Tuning Out the Ads

Nov 25, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Ads surface on the bottom third of the TV screen while a program airs, break up the flow of articles in a newspaper or stick out of the binding of a magazine. This constant knock-knock-knock against the collective consumer noggin once spurred cries of protest. No longer.
“The tolerance bar has gone way up,” said Dorian Sweet, executive creative director at Omnicom Group’s Tribal DDB.
Consumers may be resigned to the constant barrage, but is it just training them to tune out ad messages? Online, publishers and advertisers can mix content and commercialism as they like because surfers can click elsewhere. On TV and in print, that isn’t always the case, particularly as ads are laced further into the content people want to enjoy.
Cable’s Bravo is gearing up to test an L-shaped bar onscreen that could be used to deliver ad messages, while Viacom plans to place “commercial squeezes” at the bottom of screens on some MTV Networks channels.
“The way people behave in their use of media has changed. They are used to having a lot more stuff” in front of them, said Jan Leth, vice chairman of global digital creative at WPP Group’s Ogilvy.
But squeezing more ads into a finite space has repercussions. “It’s distracting. It’s frustrating, and you feel helpless,” said Robert Weissman of Commercial Alert, which monitors ad creep.
One other pitfall: Consumers will grow resistant to marketing’s new strain.


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