Forget ‘Who’s on First’ – “When” is More Important: The Power of Context Over Context

If you tuned into the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros, you saw more advocacy and corporate social responsibility ads than any other type of ad, according to data from Advertising Analytics.


Content is still king in advertising. But the context of an ad– when and where someone sees it– is becoming more important to the ad experience for consumers. This World Series was a rare opportunity to gather DC opinion leaders in one place.

TV networks always cater advertising to target audiences. For example, Cartoon Network will advertise Play-Doh and the new Ben 10 action figures, while the History Channel airs spots on state-of-the-art reading lamps and the newest World War 2 biography.

More and more, TV is taking a page from digital advertising– it’s not just who’s seeing your ad, it’s when they’re seeing it. For example, you could use targeting capabilities to pinpoint dog owners for a dog food brand. But if you serve dog food ads when the viewer is sitting down to eat their (human) dinner, the ad will be less effective. The context in which someone sees an ad directly influences its overall effectiveness.

Another factor is the audience’s mindset. Our research shows that 81% of people say they are most receptive to ads when they’re either happy or relaxed. That’s why Jun Group specializes in advertising through mobile games. The number one emotion experienced when playing mobile games? Relaxed. This explains why so many advocacy and corporate social responsibility ads made their way into the World Series. The DC opinion leaders were sharing a rare moment of openness and relaxation, rather than talking shop.

Ad tech tools continue to evolve and add more sophistication and opportunity for micro-targeting beyond just age and demo data. With the Who of advertising locked down, the Where and When take on a far greater importance. We need to reach consumers when they’re at their most receptive to ads– whether it’s Game 7 of the World Series or Level 7 of Candy Crush.