A Time Shifter, A Searcher And A Singer Of International Madrigals: Creative Accounting

Throughout my 35-year professional media existence, whether as a television buyer of national commercial time or a burgeoning televisualist, rarely, if ever, have I had intercourse with creative TV commercial types. Ya know, the guys and gals at the agencies, full service or independent, who create the commercials. I've been invited to dimly lit conference rooms; served beverages and sibilant sounds; exposed to brand campaign flights of fantasy. Certainly, there's been plenty of titillation, a sneak peak at a storyboard, a glimpse of unedited footage, revelatory tête-à-têtes with account planners, but never full disclosure -- until, of course, the commercial hit the air, flaunted for everyone's view.

To my knowledge, many of my media buying/planning/research brethren have had a similar experience with their creative agency siblings. A prophylactic connection, at best. Seductive nevertheless. Currently, three companies have succumbed to the temptation of a remunerative relationship with creative propagation: a time shifter (TiVo), a searcher (Google) and an international singer of madrigals (TRA Global). Each company claims to offer a unique value proposition to help the media community evaluate the potency of its creative while in the throes of public exposure. All proffer second-by-second effectiveness barometers that measure the interaction of a hand with a TV remote device. Each promises an evaluation for performance: length, longevity, partner preferences, contextual engagement, and most importantly, the orgasmic ally, return on investment.



My concern: Can metered intimacy be turned into a sustainable science. Doesn't each commercial offer a unique proposition. Isn't every commercial pod and commercial position within said pod an amalgam of its own characteristics that are not replicate-able. Doesn't ambience facilitate or, in some situations, assuage purchase. Are we, as a community, guilty of being seduced by mathematics.

4 comments about "A Time Shifter, A Searcher And A Singer Of International Madrigals: Creative Accounting".
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  1. Matthew Reid from Nielsen, April 7, 2009 at 4:24 p.m.

    Today we interrupt our usual offense at inappropriate innuendo (see "vivisection" - now "orgasmic" and "intercourse") to bring you a small observation from the trenches of relevancy warfare -

    Data-phobia is the last bastion of waning mythopoetic self-promotion, and non-sequitur smears (international madrigals?!?) the hallmark last gasp of the obsolete being trampled by Progress.

    And now we return you to your regularly-scheduled ego-tisement...

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, April 7, 2009 at 5:55 p.m.

    Guilty as charged your honour.

    And the one thing was than data-phobia is data-worship. I am talking about analysis of data without really understanding the nuances of that data. For example, analysing a 15-second ad based on a sample of hundreds of thousands or even millions of subscribers, without making allowances for (i) the fact that this is TUNING and not VIEWING (I realise that for every change-state there had to be someone push the remote - but "who" and "why" is still important) (ii) latency in the picture being rendered on the screen- yes the screen DOES go black for anywhere between one and five seconds when you change channels in a cable home are we counting that as viewing, and finally (iii) are the STB clocks in all those mllions of homes REALLY synchronised - clock drift can even exceed the duration of the ad being analysed.

    Remember the old motto. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Personally I'd love to play with large data bases of second-by-second data - but only when it accurately reports what it purports to, and in my experience we are not there yet - we will be one day. Caveat emptor - don't bet the farm on it just yet.

  3. John Grono from GAP Research, April 7, 2009 at 5:56 p.m.

    (Apologies for my rubbish typing in the 2nd para - "And the one thing worse than..." it should read.)

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 7, 2009 at 8:30 p.m.

    1 + 1 = 3 Mathematical, yes - no?

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