For years, Don Lapre offered up a too good to be true story about how we would all be mega-millionaires if we only followed his advice. Just send him some money now and he would be more than happy to tell us all of his secrets to making it big.
Now the government says 220,000 people were defrauded by this guy, to the tune of at least $532 million. Lapre used broadcast and cable television to get his fraudulent message across.
My question is: what is the responsibility of the TV networks here? I’m sure he’s screwed them out of some money as well, but do they even bother to do any kind of due diligence before accepting advertising such as his? What about a few weeks in, when everyone had seen the spots? Didn’t any network executive say to themselves “Is this guy for real?” How about when SNL did a sketch about him? Nothing?
I guess one could make an argument that he would not have been able to succeed in his scam without the networks lack of concern, so are they part of the problem?
When I was with CBS Radio, I couldn’t even run a spot for a costume contest on Halloween without having everything delineated in writing by the advertiser. You would think that the networks would have some sort of policy in place to assure that these snake oil salesmen don’t use their spot inventory to commit fraud.
Does it show contempt for one’s audience when the broadcaster doesn’t seem to care that the advertiser is shilling for something that is just too good to be true? Is it more important to get the business and close the deal than to protect the financial interests of your viewers?
My guess is that the networks will probably say ‘we will offer our support in any way we can’ when it comes to finding this guy and putting him in jail for good. But the truth is, had they been a little more skeptical early on in the game, the scam might not have succeeded at all. And 220,000 of their viewers would have a few more bucks in their wallets.
I’m working on a new project right now with one of my favorite directors. He’s recommending we shoot this series of commercials with the new ALEXA, from ARRI.
He’s all pumped up about the extraordinary 35 format film-style digital camera system. He insists it’s just perfect for what we’re looking to do.
The camera will give us outstanding image quality with the organic look and feel of film, but what happens afterward is what is juicing him so much.
We’ll shoot with the HD on-board recording and after our shoot, we’re just going to pull out the large card we’ve recorded on and move the files right over to the Mac to edit, saving a tremendous amount of time and money in the process.
It does beg the question. Is film dead?
By Emily Fredrix
And now, a word from our sponsors. A very brief word.
TV commercials are shrinking along with attention spans and advertising budgets. The 15-second ad is increasingly common, gradually supplanting the 30-second spot just as it knocked off the full-minute pitch decades ago.
For viewers, it means more commercials in a more rapid-fire format. For advertisers, shorter commercials are a way to save some money, and research shows they hold on to more eyeballs than the longer format.
“It used to be that the most valuable thing on the planet was time, and now the most valuable thing on the planet is attention,” says John Greening, associate professor at Northwestern University’s journalism school and a former executive vice president at ad agency DDB Chicago.
So instead of seeing a lengthier plot line, viewers are treated to the sight of, say, the popular “Old Spice man” riding backward on a horse through various scenes for just 15 seconds.
Or the “most interesting man in the world,” the suave, rugged, Spanish-accented character pitching Dos Equis beer, appearing just long enough to turn his head and weigh in on the topic of rollerblading. (Verdict? A deadpan “No.”)
The number of 15-second television commercials has jumped more than 70 percent in five years to nearly 5.5 million last year, according to Nielsen. They made up 34 percent of all national ads on the air last year, up from 29 percent in 2005.
Commercial-skipping digital video recorders and distractions such as laptops and phones have shortened viewers’ attention spans, says Deborah Mitchell, executive director of the Center for Brand and Product Management at the University of Wisconsin. Viewers are also watching TV streamed on sites like Hulu, where advertisers have less of a presence.
Read the entire article here.
There is so much research on this topic already and more seems to come out every day. There needs to be a greater focus on advertising to combat this horrible trend. It will have to be powerful stuff, like Marsteller’s “Crying Indian” that featured Native American actor, Iron Eyes Cody. It was one of the most successful campaigns of its kind, with some suggesting it reduced litter by almost 90% in 300 communities.
Now that’s how you do it.
By Mary Madden and Lee Rainie.
Adults are just as likely as teens to have texted while driving and are substantially more likely to have talked on the phone while driving.
In addition, 49% of adults say they have been passengers in a car when the driver was sending or reading text messages on their cell phone. Overall, 44% of adults say they have been passengers of drivers who used the cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger.
Beyond driving, some cell-toting pedestrians get so distracted while talking or texting that they have physically bumped into another person or an object.
