Toast Blog

Assorted news, opinion and ruthless insight from Toast. We look at industry news and future trends in TV Advertising and Video Production. Toast are a TV Advertising and Video Production Agency based in London and Oxford. We are known for championing challenger brands and startups. Toast have become experts in getting brands on TV through TV advertising.

Featured TV Advertising /

Adverts, an in-depth look at what makes an advert?

When an advert shows up on TV, it’s often the culmination of months of work. Few people know the effort or regulation that lies behind each epic. The UK’s TV advertising market is highly regulated and designed to avoid false statements, claims or misleading adverts.

What’s in an advert?

On this page, we’ll look into the anatomy of a TV advert. We explore the specific rules that govern what’s allowed on-air and some of the technical hurdles encountered by advertisers looking to show their wears on television. [padding top="2%" right="10%" bottom="3%" left="10%"] [button color="red" text_color="white" align="center" size="medium" text="SEE OUR WORK" link="/work/"][/button] [/padding]

What types of advert TV companies can show

TV ads come in all shapes and sizes, in the UK TV ads usually fit into specific lengths, the “cutdown” 10 seconds, the traditional 30 seconds or the blockbuster 60-second extravaganza. When looking at the style of advert TV broadcaster show, there’s also a mix. Ads can either be live-action, featuring actors a location and props. Or animation where the creative imagination of the advert company is the only limiting factor.

The role of the ad

Ads can also fall into different categories depending on their function in the advertisers marketing mix. A launch ad can be used to introduce a new company, brand or product. Using TV advertising as a launchpad is seen as a great way to get noticed by as many people as possible. Direct response advertising always includes a call-to-action, the advertiser hopes for a response from the viewer. This response can be either a website visit or a call to a toll-free number. Brand advertising differs from DRTV in that the advertiser is looking to reinforce their brand message. Or possibly change the perception of their brand in the mind of the viewer.

What was the first ever TV advert?

The first TV advert on British screens was for Gibbs SR Toothpaste, it went on air in September 1955. At 70 seconds in length the advert made television history and change TV watching for ever. The advert was created by Brian Palmer a copywriter at Young & Rubicam.

Famous TV commercials

Some TV ads have changed minds or industries, here are a few ads that shook up the existing markets.
[spacer top="20px"] [/spacer] The Levis 501 ad launched an entire category and make advertising the go to media for huge launch campaigns. [spacer top="50px"] [/spacer]
[spacer top="20px"] [/spacer] This great ad from SONY convinced everyone about the need to upgrade to HD televisons. [spacer top="50px"] [/spacer]
[spacer top="20px"] [/spacer] The John Lewis Christmas ad started an arms race between retailers, the wait for new Chrsitmas ads has become an annual event. [spacer top="50px"] [/spacer]
[spacer top="20px"] [/spacer] A simple ad which launched an entire business. This ad was produed by Toast. [spacer top="50px"] [/spacer]
[spacer top="20px"] [/spacer] The famous Hovis advert was filmed at Gold Hill, Shaftesbury in Dorset. The advert was directed in 1973 by legendary director Sir Ridley Scott.

Legal requirements, Cleacast

In the UK each ad has to be approved by an industry body named Cleacast before a broadcaster can air it. Commercials aren’t allowed to be, misleading, harmful or offensive. Clearcast will look at initial scripts and give guidance on areas that might cause issues later. This guidance enables an advert company to have an approved script before any filming or animation starts.

Clearcast - claims

If an advertiser claims their product is the best seller, most efficient, cures ills or is just downright peachy. Clearcast will look at these claims and demand substantiation before clearing an advert. Proof can be in the form of industry sales data or scientific research.


If a viewer complains about a TV ad it will be handled by the ASA (The Advertising Standards Authority), the ASA then decide whether to investigate the ad. The ASA will ask Cleacast for information relating to the clearing of the ad and then rule on whether the commercial breaks the UK advertising standards. Ads can be pulled from television if the ASA decides they breach the rules.

