Advertising Execs Slowly Reaching Obvious Conclusion: Ads Are Content Too

from the hey,-look-at-that! dept

Part of the economic we make here is that the nature of content as a digital good means that it’s going to move towards free in an open marketplace. However, that isn’t a bad thing, because “free” content can be used in good ways – as promotional material for something else. The argument goes both ways – promotional materials should be looked at as content, too. Unfortunately, too many people seem to think they’re different – that somehow content that is produced for promotional purposes is somehow “less” than other content. That sort of thinking leads to (a) people trying to lock up their “good” content and (b) people producing really bad promotional content that tends to annoy people more than make them interested in whatever is being promoted. We’ve argued this before in reference to TV commercials. It seemed like too many executives (such as those who claimed that not watching commercials was “stealing”) seemed to think that forcing people to watch bad content was the only way to produce good content. This is, of course, not true – which has been shown by the likes of Honda and BMW with the advertising they created that people actively seek out (not to mention the whole damn Super Bowl commercial watching phenomenon). It appears that finally some advertising and broadcasting execs are understanding this message. NBC is going to start airing mini-movies during commercial breaks. Some of these really are still commercials – but they’re actually designed (what a concept!) to be entertaining. Others, though, are more traditional programming content – but designed to fill 30 second spots, and use cliff-hanger endings to get you to want to see the next one. Basically, they’re hoping to provide content that is worth watching, so you don’t just TiVo through all the commercials (or worse, change channels). Should be interesting to see how this experiment goes.

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Comments on “Advertising Execs Slowly Reaching Obvious Conclusion: Ads Are Content Too”

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mark says:

will she or won't she... choose the Colgate??

Sadly, the problem with this concept is that advertising works best, and is most needed for pushing soft goods (inexpensive commodity items like Proctor & Gamble products). Trying to add drama and recall to a brand soap suds is tough, tough, tough. That’s why they’re forever packing the stuff in florescent colors and slapping NEW & IMPROVED!!! across the top.

I’ll bet you’re all looking forward to the family mini-drama revolving around Grandma’s constipation or Mom’s intense personal conflict choosing between Helmann’s and Miracle Whip.

Joe A. (user link) says:

Re: Re: will she or won't she... choose the Colgate??

But you can still make the commercials entertaining, right? Why do you think so many people watch the Super Bowl?

Well, I watch the Super Bowl because I’m hoping that someday — in my lifetime — I’ll see the Patriots win again. Probably not this year, though. 🙂

Radio has been treating their advertising similarly for quite a while now. Rock stations play a 30-second spot for Bud Light that starts out sounding like some new rock song, or traffic reporters speed through their traffic reports — directly followed by their reading of an advertisement in the same tone of voice.

In my opinion, it’s not necessarily better for the advertiser. It’s just another way for media companies to convince advertisers to spend more money on these new ideas the media has devised to “guarantee” eyeballs/ears.

mark says:

Re: Re: will she or won't she... choose the Colgate??

Beer/soda commercials and other image ads have almost always been interesting and/or entertaining. Party snacks & such have always had a light touch and aren’t too painful to sit through… at least the first couple times. The money spent on Superbowl ads is huge.

It will still be a major challenge to integrate toilet paper or branded pain killer into a narrative that both sells and is something people will sit and watch. Nearly every campaign I ever worked on involved trying to pull the client back from shoving it down people’s throats. Advertising is very expensive, measuring what makes an ad a success is difficult and everybody wants their logo bigger.

Joe says:

Too Many Commercials on TV we Pay for, Maybe the G

As for the frequency of commercial breaks, the compromise accepts the position adopted by Parliament in December, to limit commercial breaks in “the transmission of films made for television (excluding series, serials, light entertainment programmes and documentaries), cinematographic works, children’s programmes and news programmes” to “once for each scheduled period of 30 minutes”. In children’s programs commercial breaks will not be allowed unless the programs are more than 30 minutes long. The upper limit for commercials is 12 minutes an hour.

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