Lee Daley, chairman and chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi UK, thinks TV advertising is dead. Yet, he also says:
"Our business model is not dependent on TV," he says. "There will still be a need to deliver brand messages. Young people love brands more than ever. It's just that technology gives them the power to ignore them more easily than ever."
So, um, if people love brands, and you make the advertising entertaining and interesting to them, why then should they be skipping the ads on tv? To create concepts that are interesting to the target doesn't necessarily mean one must rely on viral techniques or content advertising in programs.
Or even as the article mentions, deceptive word-of-mouth models like BzzAgents, who recruit "agents" to create a "buzz" about products in their inner circle of friends, co-workers, and family. How would you react if you discovered a friend was only recommending something because they were getting paid for it? I know if I found out a friend of mine was doing that, I'd doubt their sincerity about alot more than their opinion on what brand of Vodka tastes good. All that buzz-bullshit may sound good to some but I can't imagine that it has the ability to last for a long time unless some transparency is adopted - because as soon as people realize what is going on, there will be pushback from the consumers. Then again, it seems people like being lied to lately, so who knows, I could be wrong.
In January there was a report by The Big Picture stating that "personal video recorders are costing the UK advertising industry over £30m a year."
Simon Andrews, founding partner of The Big Picture and a former Delaney Lund Knox Warren executive, said: "Viewers are fed up with being mugged by advertising everywhere they look."
He said that brands needed to provide content that was chosen by consumers.
"Be that [content] ad-funded programmes, mobile applications and content and broadband content that people seek out and spend serious time with. You don't get the big numbers you do with old-fashioned mass marketing but you replace quantity with quality," he said.
Ding ding ding! It's not necessarily about finding other alternatives, it's about boosting up the level of advertising. It's going to take smart creative to jump over this hurdle.
One of the things to remember, is that even without the PVRs, people still use a amazing thing called a remote control to avoid seeing commercials. Ad-avoidance is not new. It's just become easier.
But is TV advertising really just going to go away? Andy Barnes, director of sales at Channel 4, says:
"People like television advertising. They want to buy products. Do I think PVRs are powerful? Yes. But will they have the effect of killing commercials? No. The advertisers don't want it. The viewer doesn't want it. The broadcaster doesn't want it."
Ok, so no one wants TV ads to disappear into the night. This means something needs to be done. And I think it all needs to start with stepping up to the challenge of creating pieces of communication that people want to watch.
Is there a reason why this is only applied to viral spots? The same sort of revolutionary thinking that people seem to think is only appropriate for viral stunts is the same sort of thing that is fundamental to capturing audiences' attention in a traditional TV spot. Clients and ad agencies need to stop wasting their money creating ads that people just don't care about or want to watch. It seems a rather stupid approach to take yet we all know that it happens all the time. Want proof? Just turn on your telly.