How Brands Advertise on TV During Sitcoms


Sitcoms are a fixture of primetime TV, but with production delays related to COVID-19, these shows have been slow to restart for 2020-21. Further complicating things, one of the top sitcoms on TV — ABC’s “Modern Family” — officially ended its decade-long run. As a result, the landscape looks a lot different than it did last year, and advertisers could use a roadmap for how to advertise during sitcoms right now given all of those adjustments.

iSpot’s latest report recaps sitcoms — both new and syndicated — on TV, which advertisers and industries are most active during those shows, and how creative approaches differ for these comedies vs. other shows (and their audiences).

Key Takeaways

  • Sitcoms were the No. 4 show genre by impressions for department store ads (7.46% of total); but were No. 6 for top sitcom advertiser Target (sitcoms made up 5.06% of all TV ad impressions)
  • Ad creative during new sitcom airings is usually timely, leaning toward seasonality — holidays, flu season, COVID trends — over long-running campaigns
  • Over 56% of quick serve brand TV ad impressions have come from syndicated shows in 2020, while 10.82% of quick serve impressions have come during all sitcoms (third highest show genre for the industry)
  • Despite the pandemic scuttling travel advertising, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines was the top brand advertiser during “Young Sheldon,” with 2.19% of impressions
  • Less than 85% of ad impressions during the top 10 sitcoms were live, with the rest coming from DVR viewings at least three days after airing

Why It Matters

With a disjointed fall TV rollout this year, primetime audiences may not look exactly the way they have in the past — for sitcoms or other show genres, either. As these comedy-focused programs start to come back to screens, it’s worth examining the tone of new episodes, as well as the tone of ads. Even months into the pandemic, brands are still settling into determining what’s appropriate amid those risks, the aftermath of the election cycle and social unrest. Having the right data on hand can go a long way.

If you’re interested in seeing more about sitcoms on TV, corresponding ad trends and the latest creative insights, check out iSpot’s free report today.

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