These are some of the key findings from a new survey by The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project:
- Nearly half (47%) of all texting adults say they have sent or read a text message while driving.
- Looking at the general population, this means that 27% of all American adults say they have sent or read text messages while driving. That compares with 26% of all American teens ages 16-17 who reported texting at the wheel in 2009.
- Three in four (75%) cell-owning adults say they have talked on a cell phone while driving. Half (52%) of cell-owning teens ages 16-17 reported talking on a cell phone while driving in the 2009 survey.
- Beyond driving, one in six (17%) cell-owning adults say they have physically bumped into another person or an object because they were distracted by talking or texting on their phone. That amounts to 14% of all American adults who have been so engrossed in talking, texting or otherwise using their cell phones that they bumped into something or someone.
More about Adults Text While Driving Too here.
By Joseph Young
They have been all over television over the past few years. You’ve seen them before. The beautifully art directed HD spots from BP. All those bright green and yellows flying around to that perfect music. It’s easy to find outstanding animated spots in just a few minutes on the web. And from what I have heard within the business, there were some spots produced recently that were in the $3 million per range. All of that backed up by a substantial national media buy.
All concepted and produced with one thought in mind: to position BP as a friendly, “we’re here with you” company that is working hard to make the world a much better place.
What a crock.
How long do you think it will be before the millions of dollars spent by BP to position themselves as the savior of our collective energy future just melts away?
When a brand screws us all like this, they become lepers. We cringe at the very thought of doing business with them. We now look at their brand as a ‘taker’, not a ‘giver.’ And in the case of BP, I suspect you will see a growing disdain for the company as the days wear on.
So I wonder when the first round of new TV spots will start up? It must suck for the agency that is responsible for producing what comes next from the company. If it were my shop, I would really have to do some soul searching before anyone spent another minute behind the lens on behalf of BP.
By John Eggerton
For more than 60 years, TV stations have broadcast news, sports and entertainment for free and made their money by showing commercials. That might not work much longer.
The business model is unraveling at ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and the local stations that carry the networks’ programming. Cable TV and the Web have fractured the audience for free TV and siphoned its ad dollars. The recession has squeezed advertising further, forcing broadcasters to accelerate their push for new revenue to pay for programming.
That will play out in living rooms across the country. The changes could mean higher cable or satellite TV bills, as the networks and local stations squeeze more fees from pay-TV providers such as Comcast and DirecTV for the right to show broadcast TV channels in their lineups.
The networks might even ditch free broadcast signals in the next few years. Instead, they could operate as cable channels — a move that could spell the end of free TV as Americans have known it since the 1940s.
“Good programming is expensive,” Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns Fox, told a shareholder meeting this fall. “It can no longer be supported solely by advertising revenues.”
More of ‘Business Model Unraveling for TV Networks’ here.
This article brings up a good point that the increased usage of DVRs creates a huge problem for any advertiser whose television spot is time constrained .
By Brian Steinberg, AdAge
The ability to delay viewing of TV shows by using a digital video recorder is giving rise to noticeably different habits, according to new research from Horizon Media.
Through November 2009, 11 fall season programs were regularly “time-shifted,” or watched as many as seven days after the date of original air, by more than 3 million viewers, said Brad Adgate, the independent media-buying firm’s senior VP-research. Last year at this time, only three programs — ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” Fox’s “House” and CBS’s “CSI” — fit that bill.
The trend is cause for scrutiny among TV outlets and advertisers, because the more people who watch TV programs longer after they air, the more difficult it is to reach them with a timely ad pitch.
While futurists project one day advertisers may well be able to insert more relevant advertising into recorded programming, these days marketers remain concerned that ads for particular events — Friday-night movie openings and weekend sales at retail outlets — amount to naught when consumers watch them five or six days after they were intended to run.
Entire article, “The Most Time-Shifted Shows of the Fall Season” here.
By Meg James
There’s finally some new life in old media.
After pummeling traditional media companies for nearly two years, the advertising recession is showing signs of a recovery. TV networks — including Fox, CBS and ABC and such leading cable channels as TNT, TBS, USA, Bravo and Fox News Channel — have benefited the most as advertisers have been snapping up available commercial spots and agreeing to pay significantly higher prices than they did just five months ago.
“In challenging times, people go back to what they know, and what they know best is television,” said David Levy, president of sales for Turner Entertainment, which includes TNT and TBS. “It is a little too early to declare victory, but the market is definitely improving.”
