In Search of the Uncommercial

Stuart Elliott reports that TV execs are exploring changes in the way they deliver commercials in attempt to better hold viewers’ attention throughout the program.

At a meeting scheduled for today in Burbank, Calif., ABC, part of the Walt Disney Company, will show several ideas to executives from media agencies gathered for the network’s annual spring development meeting. The meeting offers ABC a chance to share program concepts that are being considered for the 2007-8 season.
Along with the program proposals will be suggestions for what Michael Shaw, president for sales and marketing at the ABC Television Network unit of ABC, called “ways to hold the audiences the best we can” during commercial pods.

The tactics in question are not discussed in Elliott’s article. He does remind us of tactics past.

Viewers in the 1950s and 1960s kept watching commercials because the spots were often delivered by the hosts or stars of the shows in which they appeared. The industry coined a term, cast commercial, to describe spots in which, say, Jack Benny and Don Wilson bantered about Jell-O or Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore puffed Kent cigarettes together.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.