iSpot Insights: Direct to Consumer Brands Advertising on TV

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) TV advertising has been a staple of the airwaves for decades. In the past, D2C ads were relegated to the darkest corners of the overnight daypart with low production value, repeated 800 numbers, and a call to action of “operators are standing by!” No more.

D2C has emerged as one of the hottest categories in retail, with hundreds of startups joining the fray each month. Venture-capital firms have poured $3 billion into D2C startups from 2012 to 2017. What started as computers and exercise equipment has evolved into glasses, food, kitchenware, pet food, mattresses, clothing, and wine – among a long list of other D2C products.

Manufacturers have realized they can make more profit going to D2C by eliminating the middlemen, and in the process build longterm customer relationships. Some brands have taken a cautious approach with popup stores and limited offerings while maintaining a retail presence, while other brands such as Peloton and Warby Parker are pure D2C.

With so many options for consumers, one of the biggest challenges for both established players and newcomers is rising above the noise. In the first quarter of 2019, over 100 D2C brands advertised on TV spending an estimated $148M. iSpot sees D2C TV advertising spend increasing through 2019 and beyond, as the category continues to grow.

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