My Modest Proposal for Commercial TV Relevance
As anyone who watches (or pays to advertise on) commercial television, the three-minute blocks of paid messaging proffer a bit of the dog’s breakfast. When you watch, as I do, at the gym, there’s nowhere else to look and thus you cannot avert your gaze or run to the kitchen for a snack. Ergo: A forced march through an unimaginably disconnected world. The following is guaranteed to be the landscape.
“My Pillow. The most comfortable pillow, guaranteed.”
“Wondering about how a stair lift might change your life?”
“Indeed, 3 million jobs.”
“All the parts your car will every need: Rock Auto.”
“Final expenses insurance from Colonial Penn.”
“Starting a business is not for the faint of heart. Office Max.”
“We were concerned about getting in and out of our bathtub.”
“Tired of cleaning your husband’s CPAP machine?”
“Ready for a new catheter trial pack?”
“Blue Apron makes cooking fun and easy.”
“Sell your life insurance policy.”
“Wayfair is just what I need.”
“Cadillac CT6, more than you know you needed.”
“You may be ready for a reverse mortgage.”
“Get two phones for the price of one from T-Mobile.”
“My dad has AFIB.”
“Liberty Mutual car insurance for your teen drivers.”
“My mother started searching for words.”
Whenever I go into a corporate office, I always look for the suggestion box. Really. If I could find one for the broadcast media industry, I’d write “take a page from print magazines.” In other words, create a context in which clusters of advertising content make sense. Beauty product content in the context of Glamour. That is, make sense for a clear group of people. A segment. Why not have a three-minute block of advertising that focuses just on financial issues facing the elderly, another on Rx medication targeting specific conditions, another on medical devices to help people care for their parents? We can look at our cellphones or leave the room for the parts that don’t relate to us.
The audience for television is, of course, broader than for a print publication, but the clustering of content in a way that seems both cogent and worth watching for some portion of the audience is an idea whose time has come and may be nearly gone. If Netflix had a news program, imagine the implications.