Thoughts on Commercials

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Steve Sailer has been watching the Winter Olympics and has some thoughts on commercials:

Speaking of commercials, why don’t advertisers make slight variants of their commercials to keep people from completely zoning out the 73rd time they’ve seen it? They shoot way more footage than they use, so why not whip up alternative versions to keep viewers awake during the Olympics?

Here’s an easy way to keep siblings competitively engaged: shoot three or four different punchlines and then make one slight variation in each version’s set-up shots. That way, somebody who is paying close attention will be able to achieve dominance over the rest of his family by accurately predicting the punchline. It will drive his siblings crazy, so they will also study the commercials looking for clues so they can beat him to the punchline.

Also, advertising agencies keep missing the sweet spot between too boring and too interesting that you don’t notice what brand is being advertised. A lot of prestige ads that run on the Olympics are so expensive, so filled with show-offy scenes from around the world that you often lose the thread before they finally flash the sponsor’s logo for 0.8 seconds at the end. I’m sure those kind of ads win awards — nobody loves to give awards to each other more than advertising people — but are they really effective at selling whatever sponsor that’s revealed at the very end? Especially when the stylistic theme of countless commercials is exactly the same: Despite, or perhaps because of, global diversity, everybody on Earth loves us.
Instead, why not borrow a trick from cable networks that keep a small logo up on a lower corner of the screen? Hey, this show is on the Discovery Channel! I’ll have to try to remember that. Similarly, put the sponsor’s logo in the corner throughout the commercial. Your ad won’t win any awards and your ad agency might get sanctioned by the Advertising Council for violating the professional ethics of the advertising business by being overly attentive to the client’s interests instead of to your own sense of creative self-expression, but, so what?

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