Advertising in a Tivo World

15 Nov 2004|Christoper Ireland

As I’ve blogged in the past, PVRs like Tivo and Replay have made TV an enjoyable past time again. Now when insomnia hits, I don’t have to endure a re-run of Gilligan’s Island and can watch this week’s episode of Survivor instead. But more importantly, I can quickly skip past all the commercials of any show and focus my attention on the content.

When we had Replay, we used the Skip button and never saw any ads. With Tivo and other set-top options, you have to fast forward, so some of the ad is visible. After doing this for about 100 hours, I have definite opinions on which advertisers know they are living in a Tivo-world….

The clear winner is Target. Even zipping thru their ads at 3X speed with no sound, their branding is powerful. You can’t ignore those little circles and their distinctive color palette. Furthermore, they freeze their ads regularly, making it seem to a fast-forwarding viewer as though it’s a print ad. Very clever those Minnesotans.

The broadcasters are clued in as well. They tend to place ads right before the TV returns to content. It’s hard to hit the Play button precisely, so every so often you need to sit thru the last commercial before content returns. It’s usually about an upcoming show.

HP seems to have figured out Tivo watchers as well. Their current Photo Printer ads (the ones showing a guy with multiple frames) is just as understandable without sound as with, although I love the song. But Epson’s ad with the small boy frozen in midpoint in a dive shows up even better.

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