Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Death and Rebirth of the Television Commercial

It would seem that over the past ten years or so Television advertisers have been taking a hit because of the advent of digital video recorders like TiVo, DVR, and video-on-demand services that allow consumers to skip the sacred 30-second spot like a crack in the sidewalk.  They should be scrambling around in fear for their livelihoods and storing canned goods in their fall-out shelters. Instead though, the advertising agencies, in their infinite relentlessness, are constantly coming up with new and inventive ways to force feed us their product. 

Reality TV is now clogged with product placements, some subtle and clever but others unbearably clunky.  Remember Simon, Paula and Randy's red Coke cups?  And who can forget the trademark Lucky Strike hanging out of the mouth of Amber Portwood's baby on "Teen Mom"?  And like these Reality shows, all programs will soon be loaded with product placement and interlaid commercials, all of our beloved sporting arenas will be named after corporate conglomerates and the products they represent, and most outrageously of all, something that is already going on all over the world, people will be tattooing themselves with advertising  to make a quick buck (the perfect billboard).  Say goodbye to sandwich boards and waving hot dogs in front of car washes and hello to NIKE swish tattoos on the foreheads of babies.

Already, Networks advertise their other shows during currently airing ones. You will be innocently watching the new episode of "The Real Housewives of  Orange County" and an animated hair dryer will blow a little cartooned blurb for an upcoming “Shear Genius” episode onto the bottom right corner of your TV.

Kudos to them for not giving up and instead becoming a smarter ad industry that continues to reinvent themselves.  This is, I suppose, better than having no commercials at all and seeing every channel turn into pay-per-view.

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