05 March 2009

Commercials are good for you.

Good for clients/advertisers? Good for ad agencies?  Or … you be the judge:

nytLiked the Show? Maybe It Was the Commercials.
By Benedict Carey
So why is it that commercial interruptions always ruin TV programs?  Maybe they don’t. In two new studies, researchers who study consumer behavior argue that interrupting an experience, whether dreary or pleasant, can make it significantly more intense.

nelson “The punch line is that commercials make TV programs more enjoyable to watch. Even bad commercials,” said Leif Nelson, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of California …

All true for most TV programs.  Scripts are structured around commercials, much like acts in a play.  The writers, directors, and editors take great pains to make sure you’re ready for a break – and ready to return after the cluster of commercials.  With dramatic pacing, they ease you in and out of the story.  If you watch a program without commercials, rhythm goes haywire, the half-dozen (non) transitions creating cognitive dissonance. 

With sports programming there are inherent transitions: innings, quarters, first downs, etc.  Just like the teams, you’re ready for a break. 

More from The New York Times piece:

In one of their papers, the authors even propose that commercial television evolved culturally to maximize enjoyment. The millions of Americans who record their favorite shows on TV may scoff; but they, too, often stop the shows to get a drink, make a call or talk. This kind of controlled interruption may represent a kind of ideal, Dr. Nelson said.

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