I think the fundamental question for marketers is an old one.
Is the consumer a moron or is she not?
Long ago, of course, David Ogilvy took a stance on the matter and said we must treat her (or him) with respect.
However, market-forces, I think, have conspired to push marketers to be disrespectful.
Lord John Reith, founder of the British Broadcasting Company said in 1934, “Broadcasting is too important to be trivialized and vulgarized by market forces.”
Well, to be caustic about Reith’s remark, that was then, this is now.
Now marketers and “service” providers (the definition of a service provider is ‘one who provides no service’) fairly assault the viewer.
Not only will we bombard the viewer with about 20 minutes of commercials per hour during the Super Bowl, we’ll also throw station promos at viewers, not to mention the ads in the stadium that are wholly visible, not to mention the logos on players shoes and uniforms, not to mention the bushwa the announcers will be announcing.
I think if there were any such thing as independent research we’d find that most viewers feel towards ads like a saturated sponge: they can’t possibly absorb any more.
So, our solution to saturation is to saturate even more. Now every TV commercial shown during the game is bolstered by a “social strategy” which promises to thrust tweets our way every four minutes or so.
Maybe this is a function of my impending dotage. But the bombast of marketing is so overwhelming I, personally, turn off everything.
Even when I drop $300 to see an opera at the Met, I am told that it’s sponsored by some bank somewhere. The subtitles are brought to me by another bank. There’s even an ad for yet another bank on my ticket stub.
Public TV and Public Radio are just as bad. It seems a third of their air time is devoted to saying who they’re sponsored by (which is an ad) or asking for money (which is an ad) or promoting another show (which is an ad.)
There are times, I’ll admit, that though I live in the self-proclaimed ‘greatest city in the world,’ where I feel like sitting in a comfortable chair with my dog at my side and chilling in front of the TV. Leaning back.
I can no longer do this.
The noise is too loud.
And you’re treating me like an idiot.
As Yogi Berra was reputed to have said, “No wonder nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
If viewership is down, it’s because it’s too crowded.
And we’re not idiots.