The future of the TV commercial is from the past

The 30 second commercial is dead. Right ?

THe smart money is leaving TV and heading straight for the net, mobile, anything non traditional. TV money dumb. All other money smart. Thats is todays conventional wisdom.

I think the traditional commercial break will be the salvation of TV.

Crazy. How can I say that you say. What is my logic you ask.

Well, I would make one big change. I would make commercials live productions.

Thats right, live commercials. Straight out of the 1950s.

Its not a technical challenge. Its easy.

Its not a creative challenge.

Its just more work. A lot more work. But the possibilities are endless. The mutations, intentional or otherwise are endless.

It could be simple endorsement, actor talking to audience, but that would be a waste of the medium.

Call it Reality Commercials.

Give me a shampoo commercial that shows some good looking models talking about how Mandisa just got booted from American Idol, because of her hair. ” If she had hair like this” (model does obligatory shampoo commercial hair flip) full, shiny, beautiful hair like only Pantene offer, she would have gotten picked.” Models all pull out their Pantene shampoo, hold it to the camera and smile. Except for the blonde, who pulls out her fake tanning tube.

Or maybe after the kicker misses a field goa, and we cut to the Levitra commercial.. Cue former player “If that guy would have hit that field goal, his wife would have been all over him to celebrate, but this late in the season, performance on the field and off can be tough. When I played, Iused Levitra. And you know what ? When I had a 4 hour erection, I put that shit to work. I didnt call a doctor. Hell no. My girlfriend… I mean my wife, loved it ” scroll news ticker with disclaimers and warnings.

Would you ever fast forward through a commercial knowing that the next one could be a classic ?

And of course it would work for recorded shows as well.

The show Las Vegas goes to commercial. We see a bunch of guys sitting around the living room watching Vegas. We see Mary Connell, played by Nikki Cox paused on the screen. Guy 1 with the remote “Would Yeah ?” other guys in unison:”Hell yes”. Guy 1: “She wouldnt give you the time of day unless you were wearing Rave. The all over fragrance that women like Mary love. (He tosses Rave Spray to Guy 3. Guy 3 looks at it and smiles knowingly”

Guy 2: (direct to camera): “Hey you. Step away from the remote. The Pistons beat the Heat 95 to 82. The Steelers beat the Bucs 19-13. The game just ended. Cool ? Ok back to the couch , and when your girl comes back from the bathroom.. say something nice “

Now those are commercials that would keep peoples attention. You would never know exactly what would happen. 30 seconds of fun.

Bring back the 50s to TV

93 thoughts on “The future of the TV commercial is from the past

  1. Super powerleveling 60-70 Grand Marshal\’s or High Warlord\’s weapon package:wow powerleveling
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    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  2. sorry for the dupe.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  3. That’s a good idea, so you can watch comercials just like you watch your regular programs, like it’s done in the internet. I think it’s going to be the trend.

    Comment by Mike -

  4. It might not be “live commercials” but TV shows continuing to adapt to new ad landscape …

    AP article today on the increased use of product placement in TV shows– http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060517/ap_en_tv/tv_integrated_ads (“Ads Put Into Shows Worry TV Producers”)

    […During the week that broadcast networks introduce their new fall shows to advertisers, the producers held a news conference Wednesday to demand networks talk to them about being included in discussions about product integration…

    Product placement — a can of soda casually placed on a table while the characters are standing around it — has been a part of TV for decades, usually creating little controversy. Producers John Wells of “ER” and Neil Baer of “Law & Order: SVU” say they’re worried about being forced to use products in their stories in ways that make them look silly.

    There’s increased pressure toward integrated ads from several directions. Advertisers are worried that digital video recorders are encouraging more and more consumers to fast-forward through commercials. Between dwindling viewership and increased competition from the Internet, networks are anxious to keep their sponsors happy…]

    Comment by JohnD -

  5. I’m responding to your posts about live advertising. I work for Leo Burnett (ad agency) in London. There’s no reason you should know this, but in 2005 we worked with the cast and crew of the show ‘Saturday Night Fever’ in London’s West End to put live advertising into a one off performance for UK charity, Comic Relief. Lots of our clients allowed us use their brands on the night and we created live ads and product placement for all kinds of them – from Heinz Beanz to McDonald’s Big Macs to Kellogg’s Coco Pops.

    It was a great night and we raised lots of money for Comic Relief in ticket sales and by charging clients for ‘stage time’. Everyone had a lot of fun.

    You can find out more if you click on this link:
    http://www.leoburnett.co.uk/extras/snf.asp

    Comment by Liz -

  6. Inventive as usual Cuban. Just one caveat. Ultimately the value of the commercial should be measured in how it enhances the brand, not necessarily how memorable or entertaining the spot is.

    Comment by Tre Pryor -

  7. i can see how this would make people watch more commercials, but i’m not sure if it would make them buy more of the advertised products. if i saw some of the spots suggested above, i’d think “OK that’s really lame”. i mean, if you tell me that schumacher would’ve won the grand prix a minute earlier if he drank pepsi instead of coke, of course i’d think “no, he wouldn’t have.” they’d need to be more clever. but you need more time to come up with something clever. so basically you’d end up preproducing several versions of your spot and deciding on which version to show at the last possible moment. this technology is being worked on anyway, it’ll also allow advertisers to show different spots in different areas, to tailor them to the demographics in each respective area.

    Comment by nex -

  8. However effective product placement sends out the subtle marketing messages with the appeal that our favorite shows are virtually endorsing the products.

    Comment by Air -

  9. A step beyond even live commercials and a merger of Internet TV w/ unconventional advertising techniques …

    From tomorrow’s (4/24/06) “International Herald Tribune”:

    “Anyone with a broadband Internet connection can already watch television shows or listen to the radio on a personal computer, sometimes without the intrusion of advertising. Now some marketers, worried about a world in which they can no longer rely on TV commercials to get their messages across, are taking matters into their own hands, starting their own ‘channels’ on the Internet.

    Land Rover, the brand of British sport utility vehicles owned by Ford Motor, this month introduced what it billed as the first broadband television channel run by a car company. It features an around-the-clock schedule of packaged multimedia programming, interspersed with ads for the Land Rover brand, accessible via a special Web site … ”

    (source: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/04/23/business/ad24.php)

    Comment by JohnD -

  10. http://www.scievents.com/redbutton/

    Microsoft is coming out with a box you hook up to your tv and the computer will feed to it so, you can watch the internet.

    Comment by Wild Flower -

  11. I guess I missed it in the media when someone stated that “The 30 second commercial is dead.” But it seems my company (Accenture) and Mark didn’t. Thought I’d pass along this article that came out about the same time Mark made this post. Thought readers (or Mark) might find this interesting as a followup.

    http://www.accenture.com/Global/Research_and_Insights/Outlook/By_Issue/Y2006/WhySame.htm

    Comment by Aaron -

  12. No, You would do ‘context’ ads that were scripted but made reference to what was being shown, whether it was sports or entertainment programming.

