Thursday, May 03, 2007

Why TiVo Isn't The Problem

According to Stuart Elliot in today's New York Times, the holy grail on Madison Avenue is to make ads that are TiVo-proof - so compelling and interesting that viewers won't skip by them.

In other words, it is the responsibility of the creative agencies to "fix" a problem that is not entirely of their making.

If the industry is to evolve a digital mindchange is needed. A mindchange that acknowledges that it's the intrusive nature of advertising that people are avoiding, not the advertising itself. Interruptions are the problem, not commercials. Yes, these interruptions happen to be commercials, but the reason they're being skipped has little to do with the quality of the commercial and everything to do with the fact that they are intrusive.

Arguing that better quality commercials will reduce skipping is akin to arguing that invading Iraq will reduce terrorism. Both arguments serve to provide an answer without truly understanding the problem.

What needs to be done?

The delivery platforms need to be redesigned so that commercials can be accessed by viewers when they want, not pushed on viewers when advertisers want. In the digital future, the intent to watch will be driven by the viewer, not the advertiser.

Then, and only then, will the quality of the commercial have any bearing on the involvement of the viewer. Today's digital technology - DVR's and VOD - allow viewers to opt-in to programs when they want. The same now needs to be done with advertising.

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