Premium POV

The Incredible Shrinking Commercial

A job request came into our Creative department recently. It asked us to produce a new YouTube pre-roll spot (a commercial, of sorts) for a client. “Alright,” I thought, “a new broadcast job!

And wow, it’s a :60!”

Not so fast, Steve – your eyes are playing tricks on you. That job order didn’t say :60.

It specified a :06. Yeah, that’s right, six. As in seconds. A six second spot. That’s a whopping one-second longer than a typical radio traffic sponsorship tag – “Today’s traffic is brought to you by Larry’s Mexican Buffet.” Six seconds? Really? What’s this advertising world coming to?

Well, it seems that it’s coming to shorter and shorter commercials. Because new, non-traditional spot lengths are on the upswing. According to a recent article on Axios, author Sara Fischer reports that close to 10% of all commercials are no longer 10, 15, 30 or 60 seconds in length.

Earlier this year, Fox debuted six-second ads at the Teen Choice Awards. And on-line, the big guns like Facebook and Snapchat are showcasing the effectiveness of ads in the first two seconds!

Two, measly seconds. That’s fast, folks.

The reason for this “shrinkage,” it seems, are millennials. They’re tuning out traditional commercials. Fischer writes that a Media Habits Survey from Adobe shows between 34% and 49% of viewers use another screen when commercials are on TV. And 79% of millennials are distracted by other electronics “most of the time” or “all of the time” during commercial breaks. That’s a daunting statistic to overcome.

So, the answer seems to be “make ‘em shorter.” With the hope being, if it’s short, sweet and attention getting, maybe it will stand out and get noticed. With so many distractions and so much competition for one’s attention, it seems to be a logical solution.

If you’re responsible for a premium brand – especially one aimed at millennials – this is certainly food for thought. Your key to broadcast success might be to “shorten up your punches,” so-to-speak, and run shorter spots. They can be less expensive to produce. And if they get your audience’s attention, it’s a win-win.

In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for these new and improved shorty commercials. Just don’t blink. You might miss them.

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