Television is the ultimate idiot box. It allures the viewers and dulls them into thinking uni dimensionally. Many have become addicted to Television. But watching television comes with a catch. One has to watch the advertisements to see the serial or the programme. It is the advertisements that drive the programming and the audience are forced to watch the advertisements continuously.
The viewers got their break with the invention of the remote control. Now the control was back in the hands of the viewer. With a flip of a button the viewers could swap the channels and watch two TV programmes at the same time (popularly called Zapping). The following are some of the strategies that the advertisers have tried to make the viewers watch their advertisements.
- Increase the sound of the advertisement in relation to that of the programme. As the sound is louder it attracts attention.
- Have an advertisement that is totally silent. Television falling silent would also create attention.
- Have an advertisement that has rerun value. An advertisement that is memorable or is humorous is tolerated or even welcomed. Some advertisements have attained iconic status, are admired and get watched repeatedly. The Fevicol series of advertisements of India are a case in point.
- Advertisements that run as a series by themselves. Many advertisements have been made as a serial so that viewers watch them to see the end of the advertisement.
- Many advertisers have induced the viewers to watch their advertisements by creating contests centered on the advertisements. Viewers who could correctly answer the questions got a prize.
- Advertisers also have put some numbers in their advertisements. Viewers have to see the advertisements to know the numbers. The viewers who saw the advertisements and sent a SMS with the numbers mentioned were awarded a prize.
- Advertisers have also made their advertisements a part of the programme. When the next part of the serial (that will be aired after the commercial beak) is being shown the name of the main sponsor or his product is displayed.
- Many advertisers have tried the crawlies. Crawlies are small messages or advertisements that crawl from left to right at the bottom of the television screen.
The ultimate threat is the invention of the DVR (Digital Video Recorder). DVR is a revolutionary product. It can record live television and it has a memory capacity in excess of 500 GB. That effectively means that many hundreds of hours of live TV can be recorded. Viewer can now practice time lapse Television watching.
Time lapse TV watching is watching TV at time convenient to the viewer. The biggest sufferer in time lapse television watching is the advertiser. His advertisements can and will be fast forwarded by the viewer. The biggest challenge for the TV advertiser is to make the viewer watch the advertisement and not fast forward it.