With Lower Volume TV Ads, What Comes Next?

Lower volume on TV advertising has started. It’s another blow for marketers looking to get noticed. What comes next?

On Thursday, the FCC started rules that put a curb on advertiser messaging being louder  -- on average -- than the programs they are sponsoring. The FCC approved the rules a year ago and gave TV platforms a year to get ready.

The issue seems tangential to all the talk by marketers about media disruption in a digital world making it harder to get noticed. With more time-shifting, more multitasking and other diversions for consumers, advertisers still cling to the strong idea that TV is a powerful medium. That power in recent years may have also come with those who could shout the loudest.

Marketers may not have been the only ones that became enamored with louder ads. TV networks and stations provided the technology to raise the decibel level of those spots.



Marketers have been creative in finding other ways to use TV. In recent years, there have been cool-looking vignettes, with branded entertainment also taking a more prominent role.

But branded entertainment and vignettes don’t have the liquidity and ease of buying a 30-second commercial. Those new marketing message formats can take months to put together. Interestingly, when the creative is revealed all that messaging doesn't seem louder than the programming content.

One can only wonder if advertisers will now look to change their creative process in producing future advertising. Perhaps video levels will be brighter. Maybe more striking colors will work their way into advertiser messaging. In future years, the FCC no doubt will have to institute another rash of new rules.

To those with time-shifted technology, this hasn't been much of an issue. Now, 50% of U.S. TV homes use time-shifted technology. That means the other half still must hit the mute button on remotes when commercials come on -- at any volume.

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