Live Commercials Work Because They're Entertaining

from the advertising-is-content dept

One of the points we've been making for years is that advertising is content. That is, as people have more and more media options, advertisers can no longer assume they have a captive audience who will watch ads because they have nothing better to do. Rather, advertisers have to make their ads entertaining, so that people will want to watch them. The latest example of this is a New York Times article about how TV networks are bringing back the live commercial. For example, Jimmy Kimmel has been doing amusing live pitches for Nikon, Pontiac, and Quiznos on his late night show, and Jay Leno hosted a silly American Gladiators segment on his show to sell Klondike bars. Hollywood executives have a bad habit of viewing commercials as the spinach viewers have to eat in order to get the content they're actually interested in. But these examples illustrate that commercials don't have to be boring. With a little ingenuity, and funny pitchmen like Kimmel and Leno, commercials can be made interesting enough that consumers are actually interested in watching them. Part of the reason people hate commercials is that they're so repetitive, but live pitches can help break up the monotony by performing the pitch differently every time. And once commercials are actually interesting, the TiVo "problem" goes away, because even most consumers who have PVRs with commercial-skipping functions won't use them because they're actually interested in watching the commercials.

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Filed Under: ads, advertising is content, commercials, entertainment, live commercials, television

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  1. identicon
    Joe, 22 May 2008 @ 11:15pm

    nothing new (yawn)

    Back in 1951, fresh out of high school, I went to work in Hoboken for Lipton (tea, soup, etc). I worked in the Sales Dept of the home office. Through the late 40s and on through the 50s, Arthur Godfrey - a mean-spirited, lowlife who masqueraded as a jovial radio guy, the Howard Stern of his day, became rich and famous for his "spontaneous" rants that ridiculed the invisibility of the chicken in the powdered soup mix. He and Lipton became rich off of that. Actually, he'd begun a few years earlier out of desperation, a total lack of sponsors, by making believe he had a sponsor, a well known soap of the day, that he mocked. That attracted so much attention, the soap company actually did hire him. He then built a long and profitable radio and television career around the sponsor-mocking gimmick. But he still remained a nasty son of a bitch. In one incident that was never made public until this moment, he went out of his way to be cruel and insulting to children at a school based near his Falls Church, VA home that sheltered crippled orphans. I was there when the complaints poured in from the shelter staff. Lipton paid out some serious money to hush them up.

    Point is, live commercials, with a little or a lot of sponsor mockery, are not really new.

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