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The End of TV Ads? Not so Fast.

January 14, 2009  

The advent of DVR technology struck fear in the hearts of advertisers worldwide. Suddenly, viewers were able to fast-forward through TV commercials! A sad truth quickly emerged: when given the option, consumers love to hit that FF button. Now, let's (ahem) fast-forward to today. Are we witnessing the demise of the TV ad? Well, not necessarily. New research is showing that, with the right kind of ad, fast-forwarding can actually enhance your brand messaging. Yep, you heard right.

These researchers used eye-tracker technology to observe viewing behavior as subjects fast-forwarded through TV commercials. Here are some of their (somewhat astounding) findings:

  • Fast-forwarding viewers actually pay more attention during commercials than those watching commercials at regular speed.
  • Fast-forwarded advertisements still create brand memory, even with a 95% reduction in frames and complete loss of audio.
  • Fast-forwarded commercials can positively affect brand attitude, behavioral intent and even actual choice behavior.

But pay close attention here: there's one fact that every marketer simply must know to make brand marketing work during fast forwarding. (Drum roll, please):

The attention of fast-forwarding viewers is heavily limited to the center of the screen. To grab their attention, advertisers must place simple, eye-catching brand information dead center.


The Po!nt: TV ads won't die, they'll morph into another form. "Marketers can counteract the negative effects of DVRs by ensuring that their advertisements are heavily branded, and that the branding is centrally located," these researchers conclude.

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