Years ago, we watched television programs interrupted by short commercial breaks. Slowly but surely, on the way to watching commercials, we are interrupted by short bursts of programming. As the commercials increase in quantity, many decline in effectiveness. Let's look at where we are today.
On a recent day in May, I count the number of commercials on one large network over a period of 30 minutes. The total was 33. This ridiculous amount leads to viewer behavior as:
1. Switch channels to see if another network is still in programming mode.
2. Press the Mute button until a commercial series ends.
3. Solution to not buy certain advertised products, usually those – –
a. Whose commercial is repeated to excess, sometimes even twice in the same series or
b. Whose presentation is crazy, insignificant, confusing or even filled with serious warnings about dangers associated with the product.
You may wonder whether advertisers are even aware of their advertising that causes viewer reactions.
As the amount of commercials has increased, more of the ads seem outright irrelevant or even negative. I suppose this comes from the producers of commercials that exhaust their creativity in a supersaturated market. We are apparently invited, for example, to get interested in buying a vehicle because we have seen it crash through a wall or in a chandelier hanging in the desert! These examples are so insignificant that I can not even remember the names or models of the advertised vehicles. I am just a few seconds busy wondering what unusual theories are behind the creation of such presentations. Another negative example is the advertising for some prescription medicines. We are told that a product can help to condition X, but then legally be warned that it can also stimulate thoughts about suicide or cause a heart condition or even lead to death. My usual reaction is to never use that product.
I do not know how much worse the situation can be. I believe, however, that it is time for a consumer revolution. Years ago, advertising revenues were paid for programming. Nowadays, television networks receive revenues from both advertisements and cable or satellite companies. There seems to be no financial necessity, which makes it necessary to really increase the amount of advertising. Here are some actions by consumers with which you can improve the situation:
1. WE should encourage one or more consumer organizations to assess all large networks on average per hour spent on advertising. Timing would discourage a switch to fewer but longer advertisements.
2. As consumers, we have to start moving away from networks with the highest advertising times.
3. We have to write to companies that sponsor insignificant advertisements and promise to boycott their products.
The goal of consumers should be to end the excessive number of TV commercials, but still allow a reasonable level, sometimes 9 or 10 short commercials per 30 minutes of broadcasting time. An investigation by the consumer assessment organization could indicate a maximum total time for such a reasonable number of complaints. Our role may be to become active rather than passive consumers who see how the current problem gets worse and worse.