"What was that?"
In the last week or so, you probably have noticed a strange TV commercial while watching a favorite TV show on Fox. My teenage daughter and I both turned to each other after seeing it for the first time during American Idol...and, yes, we did say to each other: "What was that?"
Turns out it's a new TV ad campaign to help make commerical breaks more "sticky", by making them more interesting and less prone to channel-flipping. Fox is weaving in a fresh update of an old radio and TV programming idea: interstitials.
The other networks are planning their own interstitial campaigns, too.
Essentially, these interstitial promo ads sell nothing. But they make you stick around a little longer through the commerical break to encourage you to watch the commericials instead of just tune out, fast-forward the TiVo or walk out of the room.
As the Guiness gents might say in their ads, "Brilliant!"
For the Fox promo interstitials, these various offbeat, 8-second clips feature an animated cabbie named Oleg who talks to you while looking at you through his rearview mirror.
Makes you think "You talkin' to me? Are you talkin' to me?" (think DeNiro...or is that Tom Cruise?).
With Nielsen ready to roll out its new TV ratings for each show's commercials about to figure in ad sales negotiations beginning at the end of May, this is a tried-and-true great idea to increase ad watching.
What took so long?
Way back when we were still partying in 1999, this study confirmed the effectiveness of interstitial advertising.
TV typically loses an average of 7% of viewers as soon as a commercial break starts, according to media buying agency Magna Global.
Radio has been doing interstitials for decades. It's what helps radio stations create their special "X factor" of personality and sense of specialness. In radio, it's needed "ear candy".
And the Internet has been doing interstitials for the last couple of years in order to move beyond annoying banner ads or poor pop up windows which get blocked.
If this is a new TV media trend, we will be watching them. But will TV get it right...or will it quickly turn into added clutter?
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Sunday, April 15, 2007,