Legal Supers

Where Clearcast rules that further information is needed. Legal supers will be used to display this text. The text size, legibility and length of time on the screen is regulated. Further information about legal supers is here.

Working with Toast

If you’re looking for an advert company with great creative ideas, award winning writers and directors get in touch. If you already have a TV ad and you’re looking to get it on air we work with a number of media buyers who can organise a media plan. Get in touch. [spacer top="20px"] [/spacer]

Contact us for a quote

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Featured TV Advertising /

Addressable TV & Advanced TV in the UK

The Americans are coming

Sometimes a new platform or craze lands and everyone scrambles around for information on how to monetize it or just how to jump on the band-wagon. It happened a few years ago with AR & VR, London was a buzz with startups looking to exploit the new tech. Now it’s happening again with advanced TV. One of the first stages in a new phenomenon are the calls from our American cousins looking to partner with local London businesses to get their feet under the table early. At Toast, we’ve now had two such calls, from American startups looking to expand into the UK market with platforms that are already up and running in the US. We’ve been doing our research into addressable TV in the UK, read on to see what we’ve found.
Featured TV Advertising /

Advertising Rules and Regulations

A big part of our job in TV advertising is clearing adverts to go on air. Mostly this is a straight-forward process of proving legal claims and making sure adverts are appropriate for the viewing public. Advertising rules and regulations in the UK are run by an organisation called Clearcast.

Clearing an ad full of orgasms

Sometimes things are a little more tricky. Below is the response we received to a rough-cut submitted to Clearcast -the UK TV Advertising clearing organisation. The advert was to be shown once on late night Channel 4 and was used to promote the Aids awareness charity - Frontline Aids (Formerly - International HIV/AIDS Alliance)

Oxford Tech Hub

Toast - Video for the Oxford Tech Hub

Toast is a Video Production and TV Advertising agency with an extensive client base ranging from large organisations to smaller challenger brands. We produce videos, explainer animations and TV adverts for big businesses but also we’ve become well-known for championing smaller brands looking to get into TV advertising. We became established as a promoter of challenger brands after producing Innocent Smoothie’s first ever TV advert. Since then we have continued this effort producing scores of advertising campaigns for start-ups and smaller brands. One of our latest projects has been scripting, developing, filming and producing Abel & Cole’s first foray into TV advertising. explainerWide

Investment Films

As well as our TV advertising work we have an extensive list of video production clients. We have decided to apply our expertise developed while working with challenger brands into our video production work. We are working with many companies to produce videos which they will use in funding rounds as they grow. These videos range from simple explainers which detail a new product or service to full corporate video productions featuring founder interviews and complex 3D animations.
Featured News TV Advertising /

Amazon has the power to dominate Addressable TV

We look to the future of Addressable TV and ask the question. “Are all the cards falling into place for Amazon?” Back in the summer, TechCrunch ran an article about an Amazon job posting which was initially titled: “Head of Free to Air TV & Advertising.” After a bit of tweaking by Amazon, the job listing became: “Head of Prime Video Channels Free To Air TV & Advertising TV Partner Channels.” This job title clearly wasn’t going to fit on a business card so was changed to: “Head of Prime Video Partner Channels”. Notice the omission of “free to air” in the final title? Are Amazon planning to launch a free ad funded version of Prime Video?

Addressable TV, the new Amazon store front?

Running ads on a free streaming version of Prime Video and knowing who is viewing the adverts. Plus having access to years of their most intimate buying habits, could be Amazon’s winning hand.

Clutch Identifies Toast as a Leading Advertising & Video Production Agency in the UK

Toast is a talented team of video production and advertising specialists, dedicated to helping your business creatively stand out from your competitors. We specialise in branded content, television commercial production, television media buying, and motion graphics. We know what works to elevate your brand, and we’re not afraid to scare you a little if it will help your business succeed.

we deliver on clutch badge

These are the reasons we decided to join Clutch, an online platform whose mission is to identify the best B2B agencies and help them to be seen by buyers who need their services. Clutch publishes validated reviews from clients who have worked with the agencies listed on their site. The reviews, along with an internal evaluation of each company’s market presence, are what form their rankings and enable some companies to be listed above others.

