Tivo, YouTube and the urgent need of Awesomeness.
Tivo changed my life. After going through a period of watching very close to zero TV (I was made fun of for not even having a box in my setup; it was wall-cable- tv) I now watch what seems like a reasonable amount of TV (and I probably watch more ads now than I did before too, despite choosing to skip probably 95% of ads presented to me – simply because my consumption increased so much).
What changed wasn’t my schedule or the content on TV, of course. It was just being able to control when and how I watch it. Tivo gave me control.
Now YouTube is going to give people more control over what ads they watch as well. An article recently published on AdAge provides more details if you’d like to understand exactly how it will work. Basically, not only people will have more control over which ads they see but, in some cases, even if they watch an ad at all.
In both cases, those relatively new platforms (emphasis on relatively) are giving people more control and, in doing so, making it harder for advertisers to simply count on somewhat forced, or at least difficult to avoid, exposure.
And here’s what I think, or hope, will happen. The quality of the creative that’s aired will improve. I think it will have to.
Unless relevant and better-than-just-good-enough stuff is put in front of people, ads will just be skipped with increasing ease, everywhere, in any platform. And sure, people have been ignoring ads that are not as good as they should be, or that are too loosely targeted, for a long time. But in that scenario people at least see the stuff they’re ignoring, so at least you get exposure (and that exposure counts and is measured as accurately as possible). In a not so distant new reality, it seems we’re going to have a lot more people simply skipping ads (which is way more black-or-white to measure than the gray area of ignoring ads). A lot of people will choose to have ads not be part of their experience, at all, unless they are really, REALLY good. Hence the need for awesomeness.
The bar is being raised. We have to make more awesome stuff.
Ask yourself. Is half of what’s aired today, regardless of specific category, industry or language, really good? Is it good enough that we think people would choose – emphasis on choose – to watch it?
Here is one ad I’ve enjoyed lately. It may not be brilliant, it certainly won’t change the ad world, but it’s clever and fun. I actually said “Aaaah… Awesome.” and had a smile on my face the first time I watched it. And no, it’s not just because of the attractive lady in it.
But wait… You’ve seen the Old Spice campaign, right? If you haven’t please see that one before watching this one: