Monday, April 09, 2007

Ad Agency's Responsibility Versus Network's Responsibility.

There was an interesting article in Ad Age today, Clutter Pollution Solution: Make 'Em Pay for Bad Ads. The argument put forth in the article is that networks should reward marketers for ads that viewers love and penalize marketers for ads that viewers hate.

The reason being that a network's objective is to hang on to viewers during commercial breaks so as to be able to charge more to the advertiser for those viewers.

Left out of the discussion was whether the ad was effective in selling the marketer's product or not. Which, of course, is the reason agencies are retained by a client. Or, not.

The question that comes to mind is this. What is an ad agencies responsibility? To sell their client's product? Or to solve the problem of a declining viewing audience now facing the networks?

The proposed solution, as stated in the article, is for networks to charge advertisers more to run "bad" ads and less to run so called "good" ads. Good, in this case, being the ability to retain an audience.

But what seems to have been completely overlooked is the networks' acceptance of their role in the problem. Viewers aren't avoiding commercials only because they're boring. Viewers are also avoiding commercials because they interrupt their programming.

And as control continues to shift to viewers, interruption becomes the more pressing of the two issues.

If the networks want the ad agencies to create better work, then the networks need to provide a platform in which "good" work has a better chance to be seen.

It seems unfair on the networks' part to ask advertisers and their ad agencies to solve a problem that is not totally of their making.

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