    Comment by Qifa -

  13. Mark Cuban fancies himself as a “jack of all trades; master of all” To be fair, he’s earned a ton of respect from various successful ventures in his past and present.

    One of his said fancies is to prognosticate on the future of media, marketing and advertising.

    Take his current post which seems to be playing to rave reviews across the blogosphere. His suggestion? Make TV commercials live. Live productions in fact. Or as he calls it, “Reality Commercials”

    Give me a shampoo commercial that shows some good looking models talking about how Mandisa just got booted from American Idol, because of her hair. ” If she had hair like this” (model does obligatory shampoo commercial hair flip) full, shiny, beautiful hair like only Pantene offer, she would have gotten picked.” Models all pull out their Pantene shampoo, hold it to the camera and smile. Except for the blonde, who pulls out her fake tanning tube.

    Give me a break. This is quite possibly one of the worst ideas I’ve heard in a very long time. Worse than the networks who deny the fact there’s even a problem.

    OK. Let’s take a step back. I’m all for learning from the past, but going back 50 years and calling it “classic” has severe flaws. This is part of the justification being used for the explosion of production placement….hey it worked 50 year’s ago on Texaco Theatre, so why shouldn’t it work now?

    BECAUSE THE CONSUMER HAS CHANGED! THAT’S WHY…THEY’RE NOT AS GULLIBLE, NAIVE AND WAITING FOR US TO INTRUDE ON THEIR LIVES WITH MEANINGLESS, IRRELEVANT AND INSULTING SELL-SPEAK.

    The answer is to make advertising relevant again, through the combination of relevant targeting (or self targeting), utilitarian value, and of course a stronger entertainment factor (creative quality)

    It is only on the entertainment front that Cuban’s idea holds any water (the question is…how much water?)

    I also don’t believe his suggestion is original at all. Take the Super Bowl. Isn’t that the quintessential live commercial and production? Or P&G with the People’s Choice Awards. Also Cable has done a fairly good job of these human interludes….take TBS’ Dinner and a Movie, which cuts to commentary (not live though) through the ad breaks.

    The biggest problem with Cuban’s idea is not in the idea itself, but in its execution; the very rot that threatens us all…laziness, simplicity aka scaleability. Unless you are American Idol, which itself is already bursting at the seams with product placement/branded integration, how the hell are you going to put on 20-odd reality commercials NIGHTLY?

    I applaud the fact Mark is trying to figure out a solution, but I’m just not convinced that the solution involves turning back time. That said, perhaps there is some kind of middle ground, but in order for that to work….we’d have to experiment with a fairly healthy audience-sized show and make the following changes:

    1) Eliminate ALL the “terrestrial” commercials. If this is going to work, the new vignettes are going to have to stand alone and not add to the existing clutter

    2) I might start off with a live production, but for the most part this is a red herring. Being relevant is much more important than being live. Never mind the pangs of repeats and syndication….think scaleability once again. Live might work for top 10 shows, but that’s probably it.

    3) Especially if the vignettes are going to be live – but in general – make it worthwhile for the viewers. Use time-sensitive calls-to-actions/offers; consider the introduction of Easter Eggs (TiVo would be a huge boon here)

    4) Focus the vignettes on CONTENT i.e. resist the urge to blatantly sell stuff to people who don’t want to be sold to at 8.30pm.

    5) Consider cross-marketing of these vignettes with same-networks. For example, a mini-interview with American Idol’s Katharine McPhee during the O.C. sponsored by Pantene (all obviously on FOX) Not only would this help drive collective network tune-in, there’d also be less white noise (we’re waiting to hear who got voted off, so why are we sitting through Axe telling us how much sexier Ace would be if he wore the Deodorant)

    I’m sure there’s more here…and again, kudos to Cuban for getting the ball rolling. I would say, focus on the Mavericks’ NBA title hopes and let the experts take it from here, but the so-called experts have done such a lousy job thus far, that suggestions should be taken from all anyone, anywhere, anytime.

    Back to you Mark…

    Comment by Joseph Jaffe -

  14. I just saw Lindsey Lohan screw up her lines on SNL and it was pretty funny. Not as classic as the little Simpson, but still pretty fun.

    Comment by Jason -

  15. Would there be a 5 minute delay just in case of the rogue nipple slip while the blondes reach for their shampoo?

    Comment by Gabriel Gates -

  16. I think the idea is quite good and defines just the future of this and other things to come in a medium once defined by folks that had humble beginnings.

    With iTV video over over mobile looking to take center stage along with a plethora of content through the Internet, there is now a convergence renaissance going on that is greater than the sum of its parts could ever have defined.

    I think that Mark’s idea is so sound that I will create a channel over my own network (currently on Internet, IPTV and mobile with a channel over satellite by September) with some of our current advertisers (engine integrated in two weeks) and play with the 32 million e-mails we have in our system and get back to you with the results.

    For those that think this will not work, may want to take a look int he mirror and ask themselves – Am I really a covergence follower according to cable and TV networks or a convergence leader according to the wild west of the interactive approach of what consumers are looking for? I know…most of you have never ran a company or know what it truly means to lose your jobs…so I see why most of you farts play it safe by throwing egg at anything an outsider says…no matter who they are!

    I have proved many wrong in the past, and the same is happening even today.

    Rock on Mark! and continued success…

    iTV Pioneer,

    Krystol Cameron
    860-799-2040

    Comment by Krystol Cameron -

  17. Sports advertising of the past and future, product placement and not live commercials …

    “Virtual signage, advertising that is digitally inserted in the broadcast feed but does not appear at the stadium, has been commonplace — especially in the area behind home plate — for the past four seasons.” (source: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/sportsbusiness/news/story?id=1795742)

    (Flashbck: Cuban on “Advetising on Uniforms” http://www.blogmaverick.com/entry/1234000067045196)

    Comment by JohnD -

  18. This sounds like a phenomenal concept and I would stay tuned without question. Who wants to start the first production company???

    Comment by Brad Newman -

  19. Apparently the era of live commercials is here, only on the live theatre stage, not the tv.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=1830980&page=1

    -John

    Comment by John Frost -

  20. haha, john that old add was hilarious. id love to find dout more about it.

    as for the commercials, its a great idea. that way they’d still be on the versions of the show people download from the internet, so you wont have the hesitation to advertise based on people just watching on their computers. i’m sure something like this will happen. either that, or the tv stations will have to offer all of their shows to download for free on the internet, witht something built in to stop from fastforwarding past commercials.

