This was idiotic: Unlike typical American sports, soccer does not have regulated breaks, and the action can happen at any time. As a matter of fact, during the final match between my home country (Italy) and Brazil, a crucial goal was missed by viewers because of a commercial break.
In Italy and other European countries where futbol is king, advertisers have found clever ways of gaining eyeballs without interfering with audience enjoyment. One example is the use of banners placed on the field, painted in such a way that when seen from the angle of the TV camera they appear to be standing up.Even more interesting is the use of five-second spots, which are inserted into the broadcast when there is an opportune break in the action. When I first saw that format, I was struck by how nice it was not to have the game interrupted at an interesting point — but even more so, by how great some of the ads were. It is amazing, with a bit of effort, how much information and entertainment can be packed into a five-second spot.
In an earlier blog, I suggested that video ads may be the next digital bubble, because the amazing performance seen by advertisers is largely based on misleading MRC-defined viewability metrics, while in reality these ad formats are extremely invasive and annoying. My contention about video ad annoyance is supported by Google’s increasing push for skippable ads – which have been shown to outperform unskippable video ads -- as well as data suggesting that pre-roll video ads are considered the most annoying ad format by consumers.
In spite of the evidence, advertisers and publishers alike continue to ruin the collective online experience with growing numbers of video ads, which get inserted in the most intrusive of places (a recent favorite: being forced to watch a pre-roll ad when I wanted to check out a Super Bowl ad). I find this perplexing, because it does not take a brain scientist (which, by the way, I am) to figure out that the longer consumers are forced to watch an ad, the more annoyed they will get.
And this leads me to the first key point of this post: There is absolutely no reason for a marketer to create an unskippable 30-second ad, let alone a 60-second ad.
Yes, I will agree that you can stuff more content into 30 seconds than you can in five. But first of all, you should be able to capture the essence of your message in five seconds. If you fail to do so, it’s because you or your creative team are lazy. Create a short teaser and give me the chance to go find the longer content if that’s what I want.
And now, the second key point of my post: Forcing me to watch your content is immensely disrespectful.
In this day and age, time and attention are the most valuable assets for the vast majority of online users. With your actions, you are telling me that my time and my attention are yours to do with as you please, and that you couldn’t care less about me.
Even in the rare occurrence that I actually give a damn about your product or service, I will probably not forgive you the lack of respect that you have shown me.
My closing advice: Whether you are a publisher or advertiser, refuse to distribute any video ads that cannot be skipped. And if you are an advertiser, learn how to get your message across in five seconds. Otherwise, expect to reap the harvest of your laziness and disrespect.