Commercials have traditionally been as much a part of television as the television shows themselves. Since the medium’s earliest days, advertisers have used it as a platform to promote their products, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into large campaigns targeted at specific audiences. But during that time, they’ve run into opposition from the same people they’re trying to sell to. This, in turn, led to thinking that ads should be eliminated entirely, and we find it hard to disagree. But why, you ask, should big business ditch television altogether?
1. People don’t like to be sold to
The main reason for the abolition of ads is simple: customers don’t like hard selling. This is why advertisers have spent years trying to make their sales pitches look like crap corn ads. Things like native advertising and viral marketing have taken hold in recent years, all in a concerted effort to make people feel like they’re not being sold.
Whether on billboards, in internet pop-ups, or on TV, we as customers go to great lengths to avoid ads, while advertisers keep pushing anyway. The figures also confirm this, with a study by Arris showing that 84% of respondents admitted they prefer fast-forwarding ads, while 60% say they download or record TV specifically to avoid ads altogether.
2. TV advertising is horribly outdated
In the early days of television, commercials made strategic sense. They were an integral part of the television experience and, with few other mediums available for advertising, it was the go-to strategy for many companies. Modern technology, however, has made television advertising unnecessary. According to The Guardian, “the increased use of smartphones and tablets is undermining the relevance of television advertising. Last month, researchers found that viewers who focused only on the TV screen could remember 2.43 out of three brands mentioned, while smartphone and tablet users could remember only 1. .62 on average. Basically, companies invest resources in an advertising medium that is quickly eclipsed by new media.
3. There are other ways to reach your customers
The fact that new media distracts people during commercial breaks isn’t entirely bad for advertisers. This gives them totally different ways to reach their customers. Native advertising, sponsored content, and viral marketing are all alternatives that blur the line between entertainment and advertising, creating a transparent and unobtrusive alternative. If your problem is that people don’t like to feel like they’re being sold, avoid that problem altogether and stop openly yelling, “HEY, THIS IS AN AD AND YOU SHOULD WATCH.” Of course, you’d run into the question of whether it’s morally acceptable to essentially deceive your clientele, but that’s a whole other discussion.
4. People are already finding workarounds
Even though many companies try tirelessly to push their ads to customers, people are finding a host of workarounds, both legal and illegal. Streaming options like HBO GO, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon gave audiences a taste of this sweet, ad-free nectar. Meanwhile, the rise of DVR has allowed people to fast forward through breaks in the action. All of this without even diving into alternatives like Popcorn Time and The Pirate Bay, which allow users to illegally download and stream virtually any TV show and movie ad-free. You can either try to fight the rising tide or learn to swim in it, and it would serve advertisers well to do the latter.
5. Advertisers can evolve over time or fail as a result
All of this leaves advertisers with only one option: adapt or die. Customers are quickly unplugging from the tried-and-true cable plan and opting for a number of ad-free options, from PlayStation VUE to Netflix. There are a multitude of choices for anyone looking to avoid ads, and if advertisers don’t find a way to exist in the world as it is, they will doom themselves to futility. Basing your model on what worked in the 1950s and 1960s isn’t exactly smart. The sooner businesses learn this, the sooner they will find a way to exist in our brand new world without commerce.
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