    Comment by kent macdonald -

  21. Here’s what happens when commercials are live…

    http://www.devilducky.com/media/44282/

    Comment by John -

  22. Prodigy used to do this in the early days of online services, back before anyone really knew what the Internet was, maybe ’94 or ’95?

    They’d just have a talking head guy talk at his computer, but it would be at halftime of a football game or something and he’d refer somehow to the game and say, “you know, if you were on Prodigy, you could get live stats about the game as it happens…, etc.”

    It was definitely something that caught your attention, and of course it was just the beginning of Prodigy’s reign as the king of all online services:/

    Comment by Justin McHenry -

  23. Its still done on radio, so why not. But it does remind me of all those cigarette commercials from the 50s, actors saying I choose this brand and dying from it 30 years later.

    Comment by RJ -

  24. The better idea is to just make commercials to be taped to appear live. This is already being done very efficiently at Ron Sherman Advertising(RonShermanadv.org). The idea is simply just to buy several spots in the same television show and appear interactive with what is going in the show. People constantly are tricked into thinking the commercials are really being done live. You have to remember that your target audience isn’t on the same level of understanding with technology and marketing as a whole. Sometimes thinking unconventionally or outside the box can quickly be turned into overanalyzing something more than necessary. Another point to consider is that advertising through television still works great for the majority of products so asking companies to change their entire system to make advertising more entertaining just isn’t likely to happen. To be honest, if I’m selling my product and making a large profit I’m not that worried if there are people out there who find the commercials boring. If you don’t have the budget for television than sometimes you can make a niche on the internet marketing and selling your product.

    I don’t really want to have anything else I watch be turned into “Reality” anything because I think the whole idea has been dragged on and beaten to death. People complain about commercials being boring and too long but thats mostly due to the fact that you can find people who will complain about just about anything. I think there are alot of companies that make very funny commercials and should continue todo what they do. I would say ESPN, Capital One, Milwaukee’s Best, and Budweiser all do a great job marketing their products. If commercials are so bad than why do we look forward to commercial breaks during sporting events like the Super Bowl?

    On another note if the system did change I had a thought on what I would do. Since typical television shows have 20 minutes of show time and 10 minutes of commercials, why not cut out the commercial time and make there be three 20 minute shows. The advertising would be done by small on-screen ads. For example say its 7:30 or 8 at night and your watching your favorite show then a revolving ice-cold Budweiser bottle is revolving as it makes its way along the bottom of the screen. Honestly tell me you wouldn’t suddenly have the desire to have a beer right then and there. Just a thought but who knows…

    Comment by Ron Jumper -

  25. Reuters article today suggests viewership of commercials is now being more closely tracked–

    http://tv.yahoo.com/news/va/20060411/114480497000.html;_ylt=A0Je55hxMjxE1H4B2ASRsVoB

    “U.S. television networks are devising new ways to measure how closely Americans are watching commercials, as the industry battles the Internet and other new media for advertising dollars.”

    Whether live commercials or something else this will likely encourage industry change.

    Comment by JohnD -

  26. Censorship would take the wind straight out of the sails of this idea. They don’t let anything on anymore.

    Comment by Will Gro -

  27. I hope some companies go for it, it would be more fun to watch.

    Just a few weeks ago I was struck with a nearly identical idea for advertising online. I blogged about it here: http://www.gekkoblogs.com/archives/blog-experts-speak-108-a-new-idea-in-blog-ads.html

    Comment by Henry Abbott -

  28. cool idea. we are definitely missing some originality in all media forms.

    Comment by Rob -

  29. Sorry for 2nd post. Publishers Clearing House wanted to do a live commercial after the SuperBowl for the annoncement of the winner, and be right at the person’s house. Cost was prohibitive, and we could not demonstrate there was a greater value LIVE than taped. Also the network would not allow LIVE. PCH ended up taping the segment to appear LIVE.

    My sense is that as long as advertisers want to control the environment that their products appear in , they will accept the dimishined ratings and higher costs of tradtional network and cable tv fare. Those whose brands can embrace the risk, will seek out venues that value the spontanaiety and attraction of a LIVE commercial.

    Comment by Matt -

  30. Live tv is compelling because the outcome is unknown. Something will not go off as planned. Advertisers willing to accept that RISK will benefit.

    Comment by Matt -

  31. Live tv is compelling because the outcome is unknown. Something will not go off as planned. Advertisers willing to accept that RISK will benefit.

    Comment by Matt -

  32. Sorry for the second post, but Mark, great idea. Seriously.
    Charles Barkley hawking cheetos.. . Live !! Wonderful !!!

    Comment by Juji -

  33. Sorry. this is a late responce to an earlier comment (which is too far up for me to scroll to now), but stop saying “Janet Jackson Fiasco” !!! You’re just adding to the problem. Drop it. Call it the “The FCC’s and the Middle’s Janet Jackson Nonsense”. Call it the “split second that no one should have paid attention to anyway because seriously, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.. . you are all sheep, waiting sitting around waiting to be shaved or slaughtered in Iraq”. I’m somtimes (well, not this last year) entertained by the commercials, but the halftime performance. Give me a break !! That is, and now always will be (because of stupid backlash of a nipple) time to get a beer.. . and not Bud or Coors. Get a real beer, or better yet (and by better I mean “don’t be a wuss), pour yourself a cocktail !

    Comment by Juji -

  34. With respect to ABC’s announcement today that certain programs will be available on-line
    (comments 51 + 56 on this thread), Mr. Cuban discussed last fall ABC’s initial decision to sell programs through the ITunes Store–

    http://www.blogmaverick.com/entry/1234000617063228

    Comment by JohnD -

  35. Hi Mark – great post. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the Disney-Internet content site, where DIS will post its most popular shows, with commericals, for free on the ‘net after the shows air. Wouldn’t this tsrategy cannibalize their other models for deriving revenues from content like Grey’s Anatomy (i.e., DVD’s, syndication, etc.)? Looking forward to reading your thoughts on the subject. Take care..

    Comment by Aaron Koral -

  36. speaking of commercials. Check out this site…
    http://www.spotrunner.com

    I thought their new approach to a conventional service was rather interesting.

    Comment by dsong -

  37. Product placement is going to increase drastically, but we don’t really want a return to the 50s.

    Why? Because our shows will become less life like. As improbably beautiful and witty as our sitcom charactars are, at least their general behaviour somewhat mirrors real life. We don’t want them taking time outs to plug shampoo in the middle of the show, in character, on the set.

    Comment by Aidan -

  38. Mark,

    This is a very cool idea!

    I think what you’ve tapped into is the real power that TV has always possessed–The power to get people of divergent interests connected on the same page at the same time.

