Monday, June 4, 2007

Commercials As Entertainment

Last week I mentioned Nielsen's new advertisement ratings, which are meant to capture just how many folks are sticking around to be sold Hondas, coca cola and iPods. Whatever the ratings figure, you can imagine that it will be a lower number than the program ratings are, and trickier to measure after that program has been recorded.

Quite frequently, and with growing numbers, the commercials are the entertainment themselves. It can be argued that the popular Pokemon cartoons my older kids used to watch were just half hour commercials, as can many of the Saturday morning fare. Now ABC is launching a half hour comedy based on the Geico ads featuring put upon cavemen offended by the slogan, "so easy a caveman can do it". I wonder if Geico is fronting any of the production costs? Will the Gecko make a guest appearance?

With the internet, commercial are often entertainment destinations for the kids. Where are the most flash games? Check out M&M's fun and games portion of their site, or just about any breakfast cereal aimed at children. Brands themselves are destination points for Barbie and Polly Pockets game players.

With more video being seamlessly added, the commercials are coming in from all sides. Thank goodness your TV can't switch channels for you. More than once I have inadvertently clicked on an ad that popped in from the side after an accidental roll over. (sounds like a car accident).

So get ready for product placement, sponsorship and entertainment not imagined since "The Truman Show". I don't mind it so much because I am aware of it. Just make sure that you teach your kids to spot it as well.

Here is an exchange you might hear in my home.

"What are you watching, sweetie?"
"A commercial."
"Can you tell me what they are trying to do?"
"They're trying to sell me something."
"Way to go, Kiddo."

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