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Within a matter of days, I remember walking over to the TV to flip the channel when the commercials would take too long.
Within a matter of weeks, I’d adopted the habit of lying close enough to the TV to flip the channels with my feet.
I have a natural rhythm for the commercial break and can often stop the fast-forwarding process perfectly with my eyes closed.
I know what kind of commercials certain networks show right before returning to programming that serve as a cue for me to stop.
I’d like to spend some time explaining this very human transformation, as it affects not only TV advertising, but the entire notion of what it means to be a media company in the 21st century.
Let me start at a very low level with a basic psychological statement about humans–each of us individually and all of us collectively are on a never-ending quest to be in complete control of our surroundings. As humans we spend incredible energy to get people to do what we want, to own things so we can do with them what we please, and to work collectively to subdue nature to our wills.
The internet and its impact on the level of control I expected when consuming content is probably a little too much to go into for an already overly-long post.
Let it suffice to say that I’d basically abandoned the TV for the internet long before TV-like content became available because I was just so much more in control with the internet.
And then, we got a new TV with a magical item I quickly learned to love–the remote control. Is it any wonder men treat these things like the fists of Zeus that they are?!
I skoff at their pathetic attempts to show a brief 5 second promo for the show that LOOKS like the show to entice me to stop for the next commercial–I am not fooled. Measure and counter-measure between sponsors and me, Joe-viewer.
The thing that the networks and the sponsors don’t understand, and the entire premise of this mammoth blog post is that it doesn’t matter if the networks and sponsors ultimately win the technology battle–they still lose!
As someone raising a 2 year old girl, it’s self-evident that this desire starts in infancy and that a lot of what it means to “grow up” is taking increasing control of our environment, as well as learning to accept the limited control each of us has (without crying uncontrollably, which apparently is the default reaction.) So what’s this have to do with brands and their effectiveness on TV?
Well, let me start with another somewhat obvious statement that sounds rather radical when stated plainly–TV is a miracle.