Ask anybody who watches TV what their description of intrusive advertising is and what do you think most will say?
“It’s when the commercials come on and interrupt my program.”
That’s, at least, what I would say.
But it seems that those that run the cable companies have a different definition of “intrusive advertising” from those that watch the cable programming.
Here is the definition of “intrusive advertising” from the president of the advertising sales division at Comcast, the nation’s largest cable TV provider.
“Where advertising is intrusive is when there’s a complete mismatch between product and viewer.”
In other words, advertising is intrusive when it is not relevant to the viewer. Not when it intrudes on the program.
To be able to successfully solve a problem, you first have to be able to define what the problem actually is. The cable companies have correctly identified the problem – people don’t like it when advertising intrudes. But once they identified the problem, they incorrectly defined the problem based on a solution that they’re already proposing – more precise targeting.
What they need to do is figure out the solution to the actual problem, rather than trying to define a problem based on the solution they’re trying to market to advertisers.
I know, Comcast has data that says that viewers shown targeted ads watched them 38% longer than folks who see less-relevant commercials.
Okay, so let’s assume that most people watch very little of a commercial, say 10% on average. For a 30-second spot, that’s 3 seconds. If the product is relevant to them, they watch 38% more. Which means, at best, even with perfect targeting, less than half of the commercial is going to be watched by viewers.
And that’s how the cable industry is going to solve the advertising problem facing marketers today? By getting people to watch half the commercial?
Thank goodness. For a moment there, I thought we were in trouble.