The welcome news is the result of stronger-than-expected demand for TV advertising in the “scatter” market, in which advertisers frequently have to pay premiums for scarce available commercial time. It also represents something of a win for the networks, which gambled this summer that demand would pick up later in the year and held back a larger percentage of their inventory than in previous years, hoping to capitalize on the improved economy.
Fourth-quarter commercial sales have been propelled by retail chains hoping to ignite their holiday sales; technology giants Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc., which have new products to promote; cellphone carriers such as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, which are battling for customers; and even such financial firms as American Express, according to television executives and advertising buyers surveyed this week.
Such strong demand has made up for the weaker orders from other mainstay advertisers, including automakers, still reeling from weak sales, and Hollywood movie studios, which have fewer new movies to hype.
A fourth quarter described by one top network sales executive as “gangbusters” amazed even veterans who have lived through several economic cycles. Only five months ago, the industry was bracing for another dismal year as TV network sales teams were engaged in protracted negotiations with advertisers that were demanding that the networks roll back prices as much as 20%. Networks eventually agreed to trim rates about 5% to 8% to mollify advertisers and begin unloading their time.
But now, in some cases, advertisers have agreed to pay rates 10% to 35% higher than the prices established in June and July, when the networks sold the bulk of their time for the new TV season. In addition, advertisers that placed their orders in the summer are honoring their commitments. Network executives said that few advertisers have canceled their orders for commercial spots, in contrast with a year ago.
“We have all been surprised that the ad market has come back this soon,” said Gary Carr, executive director of national broadcast for the advertising firm TargetCast. The networks, he said, also face easier comparisons because last fall, with banks failing and the economy on the skids, companies were afraid to spend on advertising.
“A year ago, people thought the world was coming to an end, and the U.S. economy was falling apart,” Carr said. “But the world did not come to an end. Cars still have to be sold, and studios still need people to go see their movies. Advertisers have begun releasing the money that they have been holding onto all year.”
Even local TV stations — among the hardest hit by the slump in advertising spending — have received a lift, primarily fueled by stores that unleashed their holiday sales campaigns earlier in the season, according to television executives.
Not all media outlets have rebounded, however. Many small cable TV channels and Spanish-language television networks are still hurting, according to television executives. Newspapers, magazines and radio stations also continue to struggle.
“In many sectors, the news is still grim,” said Jon Swallen, senior vice president for research at TNS Media Intelligence, which tracks advertising spending. “And there is still a fairly large hole for these companies to dig out of before they get back to the levels they were a few years ago.”
Unexpectedly, online advertising also has taken it on the chin.
Many advertisers are no longer as eager to buy Internet display ads as they were two or three few years ago, when firms were steering millions of ad dollars to online sites.
“There is still a big push toward digital and online video, but the Internet display advertising market is challenged,” said Greg Kahn, senior vice president of strategic insights at advertising firm Optimedia. “There is so much clutter in the space, and advertisers have begun to question the effectiveness of those display ads.”
Production insurance is a must. Trust me. Programs now cover travel delays, dangerous weather conditions for TV shoots.
By Rupal Parekh
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — A few years ago Dianne Richter, an ad agency veteran who’s clocked time in the broadcast departments of shops such as JWT, Y&R and Saatchi & Saatchi, found herself on a nightmare of a commercial shoot. While driving to location, police had blocked the production team’s route for several hours after a suicide jumper perched himself on a bridge.
With daylight fading and under a tight production schedule, the team scrambled to rent boats to ferry their rigs and crew across the river to the set. Quick thinking saved the commercial, but those last-minute changes came at a steep cost to the client.
The good news for advertisers is that broader protections are being offered under recent changes in the U.S. insurance market. New, broader insurance programs are becoming available to fill gaps and cover things such as travel delays, dangerous weather conditions and other unforeseen issues that can crop up unexpectedly and quickly skyrocket production costs.
Traditionally, U.S. insurance policies for TV commercial shoots have covered claims only for physical damage. If a house being used in a commercial shoot burns down, for example, or if camera equipment is stolen. Arranging insurance is a small — not to mention pretty unsexy — step in the lifespan of a TV spot, but in a tough economy that has squeezed marketers’ budgets, it can help prevent extra costs from being tacked on when least expected.
The new protections are the most significant change in TV production insurance in the American ad market in years, said A. LeConte Moore, managing director at Dewitt Stern, a century-old risk insurance brokerage that specializes in insurance for media, entertainment and ad industries.