    I think market fragmentation only appears to be a problem for advertisers because they still look at it from “the demographics should be static” dinosaur paradigm from the 1950s. Today, we are more about trying to create individualized meaning rather than buying into the “segment” ideology our socioeconomic status should equal. People are empowered and connected and they want the stuff that validates who they are at this point in time.

    The idea of “Eyeballs” equating to ROI assumes people are living according to the same ideal and the marketer has them all in a captive state, so therefore they’ll all follow the message. We both know that it’s far from reality. But interestingly, being of different interests and having a common interest like a live TV event is more appealing in a world where meaningful connections are becoming rare.

    In fact, the more we persue our individualized interests, the more we look for others who share our common ideals in time and space (the proliferation of social networks can speak to that).

    So in essence, fragmentation from a traditional marketer’s worldview is actually more convergent points leading to marketing opportunity in the interconnected world.

    TV is the best example of a medium designed to increase points of convergence. I think your idea of live commercials represent the things people need most to share meaning…share context. A live event is an experience, and that’s what we all connect on–shared experiences.

    I even see fan following for certain brands in the same way we have fan following for TV shows. You’ve just exemplified what I’ve been saying for years about how we must move from advertising interrupting content, to advertising being integrated with content to now advertising being indistingushable from content.

    I think live commercials (with a modern twist) is exactly that: Advertising indistinguishable from content. Right on!

    Wish you all the best in making this idea reality. If can help in any way, don’t hesitate to ask…

    Comment by Ray Podder -

  39. – Your right, T.V. is much better than Online advertising, Online advertising is at a bubble right now where you can’t make money if your running on a low margin. I sell Pallet Jacks online!?, if you don’t think it is hard to push online, something that cost 15% of the total product to ship, and people can’t feel the product.. – The point Im working on a 10-19% profit margin, if a click cost me 70 cents and it takes 30 to sell one, that is 21$ out of the 90 or so I make per pallet jack. The point – a long awaited buble is coming for PPC advertising. I also think Goog will see 350 before 450 …

    — As for Live commercials? – Umm, I don’t think I would listen to them more than any other commercial, The whole subconcious behind consumerisum is that ” I am not! going to listen to someone sell me something…” I mean

    —I think there is more of a trend to NATURAL advertising, where you blend commercials into T.V. Shows- and co brand everything, from the mic on the stage, –

    Thanks for listening, Richard Bowles

    Comment by Richard Bowles -

  40. Disney Will Offer Many TV Shows Free on the Web — ABC’s Prime-Time Hits And Zap-Proof Commercials Are Pillars of Bold Strategy

    By Brooks Barnes
    1379 words
    10/04/2006
    The Wall Street Journal
    A1
    English
    (Copyright (c) 2006, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
    Walt Disney Co. plans to make much of its newest and most popular programming on ABC and other channels available free anytime on the Web, in a move that could speed the transformation of television viewing habits and help revive the struggling TV advertising business.

    On April 30, ABC will unveil a revamped Web site that will include a “theater” where people with broadband connections can watch free episodes of “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost” and other hit shows on their computers. Episodes will be available the morning after they air and will be archived so people can eventually view a whole season. A Disney Channel version with five shows will start in June, and an ABC Family version is also planned. Disney’s Soapnet cable channel will start offering programs free on its Web site, Soapnetic, on April 17.

    Episodes of the ABC shows — which can be paused, rewound and fast-forwarded — will contain commercial breaks that viewers can’t skip, making Disney hopeful it has figured out a way to turn the delivery of programs over the Web into a profit-generating business. Ten advertisers, including Ford Motor Co., Procter & Gamble, Universal Pictures and Unilever, already have signed up.

    The initiative, to be announced today by Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney-ABC Television Group, marks a watershed: the first time a TV company is offering major prime-time shows free online without restriction. Until now, networks have brokered limited piecemeal deals in a bid to keep business partners happy and their traditional business models intact. CBS Corp. has come the closest to what Disney is planning, offering rentals of “Survivor” episodes on CBS.com for 99 cents.

    But so far, none of the other big TV networks have hinted at plans comparable to ABC’s. The strategy at CBS is to make its TV shows available on as many platforms as possible — including cellphones — while General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal is developing unique programming for the Internet. News Corp.’s Fox is seeking to move shows online in a way that shares revenue with affiliates.

    Nearly anyone with a computer and a broadband connection will be able to watch Disney’s TV offerings online. Still, Disney is putting such a huge volume of programming online that some analysts say it could spur sales of media-rich computers, as well as devices that transmit Internet content to be watched on most types of TV sets. “All this area needs to explode is enough top-notch content,” says Brad Adgate, senior vice president at Horizon Media, a New York consulting firm.

    Online streaming — the technology of broadcasting video programming over the Web — has been an area of great untapped potential for the TV industry. The possibilities were underscored by the success of CBS’s online streaming of the NCAA basketball tournament in recent weeks. The “cable bypass,” as CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves calls it, could have dire implications for cable and satellite purveyors because it has the potential to cut off the revenue they receive for delivering programming. Making shows available online also could undercut the on-demand services cable operators are rolling out.

    The ABC initiative reflects a sharp turnaround at Disney’s television unit. Two years ago, ABC was the last-place network, and cable properties such as ABC Family were in a slump. Then Chief Executive Robert Iger, who has become unexpectedly aggressive in digital media, grouped all of the company’s TV units under one umbrella.

    Disney’s Ms. Sweeney installed a new management team and streamlined operations from creative development to marketing and publicity. The result has been the launch of monster hits across the division, from “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC to the Disney Channel’s “High School Musical.” Just two new shows — “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” — are expected to generate $1 billion in syndication revenue over the next five years.

    The group has also emerged as the leader of the TV pack in digital media. Disney was the first to offer both broadcast and cable shows for download on iPods, cutting a deal with Apple Computer Inc. in just three days last fall.

    “It would have required excruciating coordination before the merger,” Ms. Sweeney says. “When you take down the walls and everybody on the team is living in the same world, things can happen quickly.”

    Offering so much content online will probably ruffle some feathers. ABC affiliates, long accustomed to exclusive broadcast rights to new shows, are already griping that they don’t profit from the network’s deal with Apple. It could also fuel a fight with Hollywood unions, which are starting to talk strike over how artists are compensated as the networks’ business models evolve.

    Other networks and studios with more conservative philosophies about opening their film and TV vaults might feel pressured to emulate Disney. Apple, by contrast, is unlikely to feel much of a threat because consumers won’t be able to download the free programs onto portable devices.

    Though Disney doesn’t believe offering shows online will undercut DVD sales, big retail partners such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. may argue otherwise. Disney’s strategy also includes eventually offering permanent downloads. Albert Cheng, executive vice president of digital media for the Disney-ABC Television Group, says the company is exploring allowing viewers to download shows for various fees. For example, a show with no ads might cost $1.99, while a show with fewer ads might cost 99 cents.

