It has become fashionable in some quarters ( I mean you digital hater who has no experience creating TV commercials) to diss, poo-poo and generally malign TV as an advertising medium.

But the inconvenient truth is that doomsday predictions about the end of TV advertising are resoundingly not coming to pass. For much the same reasons that TV did not kill radio I’m guessing. Yes, radio lost its pre-eminent place as a decisive cultural force but that didn’t mean that it just faded away either. It adapted to the changing times and found a new place in the culture. TV is in the throes of of a similar transitionary period. In some ways TV has actually gotten a lot better recently. TV dramas have gotten exponentially better IMHO. And the erosion of the primetime audience has led to the rise of “addictive TV” – American Idol, dancing with the stars etc. Clearly TV is not giving up without a fight.

Sunday’s Super Bowl will serve as a potent reminder of the power of TV to unite the culture in a way that the Internet never will. And that really is its point of difference from an advertising perspective. I remember having a very spirited discussion about this very topic a few years ago with….NAME DROP ALERT!…..Sir John Hegarty. And he was right and I was wrong. I was in the TV hater camp at that point. Never fight with a knight!

I have been fortunate enough to experience the power of the Super Bowl first hand quite a few times. And it’s amazing the impact it allows you to have on the culture.

How much does a Super Bowl ad cost these days? $100,000 a second? Worth every cent in my estimation. And I would be so bold as to posit that anyone who disagrees simply doesn’t know what they are talking about. They don’t know the value of attention.


  1. “It adapted to the changing times and found a new place in the culture. TV is in the throes of of a similar transitionary period.” – Exactly. You just need to associate your message with the right TV show. Until not long ago it was enough to choose the right hours, now it’s not anymore. Does the internet offer a direct method of reaching a huge percent of the internet users in one step? No. No matter if it’s internet or TV we’re talking about, the whole story can be narrowed down to identifying the right place and time to talk to the right audience.

  2. Yes Anca. We need to rethink how we use TV too. I personally look at it as the best way to seed an idea that has life outside of TV. I have a renewed appreciation for what it offers. TV is easy ;-)

  3. Ad people tend to believe that radio and TV are going to die because we now have the opportunity to choose what we watch and what we listen to if we switch to the internet. But it’s definitely not like this. They forget one essential thing: HOW LAZY PEOPLE ARE. People will always like the “room service” radio and TV represent, because they don’t have to bother with the “research”.

  4. exactly anca. since the days of the Coliseum people have loved sitting back, turning off their minds and enjoying the show. why should that change all of a sudden?

  5. You echo my sentiments exactly.

    Here’s the other piece of the puzzle: push the “TV is dead” crew and they’ll cry “uncle” and admit that what they’re referring to is the current schedule-based network programming paradigm: not TV itself.

    It’s not too hard a stretch to imagine a point in the near future where all TV is available online and accessed via a website. Now shows would become available at specific times and days and sites like CNN would live-stream the news, but TV and the web are becoming more similar, not less similar as increased broadband lets us watch high quality video online.

    And as you note, the stuff we watch (aka “content”) is not suddenly going to change.

  6. agree alan. and with VOD we kind of already have what you are talking about. on a nice big screen. my family and i watch most of our TV via VOD. it’s great. my kids actually say “can i watch something on demand?” not, “can i watch something on tv?”.

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