AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Peanuts and television ads

Okay - I mentioned it various times before that I like to be up North with my in-laws. What is amazing is the number of hours in the day that the television in playing. Frequently, the TV is playing Malaysian channels, but oftentimes, we flip to other channels for a short while and back again.

But who is actually watching television? During the daytime, frequently the "youngsters" only - they watch Cartoon or Disney Channel, while in the evening, the adults gather around it to watch movies on local channels, or sometimes HBO or other movie channels.

However, if there are visitor (and there are a lot), the TV is switched to a local station in the daytime as well, but we sit at the table a bit further away to talk. Some sit on the sofas around the TV to still watch TV, or talk to other people that also sit on the sofa.

During Hari Raya, a lot of times, we played those stations that broadcasted Hari Raya music. Sorry for the detailed description of how the house looks like.

What I wanted to say is that the sheer amount of advertisement played on local TV stations is amazing - and the number of interruptions that we have to endure. It really is no fun.

I think in a 90 minute movie, there are about 30 minutes of commercial breaks. I don't watch local stations too often, and haven't realised this in such a detail. I watch movie channels, which don't have advertisements. Other channels that I usually watch are Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, or BBC, CNBC or CNN - they have commercial breaks but not that many.

Those interruptions in the local channels are really upsetting. The book that I brought along to read contains a nice, but somehow ironical exercise to show the uselessness of advertisements. It says the following:

"Sit down and watch an hour and a half of commercial television with a small bag of peanuts. Take as the basic premise that any good piece of communication has to be at least relevant and distinctive. Count the number the number of ads that fulfill this single basic premise and mark each one with a peanut on the arm of your chair. Eat the other peanuts - It might be depressing but at least you don't go hungry."

I think I would have ate tons of peanuts while I was in Perlis. It is of course a matter of defining distinctive or relevant, and each viewer has a different definition. But there was hardly any ad that would have been distinctive and relevant to me - try it yourself!

But hey - I liked the Petronas ad - and I liked the passage when the guy at the piano turned around and said that it is not necessary that everytime someone needs to die in Petronas ads. But while it is entertaining and distinctive, it is not relevant.

A Harvard Business Review article, back in 2002, wrote the following:

"Copernicus (a research company) researched 340 commercials shown in prime time and identified a differentiating brand message--that is, a clear positioning--in only 7% of those ads."

And yeah, this is how I feel - sorry about this commercial thinking of mine, but what has to be said has been said. Lol.


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