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Does anybody like TV advertising?

Updated on June 15, 2012

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.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I like commercials when the programe is boring

    • Escape2Paradise profile image


      7 years ago from Bangkok Thailand

      Yeah I like do like advertising on a tv which is not too boring like some advertising of fashion and beauty etc

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great hub.TV commercials are essential to run any type of program .Some adds make us boring but some are interesting too.

    • novascotiamiss profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Wow, thank you all for your constructive input. It's amazing how many people seem to actually like commercials. As mentioned in my hub, we usually tend to skip through the ones that we don't want to see but I admit there are a few good ones that I will even repeat, but they are FEW. What I absolutely hate is the continuous sound level change. I find more and more movies these days have very loud background music and low volume talking (some actors even tend to mumble). So we turn up the volume, only to be absolutely deafened when the commercials come on. Is this really necessary?

      - Cardisa, like you, sometimes I get inspired by ads and one TV commercial even made us want to travel to Newfoundland (it's as nice as in the commercial). So I don't hate them all.

      - Jim & Megan, I do agree that we wouldn't have TV without commercials. One exception is Boston TV, a private station that relies on fundraising. However, their pledge shows are pestering their viewers to such an extent (20 minute blocks or more of begging where the same bla bla gets repeated over and over again) that I would rather switch to a a station with commercials. They brag that they don't have commercials but this is far worse. I do understand their point but they actually ask viewers to pledge between 75 to 150 $ which I find far too much, especially since we already have to pay a fortune for satelite TV. What happened to 10 $ donations? I mean, I don't actually want to purchase the TV station. Of course the donors usually get a CD or DVD of the show (without the bla bla) but anybody who has a recorder can record that anyway.

      -Bobri, thanks for your professional comments which are very interesting. You mention brilliant ads and clutter, unfortunately I find there is far too much clutter. I wonder, what the return on investment is there?

      - Megan you mention that you are multitasking and also sometimes skip commercials, which I guess most people do.

      My hub was inspired by our recent vacation where we spent many boring nights in motel rooms with broken remote controls. All I can say, it can really spoil your TV experience.

    • Megan Kathleen profile image

      Megan Kathleen 

      7 years ago from Los Gatos, CA

      I skip through most advertisements, but sometimes I let them run if I am multitasking and am focusing on something else. That being said, I do think TV ads are effective. If I see a glimpse of an ad I think I might like, I will stop my fast forwarding to watch. Granted, these ads are usually for other TV programs, but the principle still applies. And psychology speaking, there is something to be said for ad impressions. That is how you make money on HubPages after all. Colors, images, music, or phrases can stick in your mind and influence your buying later, especially if you do not have a fixed opinion about a product.

      And I am grateful for ads because they fund TV. Even online TV. I would not want to pay more for my viewing experience, so I will happily view advertisement and even let it influence my choice if it means I get more TV programming!

    • Bobri Dobri profile image

      Bobri Dobri 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Ok, I'm back here again. About efficiency of TV ads from a view of marketer. You have few options to communicate with your consumers: TV, outdoor, magazines, digital, PR events and promotions. TV has few major pros in comparison to others. First of all, it gives you the biggest coverage (tons of people will see your ad), which leads to second point: the cheapest cost of contact. However, many people switch channels or mute TV commercials, and honestly speaking TV is getting less and less audience each year and less ROI (return on investment), but still it gives you the biggest effect. Researches show that TV communications has long-term effect for advertising brand which leads to at least 5% sales growth each year (correct for FMCG market). Of course, it is correct only for brilliant ads which break through clutter. But each company thinks its ads are brilliant :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      If there was no advertising, there would be no TV. Hmmmmmm.......

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      7 years ago from Jamaica

      You missed a group, the one that actually like commercials. I like commercials to a point. I hate when they are repeated over and over again, but there are several really good commercials that are actually quite funny. There are other times you need something and wonder where to get it and there is an ad telling you exactly what to do. So I think tv ads are effective and that is why people/companies spend millions to use that mode of advertising.

    • novascotiamiss profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Hi Bobri. Yes, I would definitely be interested to get your professional view. It's not that I hate all TV ads. there are actually some, which I enjoy watching. E.g. tourism ads for Newfoundland (awesome and inspiring) or funny or cute ads that just make you laugh. However, I find the number of ads these days absolutely irritating, especially if you have to sit through a 3 1/2 hour movie that is actually 100 minutes long.

    • Bobri Dobri profile image

      Bobri Dobri 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Wow, what a challenging topic! I'll give you professional comments when I get access to laptop, can't write long here from tablet. Yeah, I am one of those who spend millions on advertising and promotion. And yes, it is effective. I'll try to write smart explanations later :)


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