    Disney refers to the ABC.com launch on April 30 as a test, starting with a handful of programs, including “Alias,” “Commander in Chief,” and “Lost,” eventually expanding the menu.

    As part of an effort to engage the online community, viewers from around the country will be able to gather in “rooms” online to watch an episode of, say, “Lost” and chat about it. Disney will also promote the creation of fan sites for various shows. “We want to tie all of these fan sites closer to our brand,” Mr. Cheng says.

    The ads won’t look like typical TV commercials. For starters, instead of five commercial breaks during an hourlong episode, there will be three breaks lasting a minimum of one minute each — all of them from the same advertiser. Mike Shaw, ABC’s president of sales, says viewers will have a choice of what type of ad to watch — for instance, a traditional video commercial or an interactive “game” commercial.

    Mr. Cheng says the company is looking for ways to give affiliates a piece of the action. “Do we share ads? Do we try and push traffic to each other’s Web sites? We just haven’t nailed down the right formula for that yet,” he says.

    Key to Disney’s online TV strategy is to keep tight control of programs, which rules out partnerships with companies such as Google Inc. that are moving into video on demand. Disney’s decision to manage streaming of its programming was reinforced when Google had technical trouble when first offering episodes of CBS’s “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” for rental in January.

    “The worst thing you can do is put up one of your great franchises and then have the technology not work and your viewers frustrated,” Ms. Sweeney says. CBS has said it considers the experiment to be a low-risk success.

    While its ABC hits have the highest profile, Disney wanted to move quickly with Disney Channel and Soapnet offerings, too, because both cable networks have been sizzling of late.

    “High School Musical,” an original Disney Channel movie that premiered in January, has given the network the best ratings in its 23-year history. Five series will be available in the DisneyChannel.com “theater” at launch, incl

    Comment by Chief -

  41. These commercials don’t sound good to me. They sound worse than the commercials we’re already innundated with.

    Look what reality TV has done to our airwaves… now reality commercials would do the same thing? No thanks. They’re too much like infomercials, which are the LOWEST form of TV advertising.

    I agree that something new, different or refreshing has to happen… but I don’t think the solution you’ve outlined here is the answer.

    Comment by John -

  42. I have another “think out of the box” idea;
    why not hire an N.B.A. coach off the streets;
    to further narrow it down,go to skid row,and hire the
    first person you see talking to himself.
    Cuban,just because an idea is not conventional,
    doesn’t make it brilliant.
    Advertising is trying to optomize sales,not be clever.

    Comment by Ron Stevens -

  43. That’s good idea. I hope TV magnats will hear it

    Comment by Ed -

  44. Aren’t you missing the whole point of why people are moving their money out of TV? It’s not because commercials aren’t entertaining. It’s because consumers are sick to the back teeth of being talked at. I can’t believe, in early 2006, that people are still having to point this out. Dialogue, not monologue. As well you should know.

    Comment by Rob -

  45. Mark,

    I think you might be sitting in yoru office laughing about all the buzz on this one.🙂

    Seth Godin talks about how old TV commercials are way out of whack. I know you contributed to “the big moo” and as such assumed you shared his thougths on this. based on this post however I am not sure. care to comment on that?

    All the best.

    Comment by Niclas Gustavsson -

  46. I disagree, Mark.

    The future of commercials depends on technological innovation.

    When my girlfriend can use the remote control to “click” on, say, the blue jeans Paris Hilton is wearing and be directed to, or “bookmark”, informational content regarding the product — which obviously will also contain an offer to “buy now” — commercials will have traversed from “spam” to “content”.

    Regards,

    “Quotation Mark Guy”

    Comment by anonymous text field -

  47. Great idea Mark. I know I’d pay attention at least somewhat if there was a chance that there would be a mess up.

    Comment by Jim Kukral -

  48. I had been doing a lot of thinking about the future of television as far as source of revenue and advertising is concerned. I had blogged (http://hunterdjohnson.wordpress.com/2006/03/22/dvr-tivo-and-the-future-of-tv/) about the effect of DVRs on their business model a couple of weeks ago. My theory is that databases of what households view will be formed and commercials will be more specific to that demographic. Households watching the same channel could potentially view different commercials.

    Comment by HUnter -

  49. I couldn’t agree more.

    Comment by funny shirts -

  50. To engage the audience truly, I prefer marketing campaigns that do product placement inside the show that I am watching. I find these to be highly more effective with the advancements in Tivo and/or DVR’s. I hardly ever watch a commercial any more with the exception of the ones forwarded to me from friends and family because they’re relevant and hilarious. However effective product placement sends out the subtle marketing messages with the appeal that our favorite shows are virtually endorsing the products. For example last week during the Sopranos, AJ gets a job at Blockbuster. It’s a good marketing opportunity for Blockbuster who hires tons of high school kids to man their video rental business. Also it’s not flagrant advertising as a commercial is. I immediately question the validity of any marketing or sales capaign via commercials and or slogans to ‘catch my attention’. But I subconsciously register the product placement icons in my favorite movies and/or television shows. I need to watch less television for sure.

    Comment by Lindi -

  51. I like it. Toss it into the mix.

    Comment by Chuck Nyren -

  52. good!

    Comment by imdb -

  53. we delivers cakes,chocolates,flowers,gifts to your love once.

    Comment by raman -

  54. That’s the only way to “save” television from itself. It’s not as if consumers don’t respond to ads online; they’re just more tolerant of them because they get ads relevant to their unique needs, desires, whatever. And they’re easily ignorable, unlike most tv commercials.

    Comment by runescape money -

  55. Narrowcasting is the future of advertising… ads are only annoying when they’re irrelevant to the viewer, which is often the case on broadcast television because you have no way to narrow down the demographic. Google-style contextual ads, fed from some kind of super server of video ads and plugged in to each viewer’s television program based on a holistic view of their viewing and purchasing habits would be much more effective than live commercials.

    TARGET TARGET TARGET. That’s the only way to “save” television from itself. It’s not as if consumers don’t respond to ads online; they’re just more tolerant of them because they get ads relevant to their unique needs, desires, whatever. And they’re easily ignorable, unlike most tv commercials.

    Which doesn’t mean they’re any less effective- in fact just the opposite, because the ads are always there waiting for the viewer to take a break from the content on the screen and make her own diversion, when she wants it, instead of being forced to watch 30 seconds of something when she is ready to focus on the content. Compelling content in the ads themselves can motivate an Internet surfer to take a side trip for a while and participate with a brand message and maybe even make a purchase.

    From the marketer’s side, this is the perfect advertising also because it’s so trackable. Small tweaks in the creative can be measured against the results they produce.

