Sunday, October 04, 2009

Reinvented TV commercials

The whole discussion about the death of TV commercials is missing several points. First, looking at any of the media research companies predictions for the next three to five years, one will realize that total TV viewership will slightly increase in North America (and even more globally), especially amongst young people. Second, TV viewership is shifting from the four networks to cable and from live to time-shifted. But even the time shifted total TV viewer hours will not be more than 20% of total viewing behavior in three to five years. Third, TV commercials will find more distribution channels than just the TV screen in the living room. A longer version can find its way on any of the Online video channels, or a modified version can be placed on any of the mobile applications, etc. TV commercials will not have just one format but multiple with channel specific versions and interpretations.

But the wrongly proclaimed decline of TV should not hinder marketers to entertain serious discussions about the changed role and design of most TV commercials. I predict a few major shifts of how TV commercial are designed and utilized:

  • More and more TV commercials will play on the humors side of communication, since it will promise a higher breakthrough rate than most other forms of 30 seconds entertainment. Commercials will be more entertainment oriented, since consumers can shift and ignore them as never before.
  • TV commercials will stronger embrace a smart communication of product benefits. A good example is the TV commercials for the iPhone applications versus the majority of all car commercials that shows a car driving on a street, either at night in a cool urban setting or during a beautiful day on the countryside.
  • TV commercials will become more “Call to Action” oriented. It is not at all about the traditional “Direct Response TV” make-up but rather about a clear drive for a particular action. This action will go beyond the call to visit a website or calling a particular phone number, it can entail a requested social behavior, a request to submit an idea, etc.
  • Any TV commercial will be more a brand and product film that gets transformed into a TV commercial, a Mobile phone spot, a Web spot, etc. The essence of it will be the same but its artistic and commercial application vastly different depending on the particular channel.

TV commercials are not dying but their structure will change dramatically over the next few years. The first ever commercial aired in 1941, and it will live on for much longer than most of us expect.


Anonymous funny insurance commercials said...

Well written. Yeah, commercials surely aren't dying. They can't, sometimes they are more enjoyable than actual TV shows. Btw, I have been spending a lot of time by watching insurance commercials lately, and created few articles about them. You are welcome to check them out.


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