TiVo Says Choose Your Own Damn Commercials

from the gimmicks-instead-of-usefulness? dept

For all the hype and talk over the impact of DVR users skipping ads, you have to give TiVo credit for being extremely willing to experiment with trying to change the traditional TV commercial. Over the years, they’ve come up with a variety of experiments — some much more clever than others. It still seems like their first attempt was one of the most intriguing. Back in 2001, the company offered a sweepstakes for a new Lexus, where contestants needed to answer a bunch of questions where the answers were hidden in a variety of Lexus commercials. Conveniently, TiVo would automatically record all of the necessary commercials and store them in a separate area. Since then, not all of the experiments have been that inspired. There were forced recordings of shows, the ability to “click-through” commercials to get more info on the product being advertised, and the especially questionable plan to let viewers automatically forward their personal info to advertisers if they wanted more info about a product. TiVo’s latest moves play on the growing trend of TV execs to (finally!) recognize that ads are “content” too. Instead of just pushing commercials to users or letting them click through for more info, TiVo users will have the ability to choose their own ending to a commercial for new Sony TVs. The idea is that men get to watch one commercial while women get to watch another. If anything, it’s really not that different than the earlier “click through for more info” ads — but with a bit of choice and a male/female gimmick. The company is also getting ready to roll out “commercials on demand” that will allow users to sometimes select the commercials they’d like to see — though, the details on that plan are pretty hazy at this point. Again, it’s not clear that any of these experiments will actually work, but it’s still good to see the industry experiment a little bit.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “TiVo Says Choose Your Own Damn Commercials”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Bob says:

Re: sexism?

Uh, don’t confuse sexism with consumer choice. By your post is seems you’d call Summer’s Eve douche commercials sexist. After all, they are marketed to women but shown to all, despite the fact that not all viewers, male OR female, want to see ads about flushing stinky hoo hoos.

By allowing a man to see a Sony TV ad targeted to him in a way that may make him more likely to buy it–and by allowing a woman the same, isn’t sexist, it’s just good business.

I would love Google to get in on the cable TV ad scene with Google CableAds, targeted to the end user of the connection. If Cox Communications knows I’m a 35 year old male, living alone, they can’t guarantee I’ll like all the ads they could send me, but they COULD AVOID sending me commercials selling tampons & douches or Depends undergarments. Think of it. TV commercials that have an order of magnitude greater likelyhood that the advertiser will reach its target audience.

Recall the Carl’s Jr “If it doesan’t get all over the place” ad campaign. So many of my friends would comment about how lame it was. Later I read that it was a very popular ad among 20-something males–their precise target market. Right on, Carl! So Cox allows me to fill out a questionnaire. From that they could program my personal feed to show me the commercials relating to the crap I’d be willing to buy and avoid the wasted bits and bandwidth showing me stuff I’ll never be in the market for, like Maybelline products.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sure whatever, play the commercials on the TiVO – I’ll get up to go to the bathroom and get a drink, like I always have during commercials.

I don’t really mind commercials – in concept. The problem is how long they run and how frequently. I was watching something on CBS last night and felt like there was more commercial time than show time. I didn’t turn the TV on to watch an hour worth of commercials during a two hour show…. not worth it.

Thank gosh for TV on demand 🙂

SuckerPunch-tm says:

Re: Re:

Commercials are basically the reason i do not watch TV shows. Sure I will watch 10 or 8 or 6 minutes of a show (until they go to commercials) but then I switch to another program. With 500 channels available, I rarely make it back to the program.

I won’t watch movies on commercial TV AT ALL.

And for this semi-basketball fan, CBS ruined their chances of having me watch the games by going to commercial for EVERY. SINGLE. STOPPAGE. of play! It was ridiculous.

TV shows can do whatever they want to get people to watch commercials, but for me, the only commercials I watch are when the clicker falls too far from my reach or the batteries go dead.

Anonymous Coward says:

It would be nice to check out NEW commercials, but my current problem with what’s out there now is that they are mostly the same ones from 6 months ago and get played at just every break. It’s nice to see something new, but it’s very close to insulting to see an ad being played it’s 100th time around… especially if you are not it’s target demographic.

IckleRick says:

like ad sense on google

Try this again…stoopid enter key..

I know that google’s ad sense program has got me to click on advertising about 100 percent more often than those dumb flashing banner ads for things I’ll never be interested in. Maybe this is the first step in the TiVolution of commercial content. I would most certainly be more interested in a commercial if it spoke to an interest rather than blasting me with hype about something I have no intent in caring about.

slick says:

my tivo

I used to have a tivo and they I ALWAYS watched the “extra” content (which was just advertising). It was always pretty interesting. My favorite were the wierd feng shui commercials from best buy (I think). Another was a pseudo documentary about BMW.

Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have every commercial on TV today be an on demand type commercial? It would force advertiser to stop being lazy and actually make them try and convince us why we should by their product instead of their competitors. Today most commercials for sub $50 products are just trying to shove their products in our face so that when we get to the store we remember their name.

Anonymous Coward says:


Dear Content Providers:

I sometimes watch TV that I have recorded on my tivo, and almost always skip the commercials. The only exception to that is the superbowl (tm?), when i skipped through the game to watch the fun and imaginative commercials.

Please, in the future, require that your advertisers to come up with content that is at least as entertaining as the show. those of us with tivos will be more likely to watch the commercials that you make your livelyhood on, and possibly even more apt to BUY what we see in the commercial.

See how that works? No tricks needed. No expensive gimmicks required. No bullshit legislation wanted. No need to attempt to cripple our ability to skip commercials. Just content, commercial or otherwise, that is entertaining to watch, doesn’t insult the intelligence of the viewer, and is something that we don’t have to ever think about. After all, that’s why we own TVs.


somebody who will never buy products from companies with annoying commercials

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »