by: danah boyd
For quite some time now, TV channels have bemoaned services like TiVo for allowing viewers to skip over ads. I think that the TV stations are barking up the wrong tree. More importantly, I think that they're out of touch with viewers.
One of the fascinating things about teens and advertising is that they don't mind it. In fact, ads have come to signal "free" and so when teens see ads on websites, they assume that the service will continue to be free and that creates a sense of relief. Their complaint is not that ads are there, but that they are rarely relevant let alone interesting.
TV ads are the boringist. I have to admit that I watch them profusely in hotels and airport lounges because they are so fascinatingly bad. I have to imagine that people are trying to think up new TV ads, but do they bother for anything other than the Super Bowl? We all know that there are plenty of people who tune into the Super Bowl just to watch the ads. And there are certainly ads that people lurve and fans put them on YouTube. But most of them are le awful, especially those for political candidates and Save The XYZ causes.
For a long time now, I've been waiting for an ad that is directed at the TiVo crowd. Forget the 30-second forward people, there are still plenty who just use the 2X fast forward button. What if an ad only made sense using TiVo's slowed-down, frame skipping view? Wouldn't that be a trip? Rather than bitching about viewers, why not use the medium to play with them? Make something that they *want* to watch, are humored to watch? Am I asking too much when I ask TV stations to innovate?
Maybe a politician with a sense of creativity will try out a new tactic for reaching audiences through traditional media (cuz we all know that it's still the primary mechanism for reaching mass audiences)? OK, maybe I'm dreaming. But how fun would it be to create an ad that can be viewed at different speeds with different messages? ::giggle::