Two caught my eye. The first was a Media Insider from Dave Morgan titled “Cross-Training for Cross-Platform TV.” Morgan’s gist, paraphrasing heavily, is that to get a decent audience for high-engagement video ads, we’ll have to get comfortable with fishing in a whole bunch of smaller ponds rather than casting our net in a single ocean.
That checks out. As our entertainment choices and information sources keep multiplying exponentially, it’s natural that the big blocks of purchasable attention advertisers used to rely on are getting split into smaller and smaller chunks. This is certainly true for video-based media. In the column, Morgan wrote, “The next decade will mean navigating a mix of linear and streaming TV channels and platforms to have any hope of efficiently reaching audiences at scale.”
Now, I don’t pretend to know anything about buying video ads -- Mr. Morgan certainly has forgotten more than I’ll ever know -- but I do know this. I recently caught up on a network series through getting it on-demand on the network’s streaming platform. The ad execution was abysmal, to say the least. The creative, the delivery and the viewer experience was excruciating to sit through. I literally hated any brands that placed ads through the channel by the time I was done.
If I had to guess, I would say that this was treated like an advertising bargain bin – a last-minute throw in for network advertisers that no one really thought or cared about. Some of the creative wasn’t even designed for the platform. The images didn’t execute correctly on the screen (tablet) I was watching it on. Whatever it cost these advertisers for this exposure, it was completely wasted on this audience of one.
The other item was more of a WTF moment, reacting to a column by staff writer Wayne Friedman. In the column -- “Look Into The Night Sky - You Might See An Ad For Car Insurance” – Friedman tells of a recent study that “looked at the possibility of a ‘space advertising’ mission, where one could advertise in the twilight over a particular urban area or city.”
This would be done by launching a number of satellites into a station orbit and letting them literally unfurl an advertising banner every night just after sunset.
Again, WTF. Do I want an ad popping up after a spectacular sunset telling me said sunset was brought to me by the MyPillow guy? No.
And knowing that advertisers can be a little obtuse sometimes, I’ll repeat -- a little more emphatically - “F*&k NO!”
I had just a little taste of this the last week when I happened to see a Starlink train head across the night sky above me. If you haven’t seen this, it’s a perfect row of SpaceX Starlink satellites in orbit that can be seen in just the right conditions. In my case, there were probably about 50 satellites in a row.
Was it cool? Sure. But it was also unsettling. The night sky is supposed to be messy and spectacular, not precisely lined up like a set of Christmas lights. It was disconcerting to see something so obviously manmade encroaching on nature’s firmament.
Look advertisers, I get that it’s getting harder and harder to get our attention with your ads. That’s probably because we don’t want to give it to you, and – increasingly – we don’t have to. If that sounds harsh, it’s because you’ve burnt out any goodwill you might have had by sledgehammering us over the head with poorly executed, ham-fisted ads delivered ad-nauseum without any concern for our experience on the receiving end. That will be true on any platform you choose to deliver those ads on.
So, to circle back to Dave Morgan’s message, if you’re going to do it, at least try to do it well.
And finally, just so we’re clear, stay the hell out of my sunset!