11/08

12 Satisfying Seconds of Advertising

So I’m listening to Pandora on my home audio/TV system via my Blu-Ray DVD player.

I was tuned in for about an hour as I read a book, listening to my custom-made Holiday music channel (lest you think I’m seasonally appropriate, I am that guy who listens to this kind of stuff all year long.  Yes, I am that guy).

After about thirty minutes, I heard and saw my first ad.  It was for Glade’s Winter Collection, a line of products designed with the Holiday consumer in mind and in its bullseye.  The spot ran for 12 seconds.  It was matched to the tone of the channel, matched to the visual “album art” ad poster, and – most importantly – matched exactly to the context of the content and to the kind of person who might actually purchase the product based on that context.

As radio ads go, in other words, it was a highly satisfying 12 seconds (did I mention it was only 12 seconds?). And it was the only spot in that 30 minute period.

I don’t think broadcasters yet understand the consequences of audio advertising reframed as an experience where the ad is multi-media, matched to its recipient, and delivered in doses that border between non-painful and innocuous.

Compare that with the typical dosage of advertising (not to mention the “pray and spray” nature of the messaging and targeting) on the average radio station, and you begin to see the future come into focus.

Technology that enables the world to shift to favor the wants of consumers will shift that world in that direction, and woe unto you if you try to stand in the way.

Over time, audiences will be retrained to a different experience:  One that is tailored to who they are and what they want, one that is radically committed to the user experience in the knowledge that consumer usage is a gift from the audience, not the living out of a prison sentence under the watchful eyes of radio’s corner office wardens.

Back to Pandora.  On the downside, another thirty minutes passed and there was that same Glade spot again, more a sign of an evolving market than one which over-values repetition, I know.

Meanwhile, there’s another facet of all this that broadcasters are missing.

I was listening to this Pandora content via my Blu-Ray DVD player, connected to the Internet.

That is, while the radio industry pesters the electronics manufacturers and Congress to legislate technology which solves a perceived radio industry problem (I’m talking to you, FM chips), Pandora and the other pure-plays work to enable and add value to technology which already finds its way into every home, workplace, and car in America.

So while radio tries to force our will on consumers, the pure-plays are piggybacking on available technology that consumers already use and value and only making it more useful and more valuable.

It there’s any doubt which way the future is heading, look no farther than a 12 second spot for Glade, heard via a Blu-Ray player.

In a room that contains no “radio.”

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