CBS Experiment in Ad Interuptus Shows How Desperate Nets and Advertisers Are In the face of TiVo

When are advertisers, networks and cable companies going to wise up to the real problem with advertising?

In gearing up for Nielsen ratings of commercial viewing, not just the programs, CBS has been tinkering with some terrible ideas. The worst is probably the practice of cutting up the monologue of Craig Ferguson, host of The Late Late Show, in half by inserting a four minute pod of commercials. Yikes. How stupid does CBS think we are. Those who are up at that hour to watch the moderately talented Ferguson aren’t going to tune in long under that scenario. Supposedly, CBS has backed of this idea already.

The fact is that most TV advertising is rotten. And if it isn’t rotten, its irrelevant. A dog food commercial is irrelevant in my house. So is an ad for new windows. So, is an ad for a disposable razor. Diapers. On and on. That’s why we skip.

One idea for getting high commercial ratings would be to go back to having hosts like Ferguson and Jay Leno read ads and hold the product up. That is an ad that will score very high. These guys could probably invent cool riffs on the products. Johnny Carson used to do it. Even Edward R. Murrow read ads on his show. Don Imus, before he got canned earlier this year, used to riff on ads for Bigelow Tea, Tassimo coffee makers and North Fork Bank. And they were far better ads than what was coming out of the ad agencies.

I happened to see, via YouTube, that Ferguson did an extended riff a few weeks back on the Apple iPhone. It was entertaining. Once in a while, he could do a riff on a product that was paid for by the sponsor. If it’s funny, people won’t care that it was paid. And people will watch.

Now, excuse me. I have to go watch the episode of Hell’s Kitchen I taped last night. And the only way I’m going to see the ads is if the messaging is clear as I blast through at 3>>> fast-forward speed.

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