15 November, 2010

I'll take Ad Space for $9, Alex.

The "first" television ad in history cost only $9 for a 20 second placement.

In the day-to-day trials of getting a client-approved budget, I can't even imagine the conversation that takes place to sell a multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad. Perhaps the best card was played by Miller Brewing Co. for their 1 second Miller High Life ads. Why pay almost $3mm for 30 seconds when you get your messaging across in 1. Just in case you blinked and missed it - click here.

The early part of my career was spent in a pretty sterile environment filled with pencils and calculators buying ad space. Granted, this wasn't that long ago but the point remains. It's like building a puzzle without a point of reference. The basic goal is to buy the best rated programs for the lowest price to reach your target market. A 30 second spot, during prime time, on a Thursday night? Forget about it. Especially if you were working with a bare-bones budget. And then it happened. "Head On. Apply directly to the forehead. Head On. Apply directly to the forehead. Head On. Apply directly to the forehead."

Am I freaking out? Did I just witness a glitch in the Matrix?

And then it happened again. Like a bad dream, televisions all over the nation were being attacked by this repetitious assault. Now, 5 years later, I see the genius behind this campaign. I don't know if this product is still around but I still remember the brand and tag line. Can Head On really be classified with the "Where's the beef?" lady?

The real shocker was that it only took 10 seconds to get across. Why am I paying for 30 second spots when I could be buying 10? I didn't even know that was possible. The truth is, 10 second ads have always been around. Advertisers just didn't know how to use them properly. At the very best, you could take a 30-second spot, split it down the middle and use it to bookend another spot. It gets the consumers attention but is it memorable?
I don't know how well the 1 second ad tracked but in doing some research, myself and a fellow colleague watched the reel of spots that never saw the light of day. It may have fallen short of it's 15 minutes of fame but thanks to YouTube, advertising will live on beyond it's allotted media space.
-- Jim Luparello III Assc. AE Frugal Bugle

I'll take Ad Space for $9, Alex.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
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