I just finished reading an article that reported 27 percent of American households now have DVRs (according to Nielson, this has increased from just over 20 percent.) Scientific researchers further went on to study the impact of fast forwarding on advertiser recognition. No surprise, those who fast forward commercials, typically only see a second and a half of silent fast moving content. And this sharply reduces the viewers' recall of the commercials.
However, they also found that viewers were still able to recall commercials that contained many frames featuring the brand's name or logo, if the logo was in the center of the screen. Such commercials made viewers like the featured brands better, and increased their desire to buy the product advertised.
My bet is that these researchers are on acid. Because, this is a ludicrous study.
Let me explain. If we're at the point where advertisers need to defend TV commercials by asserting that some fast forwarded commercials are still effectively selling products if the brand logo is in the center of the frame, then this industry is really desperate beyond belief. I can’t believe the premise is actually true. And, it certainly won’t convince any corporate marketer that DVRs aren’t really as bad as they were led to believe.
Here are some facts:
-TV advertising costs a lot of money. The costs come from developing the commercials and more importantly buying the time. In some cases, TV advertising budgets are 10 to 20 times more expensive than direct marketing or public relations.
- Over 25 percent of households skip through commercials. That number will certainly grow every month and every year. I don't believe that DVR'd commercials provide any brand building value. Think about the cost highlighted above. Now, understand that one out of every four potential viewers will fast forward right by it.
- In this economy, marketers need to see that every dollar spent will produce efficient returns. That is the exact opposite of what TV commercials do.
- Today, the best marketing needs to focus on building trust, credibility and direct response with customers/prospects. Again, TV commercials provide none of these.
Lastly, even if a marketer does believe that TV commercials should be a key part of the marketing mix, he/she should maximize those bucks by pushing the media outlet/network to significantly enhance the buy for greater value, at no more cost. This could include additional Web advertisements on the broadcaster’s site, PR related promotions to create a larger call to action, direct response initiatives through online contests or a host of other marketing endeavors.
The Web is our future. TV will clearly still have a marketing role. Only, the cost to benefit received from this medium (alone) better change because many marketers are moving on.