Many years ago, when the VCR was still in its infancy (and the latest “must-have” item came with a wired remote), the advertising industry and the broadcasters were in a state of hub-bub because their audiences were learning that they could record their favorite TV shows and skip past the commercials. Gasp! The age of “zapping” was upon us.
“What shall we do?” bemoaned ad agencies. “How will we know how many people are watching our ads? How can we pay the TV stations when we don’t know the details?”
“What shall we do?” cried TV stations. “How will we know how many people are watching the ads. How can we charge the ad agencies when we don’t know the details?”
And great upset fell upon the land. And the ad execs and TV execs did wring their hands and wretch violently about their board rooms. And there was much gnashing of teeth and shedding of tears. The age of the industrial-television complex (as Seth Godin calls it) was reaching it’s end.
“Woe is me! Woe is to us! The end is nigh!”
So the great leaders of broadcast put together their brains and thoughts and thrashed about for clever ideas about how to keep their income at sufficient levels to justify their existence in houses of gold and silver. So, they did appeal to the leaders of our country,
“Please place a tax upon the sale of video tapes, for they are bringing a plague upon our houses and we must be saved.”
And the leaders said “No.”
“Please place a tax upon the sale of VCRS, for they are bringing a plauge upon our houses and we must be saved.”
And again, the leaders turned a deaf ear.
“Please make it so that videotapes cannot record,” they asked of the manufacturers.
The and manufacturers said “Are you nuts?”
Gloom rose from the horizon. Sadness settled like a thick fog upon New York and Hollywood. All was lost.
Until one ad agency (and I wish I could remember whom) boldly said, “Why don’t we just make TV ads that people want to watch?”
“Huh?” said the ad agencies.
“WTF?” said the TV production houses.
But the one sole advertising agency, stranded in the darkness ventured forth and provided ads with humor, and high production values, and emotional appeal. And they did not treat their audience like lame-brains and idiots, but respected the desires of the consumers. And they prospered.
And the TV industry survived. And we were treated to great ads that are so much fun to watch that we cannot skip them.
Such as the latest eTrade ad which aired on the superbowl:[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yhfl4mFH1No]
And they lived happily ever after — at least until the age of downloads.