DTC Television Advertising

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DTC Television Advertising

Examples of TV marketing campaigns by DTC companies include Bonobos' #EvolveTheDefinition campaign and Cove's Feeling of Love and Better Days campaigns. Companies that have had success using TV as an advertising medium include Turo, Peloton, and SmileDirectClub. Information regarding these campaigns, companies, and insights regarding correlations between TV spending and online activities and the success of DTC companies is detailed below.

DTC TV Ad Campaign Examples

Bonobos and #EvolveTheDefinition

  • Bonobos was the first digitally-native men's fashion brand, however, growth stagnated and they started to change how they advertised and communicated to its target audience.
  • This campaign was the company's "first-ever national campaign" that premiered during The ESPYS, the #1 TV live sports and entertainment event, an event that targets the company's target audience. The campaign also included a microsite that featured content that encouraged the public to evolve the definition and interpretation of the word "masculine".
  • The ad was intended to spark the conversation around the definition of masculine, its limitations, and how it can be changed to be more inclusive. The ad, produced by Observatory, incorporates interviews from a variety of individuals and how they define masculinity.
  • According to a Google Brand Study, the campaign resulted in 31% lift in Bonobos brand awareness, and 83% of people felt more favorable towards the brand. Other metrics of success from the campaign include over 10 million YouTube views in 24 hours, 400,000 visits to the microsite, total Bonobos website sessions were higher than the daily average by 50%, unpaid Bonobos searches reached the highest peak, it had 56 million trending twitter impressions, a 3.1% lift in purchase consideration, an increase in sales of 17.4%, and a 7.4% boost in retail foot traffic.
  • The campaign won the 2018 #YouTubeAd of The Year "That Rewrites the Rules". The campaign received positive responses from key influencers such as Reese Witherspoon among others further demonstrating its success.

Cove's The Feeling of Cove

  • Cove is a DTC that has also invested in traditional advertising on TV by debuting national ads. Cove is "an end-to-end platform solution that combines diagnosis, personalized and affordable treatment solutions, and ongoing condition management for migraine sufferers". The company's TV campaigns ran on TV and social media.
  • The Feeling of Cove advertisement was a national campaign created by Quirk Creative that features a migraine-free woman in a hammock with puppies that softly states, "Cove works with me to find the right migraine solution, so I can have better days". They provide evidence that states about 40 million Americans suffer from migraines yet cite that it is still "surprisingly difficult" for sufferers to get personalized support and treatment that they need.
  • Due to restrictions for DTC health care companies and marketing on Instagram, these companies lean towards "help-seeking advertising". Co-founder Steven Gutentag told Vox that the guidelines do not apply to their strategy as their TV spots don't focus on the medication or a specific treatment but instead draws attention "to the condition and awareness about the disease".
  • A video of Cove's TV ad "An Actual Solution" can be viewed here. Another TV spot called "Better Days: Free Month can be viewed here, and this ad promoted a free month of treatment.

Successful DTC Companies and TV Advertising


  • Turo added TV advertising during definitive seasons when there are a lot of people in the market for a car. Adam Miller, the CMO, states that TV keeps them on the top of the minds of people during those times which is important given the number of competitors in the market. The company added TV advertising in addition to using billboards, influencers, radio advertising and online social networks.
  • Adam Miller describes the adjustment to TV advertising compared to other channels to be a fairly easy process aside from the upfront effort and the required resources for creative development, and he states they were happy and impressed with the early results. He notes that TV has the size and scale for the company to match its digital display efforts and opens up a lot of options. They also get the added benefits of increased brand awareness and brand query volume.
  • Since launching TV advertising, Miller cites the results have been an increase in validation of the brand, and brand awareness has increased significantly. There are differences in how they advertise to the travelers and the drivers, and TV is more like the company's digital channels in that there is more efficiency on the traveler side.
  • The company went to market with an ad that juxtaposed the company against rental car companies and the associated negative experiences to highlight the positive elements of Turo against rental companies. The company intends to continue to invest in TV and the see it as a "potent and extensive part of our business in the future" because it introduces new customers to the brand.
  • Turo TV ads can be viewed on iSpot.tv here.
  • Turo is a car-sharing startup that boosted its online video views by 5,100% by increasing its tv spend by 8,600%.


  • After boosting its TV ad spend by 48%, Peloton's sales nearly doubled in one year. It was identified as having the highest increase among expanding DTC brands, and other expanding brands that also boosted TV spend include Uber, 23andMe, Carvana, Warby Parker and Grubhub.
  • Peloton is slated to have an obvious headstart over its competitors NordicTrack and up-comer Echelon, and it is estimated it could grow to 4 million video subscriptions soon.
  • Peloton increased TV spend by 48% to $161.3 million and as a result the company sales grew to $700 million.


  • SmileDirectClub spent over $100 million in advertising on digital, print, and national TV ads in the last year. It is stated that they invest in premium ad units and they advertised on over 250 different Media Properties across multiple formats, and they have launched and advertised 3 new products in the last year.
  • Bruce Henderson was the company's first chief creative officer, and he talks about the advantages of in-house marketing for brands. The company has a 125-person in-house agency that runs all the out-of-home ads as well as the TV and OTT platform ads, and states they are aggressive on almost all the digital channels especially Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Correlation Between TV Spending and Digital Activities

  • Most DTC brands start with a social media strategy before they expand into TV. The reach of TV advertising is said to bring customers into the marketing funnel which leads to search queries and online video views, website traffic, and final sales. Research shows that DTC consumers are "receptive to ads on both streaming and linear TV".
  • TV is so effective of a method of advertising for expanding DTC brands that they have increased their TV investment by double- or triple-digits in 2018. Established DTC brands that increase TV activity drive "greater consideration for the brand in the form of more searches and additional viewing of the TV ad online".
  • 82% of DTC shoppers "take action" after seeing a TV ad on connected tv or OTT and DTC brands are targeting millennials and Gen Z audiences as they have embraced OTT viewing. In addition, CTV/OTT is appealing for DTC companies because they combine "the precision of digital in targeting with the big screen experience of linear TV in scale, premium content, and brand safety". DTC brands are able to leverage their existing first-party data to target audiences with "customized accuracy".
  • CTV/OTT advertising reaches audiences in specific geographies and allows DTC brands to track campaign performance by market. CTV/OTT provides critical outcome-based measurement and essential benefits of brand building.
  • DTC brands that started with a social-media strategy to reach target audiences he saw significant growth in digital interactions after spending more heavily on TV advertising. GrubHub boosted online video views by almost 1,100% after the company tripled its spend on TV advertising.
  • TV advertising also increases search queries for emerging and expanding brands, as demonstrated by Poshmark who experienced an increase of search queries by more than 6,900% after increasing TV spending by 8,400%. More established brands experienced "double- or triple-digital gains in search queries" after increasing TV spending, with BarkBox leading the way with digital gains of 824% off of a 726% increase in TV spending.
  • Analysis has found that emerging DTC brands that were founded in the last 5 years see their revenues "take off" after the launch of a TV campaign or increasing the investment in television spend. Tv is a very effective method of driving greater audience engagement online, and increase in online spend of 93% equates to 312% growth in search queries, 206% growth in social actions, and 177% growth in online video views.