TiVo and DVRs have forever changed television advertising. With viewers now able to fast forward through commercials, companies need to create enticing ads that make us want to watch them. Personally, I only stop to watch a new Geico spot or something odd that makes me think “what was that?” as I fast forward through commercials.
So when we started creating our new TV commercial, we knew it needed to not only raise brand awareness, but also needed to give viewers a reason to stop, rewind, and watch it. And I’m not talking about gimmicks like intrusive ads as you fast forward or hidden/subliminal messages. I’m talking about real, good commercials that make you go “hmmm.”
With recent figures showing that at least 1/3 of US households have a TiVO/DVR device with an average of 70% of people fast-forwarding through commercials, creating an ad in this environment is pretty damn hard, but obviously not impossible.
A study done this past November at Boston College, and featured in Wired said,
'...the act of fast-forwarding through ads causes viewers to pay even more attention to the center part of the screen — the better to know when to return to “play” — even as advertisements whipped past at 20x the normal speed without sound. Apparently, our brains are still able to process images and retain brand messaging even when we’re only seeing one out of every 24 video frames.'
Even if 70% of people are fast forwarding through your commercial, you can still seemingly reach 100% of your viewers.
For the Grasshopper commercial we had to hit on the two key elements to reach our DVR-centric audience:
Create brand awareness
Grab attention at high fast forward speeds
So what did we do?
We put our mascot, Gary, into an animation where he is centered, staring at you throughout the spot even as you fast forward through the commercial
Added a cool morphing effect that kept his face centered but the background constantly changing
Fast forward the commercial and the message (and the visual) isn’t lost. He just looks like micro-machine man.
Creating a commercial for a Tivo/DVR world isn’t impossible. It just takes some creative thinking and research.
Here are a couple articles to help you plan your very own TiVo-Proof ad:
Consumers To Marketers: Fast-Forwarding Through Commercials Means We're Less Likely To Hate You