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Friday, August 29, 2014

Beyond TV Commercial Avoidance


For the last few years, every several months I have posted something about the topic of TV commercial avoidance. Essentially, the argument goes like this: TV is not working as effectively as an advertising medium as it did a decade ago.  Reasons appear to be that nearly half of viewers have a time shifting device and tend to skip commercials during replays, a huge group (varies by demographic) is using another device while viewing (laptop, smartphone, or tablet) and misses many or most commercials, and  video options such as Netflix and Hulu or Hulu+ eliminate many TV spots. I still get push back from some creatives at agencies and a few broadcasters who say that if one creates a better commercial people will flock to it. To me, this is a child’s dream in the world of 2014. May I suggest that you leave it to the children?

I think that over the last few years that I have said enough about commercial avoidance. It is here to stay and will only increase given usage patterns and the addiction to mobile devices especially among the young. So, the realists out there at advertisers, agencies and broadcasters need to accept it but not give up on their medium. The new goal of the ad industry should be to get people to PAUSE on TV spots. Yes, the avoidance or ad skipping will always be there. You have to accept that. Focus on using technology to make TV work better for you. Right now, most TV advertisers simply send viewers to a brand website or Facebook page. Many, if not most, are generic and do not really relate to the specific commercial or campaign they just witnessed.

With mobile being the growth medium of the next decade (more on that in upcoming posts), advertisers need to use their TV spots to engage with it. The key is what many have dubbed “mobile activation.” Instead of sending a TV viewer to a sterile brand website, put some creative calls to action in your mobile efforts linked to responses from your TV work. Also, some now have a text at the bottom of the TV screen that offer coupons or special offers that you can activate with your phone. You will find over time that mobile activation can target consumers much better in terms of likelihood to buy and also find those who respond quickly.  Others are putting their long form You Tube videos on mobile which people can see when they respond to the TV spot.

The technology will keep getting stronger and the opportunities are boundless. Clearly, TV is weaker than it has been in past years. So, stop fretting over commercial avoidance or denying it and use TV and mobile as complimentary vehicles.

Much more to come on mobile.

If you would like to contact Don Cole directly, you may reach him at doncolemedia@gmail.com



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