(this paragrah break brought to you by Doritos, Comcast, Loreal, EA, and Gatorade)
With TV viewership down by 15% (and thanks to DVR's, TV ad viewership down even further), it's no wonder that networks are trying to monetize every thin shred of our attention spans when they have a halfway decent show. The result, though, is that the viewing experience is just pushing people away. They get our eyeballs today, but tomorrow, I dunno, I think I'm going to fold some laundry and listen to a podcast.
It's just not worth it and the evidence is growing that viewers agree. This year, 2.5 million TV viewers went poof. NBC set a record last month for its least-watched week in 20 years and then broke that record a week later. Throwing more ads at viewers might shore up the revenue shortfall to some degree in the short run, but it certainly will not help this downward spiral in viewership. At some point it's between TV and the much more engaging and exciting video games category. Or how about TV vs. Hulu? TV vs. Mobile Entertainment? TV vs. sex with your fiance'. Still no ads in fellatio, thank goodness.
In the meantime, advertising agencies are quickly trying to learn how to thrive in a new environment, but aren't necessarily successful at shedding their TV ad mindset. In other words, they still think in terms of interruptions in a world where the viewer has plenty of ways to avoid them. The smart ones have figured out that they have to fundamentally change both their mindsets and their business models. It's not about interrupting, or product placement, or technology, or media. It's about behavior. It's about relationships.
Here's how brands traditionally behave:
1) They put customers on a pedestal.
2) Then they interrupt the customers when they’re doing something.
3) Bluster at customers instead of talking to them about the exaggerated benefits of the product
4) Cover their tracks with legal disclaimers.
5) Then stiff arm them with a wall of robots and phone trees.
It's time that big brands change their behavior. Stop thinking interruptions and TV and think about building relationships. If Madison Ave. can't figure it out, fuck em', do it yourself.
And while you're at it, please use your TV money to build a better product. Please.