It sounds reasonable until you step back and think about it. At a conference in Washington last month, NBC news researcher Jo Holz described how the network is conducting “biometric and neurological research,” in which they strap medical equipment on test subjects and measure heart rate, respiration, galvanic skin response and physical activities as the volunteers watch shows using DVRs.
One goal of this research? To gather additional evidence that, when fast-forwarding through ads, viewers still remember the brands. And, not surprisingly, Ms. Holz said that they do. In fact, Ms. Holz said, people “pretty much remember brands to the same extent they do in real-time.”
Really, we swear, he’s remembering your brand.
Now, imagine you’re an advertiser who is evaluating different mediums and you’ve never heard of television. In the pitch, the network explains: It’s a highly evocative medium where you have 30 seconds to tell your customers a story that will engage them in the way that no other medium can. Using the latest advancements in photography, sound, and video, you can produce beautiful spots that will win over not only customers’ minds but hearts. For 30 seconds, you will have your customers’ undivided attention.
True, the TV exec explains, new viewing technology does allow viewers to fast-forward through ads, reducing your beautifully produced 30 seconds to a mute, jerky 5. And, true, studies suggest that most customers who have this technology use it. But no matter! Even though the customers proudly say that they can’t stand watching ads and eagerly skip them, your own research suggests that this isn’t really true (the customers are deceiving themselves and the researchers). What’s more, your research suggests that the jerky, mute 5-seconds you got when you paid for 30-seconds of video storytelling is actually just as effective! How do they know this? Because they hooked the viewers up like lab rats and measured eye-movements, heart rates, and galvanic skin responses! And even as the viewers did everything they could to avoid your message like the plague, they remembered it. So sign right here on this dotted line.
Smart advertisers who still need TV should certainly use this research to argue that, if 5-second soundless spots are as effective as 30-second multi-media stories, it’s the 30-second spots that need repricing. Others should just stick with Adwords.
Also see: NBC: We Love DVRs!