TV commercials used to captivate the nation. They had the whole country yelling “wazzzzzzzzzz uuppppppp” at their friends and humming as the freecreditscore.com jingle as they walked down the street.
While TV commercials still do get people talking, they don’t have the power that they used to. It’s not the fault of the makers of commercials (they have ironically been more entertaining now than ever before), however, it is the change in technology and how we watch our shows that are to blame.
Think about the last time you were watching TV. When the commercials came on, what did you do?
My first bet is that you reached for your phone or some other device with a screen nearby. Heck, I am sitting here writing this blog post during the commercials of a golf tournament. Why would you watch the commercials when you have the entertainment of your favorite game, social media, or the entire internet within a few feet of you at all times?
My next guess would be that you just hit fast forward. For those that still do watch shows on cable, a DVR is now a standard piece of equipment. People are using them too – in a recent survey, it was discovered that 60% of people have recorded a show purely to fast forward through the commercials. That is right, not to watch it later, not because it was on at the time they couldn’t watch, but simply because they did not want to watch commercials.
Of course, all of this is based on the fact that you still watch cable, which a growing number of consumers are moving away from. The growth of channels like Netflix, Hulu, and Playstation Vue has majorly disrupted the cable television industry with their on-demand shows and allowing you to watch them whenever and where you want. As a matter of fact, Q1 of 2017 was the worst quarter in history for cable television subscriptions. As more and more people cut the cord and move to alternative channels to watch their shows, The cable tv commercial will not have the same impact that it once used to.
Now I am not saying that cable TV will be gone in the next 3, 5, or even 10 years, but the way advertisers think about their commercials will need to change much sooner than that. The thing that challenges TV advertisers now is finding a way to get people to put down the phone, or draw their eyes away from the computer screen. I am sure it can be done because our attention spans are shrinking (I speak from personal experience), but it will take some clever advertising to do so.