    Comment by Mark -

  56. Yes, I can just imagine it… with live reality TV shows being a hit, I woundn’t see why live reality like commercials to be the next hit… if it is entertaining, sure I’ll watch it.

    Comment by George Polizogopoulos - Stock Trader -

  57. If the future of the TV commercial is from the past, I would guess that widespread product placements would be more likely (and more viable) than live commercials.

    Product placement as a 1950s redux …

    “The mention of a new model from Buick in Sunday night’s ‘Desperate Housewives’ was not a coincidence. Rather, it was a carefully planned piece of product placement … [Product placement] is a regular feature of reality series including ‘Survivor’ and ‘The Apprentice,’ and it has become more common in scripted shows.” (http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/270167p-231207c.html)

    “Brand-name products have always appeared in movies and TV shows (remember all the Chevys on Bewitched?) … ” (http://www.emagazine.com/view/?603)

    Comment by JohnD -

  58. I completely agree with your assessment.

    http://www.blogforcapital.com

    Comment by Michel -

  59. Hey Mark… those live commercials from the past are classic..
    ever see the Timex one where they try to show that it’s waterproof and they lose the watch in the water?

    Comment by Roxy -

  60. OK, I have a much different idea! How about an Object Oriented Movie! Like for example using computer technology all items in the Movie become plug and play objects. For example if BMW sponsors the cars in the movie, the plug and play feature changes all the cars in the movie to be BMW models…and so on! Now, that is cool! and can be done! and its really tuned to entice both the consumer and the sponsors of the movies. Also, it’s cost effective as it’s object oriented; the same movie next time can show a different model car by a another sponsor, and so on!

    Comment by Mitchell -

  61. Great post! I could definately see myself slowing the Tivo FF to watch hot chicks, live. I’d be very interested in looking at the differences in production costs of Live versus Canned.

    Comment by MJ -

  62. Although I am from another culture, I’ve always enjoyed the Art and pop culture of the west. I watch a lot of American movies. However I am totally to immune to the influence of the American commercial. To me it is almost like “distasteful”. They are either too loud, or too crazy, too fast, too annoying, too meaningless, too silly, too exaggerating… just too much.

    Hong Kong commercials are boring. But there are a few of them that still linger in my memory. There is a major difference between the commercials of the East and the West. The East usually uses a more sentimental, more emotional, more story-telling approach.

    Ironically, I couldn’t remember a happy story. I only remember the sad one. I think it is human nature to remember the sadness more.

    There is a line of product coming from the Yang family. One of them is “Lemon Tea” which targets the teenagers/students group. This product has remained the #1 seller for decades. After all, it is just lemon tea. Why these students are so crazy about it?

    The commercial starts with a story depicting a heart-breaking moment of how a teenager approaches his/her first love and what kind of inevitable mistake he/she made. Along with that experience, the “lemon tea” was on his/her side like his/her only companion. It was very subtle, sad yet strangely hopeful. It is almost like it is NOT selling anything.

    They continue the story with new subjects and new experience every season. It makes audience longing to know what will be the next, and trying to fit himself/herself into the story.

    Comment by Sarah -

  63. So, what about using past footage with good editing. For example, it seems like a great ad for retirement products would use the footage from a Packers – Bengals game. Bart Starr stood there as a fan ran onto the field and took the ball from him. The caption, “You know its time to retire when….” Could be added to the footage and then used to promote products about timing one’s retirement. Seems there with reality footage out there, not staged, that can be easily edited instead of starting over. And,if folks have seen the first event, it makes for a surprise ending or repeat performance which is attention getting.

    On a different tack, what about the “bots” used in ads these days. Seems they have to be less expensive and more readily updated. No actors to pay, etc. Important to get a line of “bot” image products out there to complete the money intake.

    Comment by Bob Hamilton -

  64. yes! this one made me smile! a few twists:

    Hour long shampoo commercials should be very very careful to be positive in every way possible. Remember the 50’s! Everyone on American Idol would be using the same shampoo, make-up, whatever, free. Just mention it at the beginning, then make sure they all look good – the commerical should be a flashback showing them having *fun* (nervous and excited!) using these products and preparing for the show. (I’d rather watch that show than them trying to sing anyway!) Show this spot -after- their performance. People will make the connection without it being explicit. A non-explicit connection is much more valuable! Almost subliminal!

    People will also be more forgiving of someone who can’t sing but is imminently natural and likeable in “real life”. This dynamic is already in place, but the producers obviously haven’t been able to put their finger on it and maximize it.

    No making anyone feel bad. Just count on people (but women especially) to *want* to do (or buy) what would make them feel good about themselves – what makes other people feel good about themselves – good enough in the context of american idol, to go on american idol. If they’re good, or if they make fools of themselves, you still show the commercials of them ENJOYING it. That’s the point everyone misses, especially the producers. (this ties into edu-tainment – i think fun is by default beneficial and it’s great to push the idea that enjoyment is the point, not “winning”, whatever winning means..)

    As a side note to the rest of your post:

    Consider that the first proponent of feminism was probably some guy trying to get laid!

    He made the connection that recognizing a person’s worth and communicating that recognition made HIM more valuable, and therefore more desirable.

    Fast forward X generations, and this explains perfectly how ugly guys who aren’t rich marry girls who wouldn’t give you the time of day!

    -t

    Comment by nonattender -

  65. The future of television advertising should be more MavsGear commercials. Music plays, women dance for 60 seconds, show the product name and that’s it (sounds like something from Putney Swope, heh). Why don’t I see that MavsGear ad on my HDNet channel anymore?

    Comment by Keith -

  66. I’ve thought about commercials and their massive inefficiency. That is, I watch a bunch of crap that in no way am I interested or ever would be, at least not until I’m 50 years older. I watch the news a lot and am treated to a plethora of ads on geriatic medications. I am a young guy and there’s no way I’m interested in that.

    What needs to happen is tailored advertsing. It needs to be possible to program your demographics into the TV and so the TV only plays ads tailored to YOUR demo. Of course, you would have to give the person some incentive to do so, and I don’t know what that’d be.

    But theoretically, it should be possible for different people watching the same show to get totally different commericials.

    That way, I can watch the news and learn why Trojan condoms are so great, and my granma in Seattle can watch the same show and learn why she should drink Ensure.

    Comment by Ryan Kennedy -

  67. I think you’re right about the 30 second commercial being dead, with some exceptions. I think that the scripted standard 30 second commercial can live on, if done right, and I think it can be effective. A few examples would be the Starbucks Double Shot commercial with the band Survivor doing a rewritten “eye of the tiger”, and the new Altoids and VW commercials i think are good, too. I think the day of the informative commercial (not to be confused with an infomercial) is out right now. Then again, it could all just be a little more cyclical, and we may see the resurgence of less funny and more informative scripted commercials just a few years after they have pronounced DOA.

