|Up Next: Brand TV
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
The attention span of the consumer has decreased rapidly since the 1960s. No longer can the average advertisement be over a minute; you're bound to lose them unless the message, product, or service is brand new. Even a 30-second ad is getting too long for the consumer to stand; it is becoming a common practice for many advertisers to buy 15 to 20-second spots, making the message shorter and hopefully quick enough for the consumer to pay attention to all of it. And don't even get started on infomercials; thankfully they got a boost from shows like Pitchmen, or else infomercials would still be in the very back of our minds.
Something is happening, though, that will go against the grain of this trend of bending to the consumer's attention span.
It first reared its head in 2009, when Budweiser announced its Golden Wheat beer and bought all the ad spots on Saturday Night Live!, making it SNL's sole advertiser. We covered it because we thought it was one of the more unique strategies we saw that year. We thought the "rise of the sole advertiser" could return, and with a vengeance, because nothing works better to capture an audience than if you buy all the ads. We harkened back to the days of the "soap operas," shows on the radio and then on TV that were sponsored by Proctor & Gamble and other big companies. In those days, the companies who sponsored those shows had complete control of the airways. Since, the commercialization of the airways plus the competitive rates have made it nearly impossible for companies to get that kind of coverage again.
Now, we see another evolution happening right now in Australia. STW Group, the country's largest marketing group, has announced that it has created a division to make television programming for its advertising clients. The STW Group, according to the article, has over 70 companies and over 1000 clients which include Nestlé, Vodafone, St. George Bank, and Westfield.
Apparently, a documentary about and paid for by McDonald's ran on one of Australia's big networks, and although TV stations there don't have to disclose programs funded by advertisers, the network did anyway "in order to be transparent." STW Group says that it has at least five branded programs in production, and are expecting a lot more in the near future.
There has been talk about certain shows and movies that have been full of product placement, from American Idol and the car industry to James Bond and Heineken. Is what STW Group is doing now part of the future in U.S. advertising? The theme in the Information Age has been controlling and producing your own content for the consumer to find, so it is not farfetched for brands to branch out to TV. There was another sign of this when McDonald started its own network, McTV.
You see, when the "gurus" get so caught up about joining the conversation, we see in our profession others who are still looking for ways brands can start it.
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