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Skipping irritating commercials at the push of a button. Is the end nigh for TV Advertising?
By Ed Gichia


Skipping irritating commercials at the push of a button. Is the end nigh for TV Advertising?
By Ed Gichia
TV commercials are without a doubt, the most popular and effective of all mass media advertising forms. Coupled with all kinds of marketing techniques such as catchy jingles and melodies, animation, special effects, as well as injecting humor, makes advertising a powerful marketing tool. Testament to this is the existence of the cutthroat commercials industry and exorbitant advertising fees companies are willing to splurge to convince millions of viewers to buy their products. Think of a 30-second spot during the annual Super bowl that can cost about 2.5 million dollars. This has come a long way from the very first commercial aired in July 1941, when Bulova Watch Company paid WNBT a trifle US $9.

Most ads run from a few seconds to a several minutes, including program-length infomercials. This advertising is so powerful such that virtually everything has been sold on television, from household goods and services to successful political campaigns. Its visual impact has attained unprecedented heights. Television advertising has greatly influenced pop-culture and spawned a wave of memorable catch phrases such as “Where’s the beef?” and the classic Grape Nuts ad “Oh no, Mrs. Burke, I thought you were Dale”. Here comes the ugly lowdown of television. The social impact of these ever persistent and sometimes irritating television commercials cannot go unnoticed.

Successful television advertisements will strive to enhance appeal to home

viewers, hence the fashionable use of animated characters, sometimes combining them with real actors. Humor is also necessary to drive attention and enhance persuasion. advertisements are also widely used to interrupt shows with an aim of heightening suspense, particularly during key periods or “cliff-hanger” moments of the programme. However, the upsurge in volume of advertisements, at the expense of regular programming is considered an annoyance. This is compounded by constant repetition of a particular advertisement campaign over the duration of a television show.

The future of advertising is somewhat unpredictable. The advent of Personal Video recorders, allows users to record programs onto a hard disk, and enable them skip those commercials at will. However, advertisers, faced with this impending development, have devised some clever advertising strategies like placing their ads at the bottom of the viewing area. Other ingenious schemes devised include “in-your face” product placement promotions or covert advertising on popular shows. Times are not only tough but unpredictable. Yeah, sometimes we just wish we could do away with those pesky ads. A lot of people are buying more of those PVRs, and are relishing every moment of using them, without any regrets. Don’t forget the fact that the time slot allocation is very competitive and ridiculously expensive. Is it worthwhile for a small business to compete placing an ad on and paying a fortune? Most people would rather “fast-forward” using their Tivo or leave the room to grab a snack whenever a commercial shows up. Only time will tell what the future holds for advertising on television. Whatever, the outcome, we do not foresee a dearth of television advertising in future, but a proliferation of new marketing strategies like Ad gaming and Interactive advertising among others.
Ed Gichia is a Systems Analyst and Online marketer based in Nairobi. He frequently features top reviews in Entertainment sites including Marketing, Advertising and TV services in his resource MegaOnlineGuide.com.


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