Thursday, July 06, 2006

The ultimate marketing machine

The problem is obvious. The television room may be empty. Its owners may have gone to the kitchen to make a cup of tea or to the toilet. They may have switched channels during the commercial break, be napping or talking on the telephone. The viewer may be a teenage girl, even though the advertisement promotes Viagra. It might even be a TiVo or other such device that records the show so that the owner can watch it later and skip through the commercials. Parks Associates, a consumer-technology consultancy, estimates that 10m American households already have a digital video recorder.

This often leads to more subtle changes in the way that advertisers think about their craft, says Mr Armstrong. In the traditional media, he says, advertisers are always “trying to block the stream of information to the user” in order to “blast their message” to him. That quickly gets annoying and turns consumers off. In American prime-time television, advertising interruptions added up to 18 minutes an hour last year, up from 13 minutes an hour in 1992, according to Parks Associates. On the internet, by contrast, advertisers have no choice but to “go with the user,” says Mr Armstrong, and “the information coming back from the users is more important than the messages going out.”

From the article "The ultimate marketing machine."

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