Is Television Advertising Effective by Today’s Standards?

Let’s suppose we ask you to think back to the last time you watched television. What is one of the commercials you remember seeing? We’ll go ahead and predict that the conversation might follow one of these four paths:

  • “I can’t remember.”
  • “I’m not sure, but I really like the one where the kid is dressed like a cowboy and rides a big dog.”  Do you know what the commercial was advertising?  “No.”
  • “I record all of my shows and skip past the commercials.”
  • “I don’t really watch television.”  What do you watch?  “Well, I mostly just use Netflix, Hulu, and ProjectFree.TV.”

If you were actually able to recall a commercial that played the last time you watched TV, we applaud you.  If you also remembered what the commercial was advertising, that’s even more impressive. You are a rare breed, my friend!

For the rest of us, we’ve learned to tune out that sort of marketing message. Technology has even adapted to help us in this task.  With the introduction of TiVo came the ability to pause, record, and skip anything on television. Naturally, commercials were the first to be lost.  Netflix and other online viewing services have also provided alternatives for avoiding these commercials.

You may say, “Well, what about Super Bowl commercials?”  It’s true; brands are still spending millions of dollars on these prime-time spots. The question is: Are these TV ads as effective as they were even a decade ago?  If they were, then advertisers wouldn’t be releasing their commercials on the Internet days in advance of the big game.

That’s not to say that there’s no place for traditional marketing. A healthy mix of the two methods can be a good thing at times. Yet, it’s important to note the measurability and cost effectiveness of inbound marketing as opposed to traditional means.

How do you feel about traditional TV advertisements? Are these commercials mostly informational and entertaining, or are they more of a nuisance?  We’d love to hear your thoughts!