The New York Times reports today on an all-commercial TV channel in Britain, the Advert Channel. Yes, that’s right, 24 hours a day of commercials, with no pesky programming to interrupt things. Of course, this would be just a crazy idea if some TV commercials weren’t funny and entertaining. But commercials are getting better, because media trends are forcing them to: TiVo watchers who fast-forward past commercials; radio listeners who can now avoid ad-laden commercial radio by subscribing to satellite radio services or instead downloading music online and listening on their portable MP3 players. For broadcast advertising to avoid becoming irrelevant, it must become entertaining.
We can certainly see that trend in action these days. Think of the wonderful American Express Jerry Seinfeld & Superman Internet ads. The other day in my car listening to my favorite local radio station, I heard a comedian doing a routine — then at the end discovered that it was a commercial for a product. In an age when more and more media is on-demand and interactive, advertising must change. A few are pointing the way.