The time has come for marketers to capitalize on the technological infiltration into the television commercial. Digital is not just about banners. Digital strategic marketers are poised to take over television from their traditional counterparts. Don't believe me? Traditional marketers and advertisers have become so locked into standard formats that their brains have become atrophied into only thinking in 30-second snippets, rectangular outdoor boards, and full-page ads. When they're told to "think outside the box," they can't. They ARE the box.
When television was first launched, there was no advertising model other than radio and broadcast. The commercial did not exist. Companies like Proctor & Gamble targeting housewives gave rise to the "soap" opera. Actors and newsmen did mini product pitches before or after their TV shows. Heck, even "The Flinstones" pitched Winston cigarettes.
Over the years, the more common product pitches by the presenters morphed into the standard commercial format, and that format hasn't changed in 40 years.
It's no wonder the DVR has garnered such a following. Blip. Blip. Skip. And back to your regularly scheduled program. Although this has been impacting commercials for several years now, it is only now that market penetration has started to seriously concern advertisers. And it should. What has changed is the way consumers watch TV. You may be buying an eight-share on a program, but because of TiVo DVRs, channel surfing, dual tuners, hunger, and the inevitable bathroom break, you're really only getting a two-share. Unfortunately, the more technical of those options, the DVR, skews exactly to the affluent, tech-savvy segment many marketers crave.
Comparing impressions and market share as a measure of commercial influence is the biggest mistake. It is the mindset of the consumer and their viewing habits, and the way they consume the program, that is paramount. For example, the shared popularity of sports programming makes the time-shifting ability of DVRs not as detrimental, since it is often viewed live.
Programs that regularly use cliffhangers between commercial breaks have a much higher view-through of the commercials between them. With the advent of DVRs, the last commercial in a series has a higher view-rate as people skip through commercials and then wind-back right before the next start of their program.
In essence, on a scale of viewership of the same six-share program for DVR owners, the first spot in the commercial break gets a one-share, the three in the middle a zero, and the last one a three. With the scale of adoption of DVRs, the next five years will completely shift viewing habits. Strategy? Fifteen-second spots with payoffs in the last five seconds -- media slotted always as the last commercial in a block.
But this should be readily apparent to anyone who understands media, not just those who buy it. The problem is that it is mainly ignored when planning. Media planners get lazy, because they still just put value to programs and compare target demo and impressions, rather than the way people consume the media. You have to understand WHAT you are buying, and how people consume it. You may be buying "air," but unless anyone is breathing it, you'll just end up with a lot of nothing.
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