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The 30-second TV Commercial is NOT dead!

March 5, 2009 Leave a comment

The television ad business is going through a major transition (along with everything else). If you’re in the biz, you’ve probably heard someone criticize “display advertising” (ads that simply run adjacent to content), of which the 30-second TV commercial is King. It’s the foundation for the ad business – more expensive to buy, produce and maintain than any other medium. But as recordable TV and broadband video become more widely accepted, the 30-second format is increasingly being cut / questioned by media planners and ad critics.

I work in national ad sales and can imagine what it must be like for my clients. Picture this – your firm spends $30,000 on 30-seconds of national commercial airtime (very cheap) plus $50k to produce a slick spot with all the right stuff (talent, voiceover, post production, talking fish, etc). You’re sitting at home watching 24 and your commercial comes on. But before you can say “hey, I paid for that”, your buddy grabs the remote and effortlessly fast forwards over your hard work and money. Ouch.

Online, it is a VERY different story. When you watch video online, one advertiser’s commercial is shown preceding the content you’re about to watch. You can’t fast forward or skip it. The client’s creative is left in tact, in its entirety. And I know that as a viewer myself, I gladly sit through video pre-rolls with no complaints. Why? Because I’VE ASKED to watch the content I’m about to receive on MY OWN time and I think it’s reasonable to watch 30-seconds of paid material for 24 minutes of free entertainment.

To all the media planners out there: Are your clients complaining about the impact of their 30-sec TVC?
Here’s the answer: ONLINE VIDEO PRE-ROLLS.

Things to consider with VPRs:
> SOV: It’s a new format and achieving high share of voice is easy as a first mover.
> IMPACT: With only one ad to watch per video, viewers are willing to pay more attention.
> TARGETING: Online, you can easily isolate by time, region or daypart (on television this is not so).
> FLEXIBILTY: VPRs are available in 7-sec, 15-sec or 30-sec formats.

So is the 30-second spot dead? NO. It’s just evolving with the technology that delivers it to the audience.

*** Let me close with a shout out to Jaffe’s book “Life After the 30-Second Spot” – I have not read it yet but look forward to getting to it. I’m sure his insight on this topic is far more expansive.

BR