1 – 2 seconds per driver.
  • Weather Dependent – Unless your billboard is lit up, poor weather and nighttime are not ideal times for viewership.


In order to decide if billboards are a good fit for your business, you need to ask yourself two questions:

  1. Does your business meet the 8 second rule?

The 8-second rule is the maximum length of time your message has for the viewer to understand it. If you have a clear concise message that a viewer can see and understand in 8 seconds or less, then get on those billboards!

2. Is your product/service relevant to the location of the billboard?

Advertising public transit beside a 400 series highway, where the majority of viewers are driving, doesn’t make much business sense. Advertising lube and tire services in the same location will be a better use of advertising funds because the people viewing the ad fall within the target market. So, if your product or service clientele matches the potential viewers of the billboard, then you are good to go.


If you are a small business owner, you’ve most likely given print advertising some consideration to advertise your business. There are many pros and cons to this medium, similar to the others but it is definitely the most cost-effective. Print advertising includes newspapers, magazines, posters, direct mail and even billboards. In one form or another, print ads have been around since the 15th century, and therefore it is one of the longest-standing forms of traditional advertising.

Similar to the other mediums, print advertising has its advantages and disadvantages:


  • Easy to Edit – Unlike TV ads, the production time for a print ad is much shorter and easier. If you run into an issue with a print ad, updating and reprinting is not the end of the world.
  • Cost-Effective – with multiple sizes and design options, there is a print ad for any business
  • Flexibility – available in many forms, styles and sizes, print ads can be custom-made for your business.
  • Local Targeting – Print ads are perfect for distribution in smaller communities or specific locations that relate directly to the product or service


  • Requires Creativity – Creating an eye-catching ad is easier said than done if you don’t have a creative bone in your body. Of course, you could contract out the design, as many do, but that comes at an additional price.
  • Highly Saturated – Print ads are everywhere, and there is a high possibility that your competition is also using print advertising to reach the same target market
  • Difficult to Measure – Unless someone walks into your store with an ad in hand, or tells you directly that that is how they heard of you, measuring the effectiveness of print ads can be difficult. On top of this, people may not recall the print ad as being the reason for their purchase, even if that is how they found you.
  • “Limited” Audience – Global reach is not an option for print advertising on a budget friendly scale


If you are a smaller business at the beginning of your journey, print advertising is a great way to ease into the advertising world. Similar to radio, print advertising is a great tool to add to your marketing tool kit, but it may not be the best idea to put all your eggs in one basket.

The MARC Group has taken print advertising and made it mobile, accessible and community-wide with their innovative reusable bags. Turtle Tote Bags are a great way to get your business seen in your local community. With a budget-friendly option for everyone, Turtle Tote Bag advertising is a no-brainer! Read more here!

Whether it is TV, radio, Billboard, or print, there is a traditional advertising medium for you. Remember, in order to run a successful advertising campaign, you may need more than one medium! Read through our blog post on digital marketing and decide what mediums will work best together! Traditional advertising is alive, going strong, and readily available for businesses of all sizes. Not sure where to start? We can help!. Consult with one of our marketing and advertising experts today!