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September 01, 2006

Squeezing 30 Second Spots Into 15 Seconds

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 9/01/2006 08:08:00 PM
Jonathan Berr talks about the ever decreasing attention span of internet viewers which is forcing marketers to turn 30 second television spots into 15 seconds. Maybe marketers just don't get it. It's not about the lengthe of the ad - it's about relevance. Putting 15 second ads in front of content as a blocker page or a pre-roll makes very little sense.

Make advertising the content. Or turn content into advertising. That's what NBC has been so great at doing.
Each episode of the Apprentice is a 40 minute spot for the sponsor. I give the Donald, who had no prior experience in television, a lot of credit for being the most creative mind in advertising. While the first season (and the first episode) was a complete fluke in terms of commercial value (remember the premier episode where the contestants tried to figure out who could peddle the most lemonade in downtown Manhattan?), the second season really hit its stride starting when the first episode of the season was essentially a big promo for Toys R Us and Mattel.

The Apprentice singlehandedly brought NBC prime time back from the brink by marrying content and product placement into a package that not only consisted of televison air time but also Internet marketing. I can't tell you how many times I've visited the Apprentice website after watching the show to read the biographies of the contests, to catch up on the episodes that I missed, and to check out the products of show sponsors - even products as silly as Tide to Go.

The big lesson from shows like the Apprentice is that consumers no longer want to be sold as a mass audience. That is why 30 second spots are turning into 15 second spots. Soon enough, it might be 0 seconds. Consumers want a one-to-one message delivered to them. That's why Internet advertising is growing. Every paid per click message you see is a one-to-one message delivered as a result of your search query - where you, the consumer, call the shots. That's what I find so ironic when I hear about the woes of traditional advertising. The success of the Internet as a one-to-one medium is in our face everyday.

My best advice for television companies is to identify shows like the Apprentice who have aggregated a great niche audience, learn how they are working with brand marketers, and use the lessons learned to re-engineer how you work with advertisers. It's time to rethink how you sell the incredibly shrinking 30 second spot.

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