    Comment by MattV -

  68. Awesome.

    Comment by Jersey Runaway -

  69. Mark, Next time you’re on AM 570 in Los Angeles with The Loose Canons (Steve “nice hair” Hartman and NBA Legend slash Future President of the Bahamas Mychal Thompson), you’ll have to help them sing the AIS commercial. It’s one thing that makes their show so fun.

    Comment by Brad Hutchings -

  70. I recently sat through an excrutiating pre-pro meeting during which time the prod co. executive producer realised that the clients hadn’t read the treatment 2 days before a shoot and were now questioning the concept. The agency producer knew full well that we were already full steam ahead on prep and that large sums of money had been committed and or spent. He went silent. He was afraid of his client.
    The exec producer and I had a long talk afterwards and his take is that agencies work in a climate of fear. Huge dollars are on the line and rocking the boat is not an option.
    Clients who aren’t all that interested in drastic changes and agencies who are too scared to lead their clients in a new direction. It doesn’t look all that promising for your TV ad. revolution.

    Comment by MJ -

  71. Absolutely…I would almost watch prime time shows just for the commercials if that was the case. Would’ve really helped when 24 was on at the same time as the NCAA Championship and Opening Day.

    Comment by Dan -

  72. I think it’s a great idea. You would do ‘context’ ads that were scripted but made reference to what was being shown, whether it was sports or entertainment programming. It would be fun to have all the ads done during one game by a group of improv actors, like the guys on “Whose Line Is It Anyway.”

    One thing this would do is make the brand more memorable by making the ad more memorable. Often times advertising barely mentions the product or brand name. You could have alot of fun with something like this. Great blog, very thought provoking.

    Comment by Dudley Bokoski -

  73. Styx,

    Excellent point! OK, so how long in to the future can all of what you mentioned be implemented for the mass audience? My thoughts, merger of real-time/interactive TV& Commercials are definitely a thing of the future, but nothing that can be done next week or even the next couple of years? Am I right on this?

    Comment by Mitchell -

  74. We all agree that SOMETHING has to be done. Within the next few years as the line between tv and computer blurs, I can totally see targeted ads based on what you are browsing. So if you spend a ton of time researching video games, you are going to get video game ads. Also, the ability to take action like one of the posts above mentioned, is very powerful. Imagine being able to actually buy the item as you are watching the commercial, similar to clicking on an ad on a website and going to the site and purchasing it. That would be freaking sweet. Companies would be able to track in real-time their results like a Google AdWords campaign. I know Google and other companies have been working on this type of thing so it’s def not out of the question top become mainstream.

    The live commercial would be great but can you really see companies spending that kind of $ for something that they don’t know what the results are going to be? I can’t see them trusting their actors enough…although I do admit it would be entertaining.

    Comment by SportsLizard -

  75. lol mark stop giving dumb producers good ideas

    start with the mavs games, unless the nba will fine you (how much control do you really have?)
    marketing mavs,u do it or nba’s responsability?

    make sure 2 watch the sonics spurs game da 14th

    maybe inspire you to upgrade your camera system
    http://www.hdbeat.com/2006/04/06/nba-announces-new-dual-skycam-broadcast-plans/

    if you do have control, get a really exciting broadcaster like me, use your own camera’s and broadcast a live mavericks ip-tv feed for free on the internet for the world and use that free bandwith you love to talk about so much =-)

    I’ll c ya on the red carpet eventually marky

    Peace L.J.

    Comment by Lebroz -

  76. If you put fine ass chicks in bikinis in every commercial, I’ll be watching.
    Smart money is on the thong. Good idea.

    Comment by Dirty Muffin -

  77. sorry for the dupe.

    Comment by styx -

  78. I thought you were going to say something else Mark.

    This idea isn’t good. Namely for the obvious reason. Quality control. If these are scripted “live” spots, that reduces the inherent spontaneity of the advertisement and makes them rather mundane as the format would derive from the show in question. Second, the Janet Jacksn fiasco is a perfect example of spontaneity gone wrong. That’s what the internet is for. It won’t work for the US.

    This is what I see; albeit more complex.

    Your TIVO records your program in real time as you watch. So during your show, say your favorite actress sashays back and forth in some sexy pumps, and the woman in question wants them, she rewinds back to the scene with the pumps or pauses while they’re on screen. She can click, rotate for a close-up, check for sizes, etc, even make a purchase before going back to her show and watching the rest of it. On your wide screen HD TV, this is easy to do. Imagine the sales of Kobe’s jersey spiking through the roof during the 81 point game, cause fans can purches while the game is going on using the same interface. Imagine your local Dallas fans being able to buy tickets to the next game during the current one, on the television – via the HUD – because of the little sticky in the corner that sahys: “buy tickets”. The rate at which most people part with their disposable incomes is inversely proportional to the ease of the purchase.

    In fact, for people looking to buy something (say a car), you can watch TV with the HUD (set to highlight all cars) on – the heads-up display would unobtrusively highlight objects on the set that have been placed for purchase.

    Commercials are dead. Entertainment is alive – so advertisers are going to have to produce entertainment that cleverly interests the viewer. This means a new dynamic and psychological profile to understand how individuals will respond to unobtrusive product placement.

    Feel free to run with the idea. Give me a shout out at the IPO.

    Pardon the typos.

    Comment by styx -

  79. I think you’re right in one way, wrong in another. Commercials are going “back to the future,” but not in exactly the way you predict. Back when TV was a new medium, every show had a sponsor. The sponsor’s products were sprinkled throughout the show, and the whole show was basically a long commercial.

    That idea is coming back with shows like “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” The show is an hour-long feel-good commercial for Sears. Craftsman tools, Kenmore appliances, furniture, bedding, you name it. Sears always has a minute-long “actual commercial” near the end of the show, but the show itself usually has a segment where they go to Sears to pick out furniture or whatnot. Plus Kenmore, Craftsman, etc. are mentioned throughout. I really don’t think Sears could ask for a better “commercial.”

    Comment by Brock -

  80. I thought you were going to say something else Mark.

    This idea isn’t good. Namely for the obvious reason. Quality control. If these are scripted “live” spots, that reduces the inherent spontaneity of the advertisement and makes them rather mundane as the format would derive from the show in question. Second, the Janet Jacksn fiasco is a perfect example of spontaneity gone wrong. That’s what the internet is for. It won’t work for the US.

    This is what I see; albeit more complex.

