Commentary

A Super Idea And I Don't Mean Football

A report in yesterday’s LA Times said more TiVo users watched and replayed the commercials from the Super Bowl than the game itself. You will recall that many broadcasters are convinced TiVo technology could kill advertiser-supported television by encouraging viewers to skip ads.

Not replaying the game may be apt commentary on the Raider’s offensive punch and 500,000 homes does not a national sample make, but doesn’t this speak volumes about advertising creativity and the American public’s secret fascination with advertising?

I say “secret” because if you were to poll most folks on their attitudes about advertising you’d get the usual thoughtless responses like “I watch them but they don’t affect my purchase decisions…” or “Can’t they sell beer without half naked women?” or “My kids ask for food and toys by their brand names, this has gone too far…”

But.

History has proven that truly creative advertising can not only move product, it can capture the imagination of the nation and even become part of its culture. Two decades after seeing that Apple commercial just ONCE, people still talk about it. My son greets his friends with “What’s up?” with no knowledge of where he came up with that phrase. I will probably go to my grave able to hum commercial jingles from my childhood like “See the USA in your Chevrolet,” or “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony…”

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In the LAT story, a TiVo spokesperson said "Viewers watch the content that they find most compelling, even when the most compelling content is the commercials.”

Nowhere is creativity more important than on the Internet. It is clearly the medium of the future. It has become indispensable at work and nearly so at home. And before long it will converge with television and be the ONLY medium mass enough to serve most national advertisers.

But.

None of this will happen if we don’t put a little (no, a lot) more effort into online advertising creativity. By that I don’t mean more and better ways to trick or annoy users into seeing our ads. I mean by creating ads that users save, replay and email to friends. Ads that are so poignant that people talk about them or use their copy lines in their conversations. Or hum their tunes. Or save their imagery as desktop wallpaper or screen savers.

We can do it. We must do it. We will do.

Adam Guild is President of Interep Interactive

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