We are slowly but unescapably approaching the holiday season. And I have reached that certain age where complaining is good for the soul, at least mine. Or as Jerry Stiller said as George Costanza’s father in the famous "Seinfeld" “Festivus” episode: “The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you're gonna hear about it!”
My first grumble is about the launch of Christmas advertising. It seems that marketers this year decided that, no, Halloween or Thanksgiving do not matter. We are going straight from summer to Christmas this year. The screens are slowly filling with snow-filled Christmas-themed offerings, from supermarkets to car makers.
I have put all the early Christmas advertisers in my personal penalty box. Which means I shall procure my Christmas shopping only from those marketers who launch their White Christmas-themed advertising post-Thanksgiving. So there!
Look: I understand that streamers need to make money. A lot of it, given the enormous amounts of output they need to fill their viewing libraries, and the increase in development cost as a result of the recent strike-ending deals with the writers' and actors’ unions.
But really, do I need a “For Hims” ad in every break of just about every show I watch? I guess I am being targeted, as I have entered the age bracket where my hair line recedes, my memory lapses, and a blue pill is a viable offering. But do I need reminding every 10 minutes? Oh, and let’s not forget Ozempic. I never did like Pilot’s one hit wonder “It’s Magic,” but now that the refrain has been rebranded with “Oh, Oh, Oh, Ozempic” I hate it with a violent passion.
The streamers will have you believe that if consumers do not like this advertising volume, there's also a premium, ad-free service available. But this is not a solution for advertisers. What advertisers desperately need is platforms that offer engaged audiences in a transparent and safe advertising environment. Advertisers need places to advertise. It would help tremendously if streamer platforms catered to this need more effectively. There might even be some money in it!
Now let’s talk about measurement -- or the lack thereof. Despite many initiatives, announcements and meetings, the process to land on an industry-wide supported approach to advertising impact measurement is moving at a glacial pace.
Has there been progress? Sure, a little. But we are still far, far away from having a Joint Industry Committee-designed, approved and supported model, let alone results. This does not help advertisers at all.
Perhaps ads' over-frequency is, in fact, an under-frequency. Perhaps consumers want more interruptions by Oh, Oh, Oh, Ozempic. We simply cannot know the answer across the totality of our media buys because the data is fragmented, walled and not shared.
I am beginning to run out of space for my grievances. I wanted to talk about the hollowness of claims in car ads (literally every benefit they mention applies to any other car brand). I wanted to mention how much I dread political advertising. If you thought Oh, Oh, Oh, Ozempic was killing you with frequency, wait for political ad season to truly kick off. But all of that will have to wait for another Festivus edition.