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Does anybody like TV advertising?
A cynical approach to endless TV ads
I know three kinds of TV viewers: Firstly, the efficient type. People like me, who have a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) in order to record everything and watch it later, happily skipping all the ads. I mean, seriously, who has the time and patience to watch a 100 minute movie that lasts for 3 ½ hours?
Then, there is the second kind, the multi-tasking type, who actually uses the intervals for bathroom breaks, to make a sandwich or to take the dog out for a short walk. Isn’t it amazing, how much can be accomplished in a short 10 minutes? All your errands can be done during that 100 minute, 3 ½ hour movie. These viewers don’t really mind, as ads are totally predictable (they usually come on every 6 minutes for a duration of 10 minutes) and the sound increases to such a volume that you can conveniently hear it in the bathroom or even one block down the road. Once it gets quiet, you know the ads are over and it’s safe to sit down again. Later into the show/movie, the breaks become even more frequent and longer and the only thing that keeps you engaged is the urge to know what’s going to happen in the end. And then - just when the final plot unfolds and it is really getting exciting - you are exposed to yet another interval. You keep seated, as your dog is exhausted and so are you. The final 10 minute interval seems to drag on endlessly. You mute the deafening sound and you really have to force yourself not to nod off. Otherwise you might miss the final 30 seconds or the words “THE END”, followed by a long, flashing list of names which you could never read, even if you tried to.
And then, there is the third group of people, and those I really pity with all my heart. They are the bored and lonely travelers, stuck in a motel room with a broken remote control. I guess, the reason why most public remote controls are broken is, because they are worn out from all the muting or from being thrown against the wall in utter despair. These unlucky soles are the ones who can’t turn down the blaring sound or take the dog for a walk. It drives them absolutely crazy and there is no escape. Even if they choose not to watch, they still get brainwashed with all the ads blaring out of the surrounding rooms. I wonder, how many people have died in motel rooms, desperately suffocating themselves with a pillow?
Now, I ask all you advertisers out there who spend millions, what is the point of all this nonsense? Is TV advertising really effective?
- The first group totally ignores you by fast forwarding.
- The second group totally ignores you but at least, you keep them fit and their memory in good shape. After all, it’s hard to keep track of what you saw 10 minutes ago, especially if you have been multi-tasking.
- The third group hates you, and they will never buy your product anyway, because it makes them feel bored, lonely, aggravated and suicidal.
So how effective is TV advertising, really?
PS: Based on the facts below, found on Wikipedia, I wonder how many ads we will actually be exposed to in 2020 the way things are going right now?
Over the course of 10 hours, American viewers will see approximately three hours of advertisements, twice what they would have seen in the 1960s. Furthermore, if a 1960s show is rerun today, the content may be edited or cut by nine minutes to make room for the extra advertisements. In more recent years, that number has grown by an average of two minutes.