The Real Effect Of TV Commercials... On Mute

Impressions. Viewers. Watchers. Eyes on the Screen. These TV measurements may have a different value when it comes to distraction -- intended or otherwise.

Watch a TV commercial where a guy is dancing on a street in front of a recording device and a driver is not paying attention to the road. The driver crashes into the back of a truck.

You might think: “Why didn’t that driver see what was in front of him?

Afterwards, you might just look away and go back to the iPhone or spreadsheet -- because you were watching the commercial with the mute button on. The spot is for a car insurance company.

Watch another spot -- say, featuring the guy in a bathrobe whose daughter or mother-in-law apparently is wrongly using a special man's moisturizer.

With the sound off, there seems to be some anger here. Or is it comedy? A squirt from the product and a forced smile from the man. Maybe they need the family pack version.



Turning the sound off during commercials has been my thing for some time now. When that happens, it always seems to alter the messaging coming in my direction.

“Attention” metrics might a thing these days when it comes to all things in video. But what about a deeper look? Unless you can see actual brain waves through a doctor-monitored brain scan, can you get a true picture of what is going on?

Perhaps a big logo on the screen for a full 30 seconds in big red letters might be a better way to go for viewers like myself.

To be sure, it isn’t just muting the sounds: there is spillage everywhere -- distraction on mobile phones, laptops, and whatever.

So... who gets credit here -- the attribution -- for these spots? NBC, Roku, Charter Communications, DirecTV, YouTube? Perhaps a deduction is in order.

Changing your insurance or your personal hand lotion? Keep working, Allstate and Old Spice.

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