Featured News Video Production /

Video Production – State of the Art 2018

Video Production gear comes in all shapes and sizes. This infographic looks at the cameras, computers, drones and storage all used in the production of video and animations. We've compared some of the gear used now to the kit used way back. video production infographic  preview

The GoPro is a staple of any video kit bag and with it's quality improving every year GoPro footage can be seamlessly edited into any production. Cameras have also got smaller and lighter, using a DigiBeta Cam years ago would give you toned arms and a strong back, now a DSLR can be thrown about all day.

Drones have also been a great leap in video production values, if you need a quick aerial shot just throw up a drone, no more waiting around for an expensive helicopter to turn up. Computers have probably changed the most with a desktop computer able to edit 4K footage and render stunning 3D visuals, the technology really is empowering the creatives. The advances in production gear is also having great benefits in filming. DRTV adverts with smaller budgets than traditional brand adverts can now leverage some of the best new lightweight cameras to increase production values. The infographic covers many other bits of Video Production tech, take a look.
Featured News TV Advertising /

GDPR and Digital Advertising

GDPR and Digital Advertising, is GDPR the big shakeup that will change the world of targeted advertising? A recent survey by W8 concluded that GDPR will make 75% of UK marketing data obsolete. “Data” is a dirty word. We have all been probably, shocked and surprised by just how many companies have our information on their databases, as the flurry of “Don’t Leave Us” emails hit our inboxes. Many customers have a nagging feeling that there is something sinister about all this data mining that routinely takes place when we shop online. Companies have shared and made money from our data for years. GDPR if anything has forced business to look at the key relationship factor with their customers – TRUST.
Featured News Video Production /

Mayon Volcano – Video Fact File

[full_col] We're starting a new initiative at Toast. Video Fact Files, these are short video clips which give the viewer all the headline information they about a news event in a quick and mobile friendly clip. Our first clip is about the recent eruption of the Mayon Volcano in the Philippines. We believe animation is the perfect medium to deliver quick information bursts. We've used an explainer video style which allows us to pepper the videos with stats and headlines. These videos are well suited to social media where the viewer is scrolling and has limited time to view each clip. The Mayon volcano threatens to cause massive damage to the Philippines, the volcano is spewing rocks, smoke and ash over a large area. Ash when mixed with rain water has the ability to cause dangerous mud slides. Mayon has also had a serious affect on global transport with planes having to be rerouted around the ash clouds. If planes fly through an ash cloud the ash can fuse together inside their jet engines making a dangerous glass coating on engine parts. [row] [/row] [row]

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Brand Safety – Is your brand safe?

The Brand Safety issue is a big subject in the media right now and doesn’t look like it’s going away soon. For brands and organisations, it’s a reputational nightmare. You make some entertaining and informative video content and suddenly you get calls asking why your video is linked to or surrounded by other content that is extremist, offensive, pornographic, or at its simplest just contrary to your own brand’s ethics and values. For example, you are a family brand selling healthy cereal and you find yourself linked with a very explicit lyrics and imagery from the band Cradle Of Filth, famous for their songs that are violent, sexist, and overtly sexual. That’s a PR disaster that is none of your doing but the problem is you are now in damage limitation mode.

Is it good advertising practice to bring talent in-house?

The dangers of bringing your agencies in-house. I suppose there was a sense of schadenfreude amongst a lot of agencies when they watched the PR car car-crash that piled up around the Pepsi Kendall Jenner ad campaign. It was supposed to be an example of good advertising crafted by an in-house creative powerhouse. In the driving seat that fateful day was Kristin Patrick, senior VP-global brand development. Mr Jakeman, President of PepsiCo Global Beverage Group had praised the ad on Twitter on Tuesday morning shortly after it was released, saying he was "super proud of the @PepsiCo #CreatorsLeague for producing this," but the tweet has since been deleted. Another danger of deleting your soon-regretted statements of support is that news of your deletion also goes viral! Only adding to the sense of incompetence.

