In the 1987 TV series Max Headroom, which apparently took place 20 minutes into the future, a lot of technology was displayed. One of the neat idea that stucjk with me over the years was the “Blipverts”. These were a new format TV commercial on Network 23 that lasted 3 seconds.
Over the years, I’ve seen broadcast commercials try shorter formats and radio has done so as well. 60 second commercials are almost gone from our view, and a lot more 15 second spots are common. Producers are aware that a vast majority of television watchers no longer watch shows live, and commercial breaks are often ignored or fast forwarded by.
Today I noticed an interesting concept that caught my eye while fast forwarding past the middle commercial break on a show I was watching. The middle break is often the longest, containing more commercials than the others. I noticed two commercials employing something new. The entire commercial spot had a banner, much like me may see on a computer command bar. A sold black line across the top of the screen that contained the commercial name and some vitals. The regular TV spot played below it.
This had the outstanding effect of showing up clearly while fast forwarding by. In the first case it was the name of a movie. The commercial content itself was the traditional COMING SOON trailer, but while watching on an increased speed, I might very well have missed the movie name. This way, I saw the name for the whole duration of the forwarding. It occurred to me that I was watching, in effect, a 3 second commercial. A Blipverts for today’s generation.
A 30 second commercial, fast forwarded, perhaps a little longer than 3 seconds, but I have 3 speeds I could use to move on. Even at the fastest speed, which traditionally cuts huge chunks out if the video as it displays only clips as it moves forward digitally, I would still have seen at least 3 seconds of a 30 second spot. All of them containing the vital commercial message.
I paused and blogged. This is a very smart move. A creative way to make commercials that function for the regular watchers and the impatient ones. Many commercials try to get me to watch by creating mini stories, or mystery or blizzard imagery that should slow me down and make me watch, but all too often the brand or slogan or logo of a commercial is only displayed or spoken at the very end. WIth this new technology, it wouldn’t matter. I’d always see the web address our brand or message, even when speeding by at the maximum ignore speed.
I applaud the marketing genius. I hope they were paid well, not just for a single commercial, but for a whole new idea that could insure more eyes on the message.
I have to wonder if he or she was a Max Headroom fan.
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