    Your TIVO records your program in real time as you watch. So during your show, say your favorite actress sashays back and forth in some sexy pumps, and the woman in question wants them, she rewinds back to the scene with the pumps or pauses while they’re on screen. She can click, rotate for a close-up, check for sizes, etc, even make a purchase before going back to her show and watching the rest of it. On your wide screen HD TV, this is easy to do. Imagine the sales of Kobe’s jersey spiking through the roof during the 81 point game, cause fans can purches while the game is going on using the same interface. Imagine your local Dallas fans being able to buy tickets to the next game during the current one, on the television – via the HUD – because of the little sticky in the corner that sahys: “buy tickets”. The rate at which most people part with their disposable incomes is inversely proportional to the ease of the purchase.

    In fact, for people looking to buy something (say a car), you can watch TV with the HUD (set to highlight all cars) on – the heads-up display would unobtrusively highlight objects on the set that have been placed for purchase.

    Commercials are dead. Entertainment is alive – so advertisers are going to have to produce entertainment that cleverly interests the viewer. This means a new dynamic and psychological profile to understand how individuals will respond to unobtrusive product placement.

    Feel free to run with the idea. Give me a shout out at the IPO.

    Pardon the typos.

    Comment by styx -

  81. Dear MC:

    Your commercials are hysterical! You can add comedian to your list of achievments! jlo:()

    Comment by James Lowell -

  82. You may be too young to remember a series of ads for a lawn mower – I think it was Craftsman – that were live during various sports events with the announcer starting the lawn mower on air to show it would start with the first pull every time. (The final tally was something like 28-3 – not perfect but pretty darn good for a lawn mower from Sears.) Unfortunately, TV doesn’t want excitement, it wants perfection. Even game shows are taped and retaped to be exactly right with camera angles and reactions. I’m surprised that isn’t being done with sports (uh, Shaq, we had a bad angle on that slam, could you re-do it?)

    Comment by Ray Barrington -

  83. The first thing that needs to be done is to cut back on the breaks. Have you ever noticed on DVD sets of classic shows that most of them clock in at 25 and a half minutes? Now a network half hour show is barely 21 minutes long and it gets snipped to 20 minutes when it hits TBS. What’s the point of advertising if people are going to either turn to another channel or go into another room knowing it’ll be a while before the show returns.

    It mgiht help to have ad breaks that involve the characters in the show. Have you seen the Jell-O ad featured on the Hogan’s Heroes season 2 boxset? Who wouldn’t be glued to the set as Carol Channing encounters Nazis with only Dream whip? And who doesn’t thrill to seeing the Flintstones selling cigarettes?

    So less ads. More characters. And more entertaining.

    Comment by Joe Corey -

  84. Wow! This is another great topic for discussion!
    And, so, as I was reading your comments, I realized that this idea is sort of been implemented on the FX channel, already? On occasion, the FX channel, has a live crew that consistently between commercials provide the audience with feedback on the movie being played, and sometimes even promote certain advertisement while this live feed is in progress, and they even try to relate the movie’s topic with the advertisement? This does make commercials much more interesting from the viewers point of view, and does it is not cost less as well? This is a very innovative way of reaching the intended audience at a much lower cost? And so, I do believe Live Commercials can become addictive as well?

    Comment by Mitchell -

  85. Love it. I’ve always thought it would be great to show sports games on cable with announcers just talking straight, telling us about the player’s personal problems and speculating on whether a guy’s jump shot was short because his legs were a bit weary from the night before, but I never thought about having that kind of talk make for perfect commercials. I’d love to see it, and it definitely would end a lot of fast forwarding.

    Comment by Brendan -

  86. Mark,

    I know this comment has nothing to do with what you said, but if you actually read this it concerns the Mavericks and the Playoff theme song contest.
    The feds are winning by 1,000 votes, even though everyone I’ve talked to and everyone on http://www.mavtalk.com thinks it just stinks.
    I had the idea to look on myspace for The Feds, I found it ( http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=2617443 ) and saw that they were advertising for their fans to vote. It just seems unfair to me that they are getting votes like that, espcecially since most of their fans couldn’t care less about the Mavericks. The song mentions the Mavericks probably less than 10 times the whole song, the band probably doesn’t even keep up with the team.

    I know their is nothing you can do since people can see the number of votes each one is getting. But there are alot better songs from people who seem like they actually keep up with the team.

    Fan wanting a good playoff theme song,
    Kyle

    Comment by kyle -

  87. Mark,

    This post cuts at the heart of why you have been extremely successful in business!…YOU THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX.

    Keep the ideas flowing.

    Comment by Jason -

  88. Smart, very smart. In fact, in general “entertaining commercials” as a rule would keep people watching. But the TV industry has not shown itself to be very smart.

    Comment by MattW -

  89. I’m not sure how long you spent on these example commercials but they were not that funny or great, which makes me wonder how good ones would be that were live and spur of the moment. Even if there were some worked up ideas in outline for them to improv from they would probably be lame.

    Do you think the quality of talent coming up with these things on the spot would be that high? Some things on SNL, for example, are pretty funny but they take some time to come up with them. But most comedians on tv, in movies, on standup tour are not that funny so this live improv would suck 99% of the time. That might be just as much suck as the current commercials represent.

    Why would these things keep my attention when most of them will be crap. For the ones that are good I’ll wait for someone to point me to youtube.com or google video to watch it and not waste my time on all the other lame crap.

    Btw, your link to Straight out of the 1950s is just http:///

    Comment by Brian -

  90. Very good idea. I’ve long wondered why Saturday Night Live doesn’t place their (sometimes hilarious) commercials in the *middle* of the commercial breaks rather than on the ends. It sure would keep me from going so fast with the 30 second skip on my Ultimate TV box.

    I understand that there are technical challenges relating to how the networks, affiliates, and often syndicated shows divvy up that time.

    But, jeez, this is the *future* of their industry. I think they could overcome those issues rather quickly.

    The April Fool’s/Promo PSA shot by the cast of The Office are yet another great example.

    TV, WAKE UP!

    Comment by Nick -

  91. Excellent post Mark. Your solution is indicative of the greater problem with traditional commercials; they don’t engage the end viewer.

    So, traditional commercials either die, or the marketing heads start thinking out of the box, and come up with engaging ideas such as the one you outlined above.

    KFC recently hid an “easter egg” within their commercial only viewable in slow motion, in an effort to engage the fast-forward happy Tivo users. They got a lot of press from that innovation.

    How do you engage a passive medium? From that constraint, new creative solutions will be born.

    Jim — http://www.RunFatBoy.net

    Comment by Jim Jones -

  92. That is a great idea! I would love to see something like that.

    Comment by Chris -

  93. I hardly ever watch a commercial any more with the exception of the ones forwarded to me from friends and family because they’re relevant and hilarious. However effective product placement sends out the subtle marketing messages with the appeal that our favorite shows are virtually endorsing the products.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

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