Commentary

Flexible NFL May Accommodate TV Ads Of Various Lengths

Shorter six-second TV commercials -- thanks to YouTube in particular -- seem to be in vogue. Yet at the same time we are hearing that for certain TV commercials, longer is better.

One TV franchise can handle both: the NFL.

NBC says research reveals that for the Super Bowl -- which it will carry in 2018 -- 60-second commercials can yield better results among a number of key metrics than 30-second spots, per Ad Age.

The thinking may be this: TV viewers have been trained to more easily accommodate bigger advertising stories when it comes to the Super Bowl. Consumers are keenly aware that the Super Bowl airs new, witty and interesting storytelling ads for products and services.

Still, many creative agency executives may complain that Super Bowl creativity is almost always a vanity play by creators -- especially when it comes to the next-day spin about best creative, scored by USA Today’s long-running Super Bowl creative meter.

On the flip side, what can we make of the six-second spot -- just 10% of those major 60-second Super Bowl commercials?

The answer? It depends. Sometimes we like a snack and at other times, a full-course meal. From a pure content point of view, both messages are part of the NFL's gridiron action.

Many might say modern media messaging has been pushed to new dimensions via digital media. In addition to six-second commercials, there is much diversity with one-, two- and even three-minute product/service video messaging. Some may even call it “native” advertising.

It's worth noting that TV advertising research says 15-second TV spots are roughly 75% as effective as 30-second spots -- at half the cost.

Now we are told that six-second spots can be more effective than slightly longer commercials -- say 15-second and 30-second messaging. And they cost far less.

For the regular NFL football season, Fox has begun to offer six-second commercials for big marketers. T-Mobile has signed on. Last month, Fox offered six-second commercials in its “Teen Choice Awards.”

All this speaks to live -- or nearly live -- TV programming and the demands of TV viewers. Networks might need to factor in major multitasking media behavior in media buys.

Go short or go long. You can still get a media touchdown sometimes.

1 comment about "Flexible NFL May Accommodate TV Ads Of Various Lengths".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 20, 2017 at 10:32 a.m.

    Wayne, the stat you mentioned about research on the "effectiveness" of 15-second versus 30-second commercials refers to aided recall studies which do show, depending on the methodology, that an average "15" yields about 65-75% as many viewers who can remember seeing the ad as a "30". However, this is merely a threshold indicator of an ad's effectiveness. Far more important is its ability to motivate the viewer and here, the results are not at all so favorable. Which is why the number of "30s" aired on national TV as well as local still outnumber "15" many years after the latters' introduction as stand-alone units ---when everyone was predicting they woould become TV's standard ad unit. For advertisers with easy to tell stories, perhaps, but certainly not for a majority of TV ad campaigns where the shorter commercials are used to remind audiences of the longer ones or to reinforce their impact. I assume that we will see exactly the same thing with 6-second spots and probably more so as you just can't tell the kind of story that most TV ad campaigns wish to convey in a few seconds---whether millennials like it or not.

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