February 16, 2007


Ad Hawk

Remember when we started taping shows to watch later? Time-shifting, I think they called it, though I never could figure out how to set the damned thing. I either taped the wrong channel, or the wrong time. It was around this time that I realized there isn't much on TV worth watching, let along capturing for later. I'm no TV snob - when I like something, I can sit mesmerized for hours watching shows back to back. Sopranos, Arrested Development, The Office, Jeopardy....

The big stink twenty years ago, and still, is that advertisers feared people would just zip through the ads. You think? That started a big kerfuffle on not only the value of ads, but also the cost. In the NYT today, they're exploding a common held belief that we all flip past them.

Maybe it's my age, but I always found when I watched a taped show, I still watched all the ads because I forgot to hit the fast forward button. My monkey brain has been trained to expect, and accept, advertising.

I don't mind great ads. I hate the annoying ones. We were watching something last night, and an ad came on with a big fishing boat tossing in the ocean, with large brawny men pulling up fishing nets. It was cool; I like things about the ocean and the outdoors. I watched it, and it was for GE desalination. I can't tell you what the show was, but I can remember the commmercial. How often does that happen?

I don't think advertisers should stress so much. Just make an ad that portrays whatever your product is being cut from a great white shark's belly, or something like that. I'd watch that. People are fascinated by sharks.

I like the little Geico lizard guy. My kids like the gophers, or whatever they are. Kittens have been moving toilet paper for eons. Keep out the someone-else's-idea-of-cute kids, and I'm good.

Until advertisers catch up with the technology, they're going to continue to find it harder and harder to measure what we actually absorb of their message. But we all have to buy stuff sometime - put it on sale, and keep out the infernal pop-ups.

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