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The Advertising Debacle That Nobody Discusses.

If We Did, Would It Change?

As a consumer, it doesn’t surprise us to see the same commercial shoved under our noses a dozen times during a single episode of one TV show. It’s annoying, yes, but we don’t switch the channel. And it doesn’t make us more likely to buy that product, and probably doesn’t raise the bar in terms of making it top of top of mind.

It is what it is.

I’m sitting here tonight watching Bones on my computer because my daughter is monopolizing our large TV for her favorite teen show on Netflix. In the course of three episodes, every single commercial break shows the same four commercials: a Nissan Rogue commercial, a Kindle commercial, a Verizon commercial and a Reese’s candy commercial.

Every. Single. Break.

Sometimes, the same commercial will run twice during the same break.

Although to give the station a little credit, at least the Verizon commercials rotated among three different ones.

Wait. One was a holiday commercial about gifts. Over two weeks after the holiday ended. What?!! I take that credit back! Is nobody paying attention here?

It feels like time spent viewing commercials is the same amount of time that’s spent watching the actual show. It sucks.

During each single show, there were commercial breaks about every seven minutes of those same four commercials. Any which way we do the math, it’s a LOT OF REPETITION.

Through three episodes, I see each commercial AT LEAST a dozen times.

And the marketing professional in me realizes that kind of repetition doesn’t amplify the return. I’m horrified about the wasted budget, even though it’s not my client. I even wonder if it creates a subliminal kind of consumer ill will, a negative brand equity, instead of bolstering the brand.

I absolutely know that it doesn’t make the consumer in me more likely to buy any of the products in the commercials and it doesn’t make them more top-of-mind.

Every advertising sales rep spouts off how important repetition of an ad is but, frankly, this is a ridiculous amount of repetition and I would defy any of them to show it makes a difference. Especially compared to the cost of each aired commercial!

As an advertiser, we negotiate to get a better price on our flight of ads. We invest huge dollar amounts in the creative. We strive for wrapping in metrics and bringing our clients ROI.

Then we get the list of when and where our spots aired, noticing how many of them are clustered together.

So why does it keep happening? Why don’t media buyers and advertisers protest the ad clumping that is happening?

It’s the equivalent of tens of thousands – even hundreds or MILLIONS of dollars wasted, depending on the size of the buy. Why aren’t we making a bigger fuss when this happens?

This repetition issue has dragged on for decades.

I haven’t handled media buys for the last five years, since I decided to focus on digital public relations, but if I were…. I would insist that the media buy specified a minimum time gap between each air time. I am also proud to say that when I WAS doing the buy, I was a royal pain in the ass, insisting this kind of repetition didn’t happen.

I realize the repetition is for the station’s convenience or lack of a full advertiser roster, but it seriously hampers REAL reach and return on the advertising buy.

The industry is finally shifting toward a stronger focus on metrics and results – long deserved by our clients.

So when it comes to advertising, shouldn’t fixing something like this be JUST AS IMPORTANT as retargeting and native advertising tactics?


(Pardon the advertising post on a blog that revolves around digital PR – but sometimes a girl’s just gotta take a stand!)