Drone Delivery the Future of Toast

London is bewildering in it’s levels of culinary creativity. A gourmet crisp shack, pop up potato joint and grilled cheese sandwich shop all exist within the media haven of Soho. A new hire at Toast, Harry Harryman was quick to point this out and jumped to work immediately, capitalising on this booming trend. Partly transforming our video production shop into a street food business with a difference - a drone delivery food service. Toast introduced the next step in "snack UX" - drone delivered Toast.

The next unicorn?

Once rumours of the project leaked out we came under intense interest from various parties in venture capital land. Quotes about the project are too numerous to mention, but it reminded all at Toast of the now famous “project ginger” from a few years back. We were about the change the food delivery landscape for ever, our drone delivery idea was to be revolutionary.
Featured TV Advertising /

Planning a brand video production

So, you have a great product or service. Maybe you’re a new-to-market challenger brand wanting to take on the big boys and win? You do your research and everyone in marketing with any intelligence is telling you to setup a brand video production. Because more people engage with brands and share video than any other form of content. If content is king, then video is God. Video Production gear
Featured TV Advertising /

Test TV Advertising

New to Advertising? Why Not Run A Test TV Ad?

So you have a great product or service and you want the best way to let people all about it. Then TV advertising is the best choice and will certainly outperform your online marketing in terms of trust, target audience and crucially the bottom line.
And right now making your first TV advert and getting it on air on the right channels for the right audience has never been more affordable, simple and effective in terms of ROI. In fact we have a unique offer that allows you to Test the water with your first TV Ad and measure its effectiveness.
Featured News TV Advertising /

How to drive traffic to your website

A Case Study of

If you're like startup Tootle, a new challenger and you want to drive traffic to your website where do you start? They aim to disrupt the £45 billion UK used car selling market. Tootle matches private car sellers to car dealers wanting to source specific cars directly from the public. By streamlining the sales process and removing middlemen, they aim to drive better prices and a smoother experience for both sellers and dealers. toy woman standing next to toy car
Featured TV Advertising /

The Advantages of TV Advertising

What are the advantages of TV advertising?

Updated January 2019 TV advertising is effective because research shows it reaches viewers when they’re at their most attentive. One of the main advantages of TV advertising is having one brand message at a time unlike the blizzard of banners, ads, pre-rolls, and click-bait articles that clamour for your attention online. The TV advertising medium places full-screen adverts in an advert break between quality programming. Advertising on television is a great way to place your brand near blockbuster dramas like ITV’s Vanity Fair and Strangers featuring John Simm. Or if you’re looking for a younger audience shows like Love Island provide compelling viewing every day for weeks. The advantage of placing your brand alongside the polished specimens on Love Island is obvious. The growing number of terrestrial, cable and satellite channels have made TV advertising much more affordable for brands. Crucially this proliferation of channels means you are able to promote your offer to ever more relevant audiences.
Featured News TV Advertising /

For challenger brands TV is paramount

Promoting Challenger Brands

The power of advertising can turn around a brand in a short timeframe, but there are some big players that have done this more obviously than others. Innocent are one brand who, with help from a 30 second clip, became a challenger brand and grew their business across the last 6 years to unimaginable heights, highlighting the power that TV advertising holds when done right.
Featured News TV Advertising /

Ad blocking and your newly empowered audience

Now iOS 9 is out in the wild, advertisers are kicking and screaming in panic about the ad blocking support and functionality it brings. Advertisements bring forth huge chunks of revenue, $27.5 billion in the US (for the first half of 2015). Blocking ads hurts an age old model of revenue, but the ad blockers aren’t going to topple the $60+ billion online advertising industry in one fell swoop. The industry is vast, too important and touches too many.