According to ad industry executives, the average cost of a TV spot these days runs about $250,000. But depending upon the complexity of the job — the location of the shoot, music rights, celebrity actors — the costs can reach a high-end of between $1 million and $2 million.
Insurance premiums tend to cost about 2% of a shoot, and the broader coverages being made available by the likes of Entertainment Brokers International, part of OneBeacon Insurance, today aren’t all that higher. So if a production budget is $200,000, and carries a $3,400 insurance premium, for another $200 a production can manage a variety of surprise contingencies.
“It feels like insurance on steroids,” said Ms. Richter, who now works at New York-based independent Droga 5, handling production estimates and contracts for the agency.
By Robert Seidman
Yankees/Phillies Game 4 Up +45 in Rating & +47% in Audience with the Fall Classic Overall Rating Up +42% & +45% in Audience.
Game 4 of the 2009 World Series soared to a 13.5/22 average household rating/share with an average audience of 22.8 million viewers last night on FOX according to fast national ratings issued by Nielsen Media Research. Game 4 is the highest-rated and most-watched World Series game since Game 4 of the 2004 Series (18.2/28, 28.8 million) when the Red Sox snapped their 86-year championship drought.
It’s also the most-watched, non-decisive Game 4 in eight years, dating back to the 2001 Series (23.7 million., Diamondbacks-Yankees) and the highest-rated non-decisive Game 4 in six years (13.6/23, Yankees-Marlins-12-inning game). Compared to last year’s World Series, Game 4 of Yankees-Phillies is up +45% in rating and +47% in audience compared to Game 4 of Rays-Phillies (9.3/15, 15.5 million), and ranks as the highest-rated and most-watched prime-time show of the Monday-Sunday broadcast week (10/26-11/1).
Game 4 and its pregame program (10.7/17) combined with an NFL overrun and THE OT (fast nationals for both will be released later today) to make last night FOX’s most-watched night since the AMERICAN IDOL finale in May.
PHILADELPHIA topped all markets for Game 4 with a 42.0/58, +8% over its Game 4 rating a year ago (39.0/54). NEW YORK fired a 31.2/45, a Series-high and a better rating than any of the six games of the Yankees last World Series appearance in 2003.
2009 WORLD SERIES TO DATE
This year’s World Series has been a dominant force in prime time. The first four games of the 2009 Fall Classic have averaged an 11.5/19, 19.1 million viewers and a 6.1 among A18-49. The Series is up +42% in household rating and +45% in audience over last year (8.1/14, 13.2 million) and is the highest-rated, most watched World Series since 2004. If we compare the first four games of the World Series to top-rated season-to-date prime-time shows, the World Series would rank No. 2 in households, and No. 4 among Adults 18-49.
Post-season baseball has powered FOX to its best fourth quarter performance in history. Season-to-date, FOX is averaging a 3.7/10 in prime time among Adults 18-49 (preliminary pending final NFL numbers), +16% better than second-place CBS (3.2/9), FOX’s biggest season-to-date lead ever in fourth quarter and the biggest for any network in six years. The week of October 26th, which included four World Series games, averaged a 4.9/13 among Adults 18-49, an +81% win over second-place ABC (2.7/7) and the highest-rated fourth quarter week on any network in five years, dating back to the week of the 2004 World Series on FOX.
My wife has been complaining about this for years. Do you know a production house that does it?
By John Eggerton.
The House Communications Subcommittee has approved a bill that would require the broadcast and cable industries, which includes satellite and other multichannel video providers, to regularize the volume of advertisements and the programming surrounding them.
By a voice vote, the committee passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, backed by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), and referred it to the full Energy & Commerce Committee.
Eshoo said the bill premise was simple: “To make the volume of commercials and programming uniform so that spikes in volume do not affect the consumer’s ability to control sound.” Eshoo said that ad volume spikes had “endangered hearing for decades.” She also said legislative spouses had been urging their husbands or wives to sign on as co-sponsors. “I think they are all tired of getting blasted out of their easy chairs or off their exercise equipment due to these ridiculously loud commercials.”
An earlier post spoke to the great numbers being delivered by sports programming. Looks like it might just lead the way coming out of this thing….
By Brian Steinberg
CBS is close to selling out approximately 80% of its ad inventory for Super Bowl XLIV, according to a person familiar with the situation, a sign that the sports-advertising marketplace may be recovering more quickly than other TV venues.
CBS is still hesitant to force a price point into its discussions but has sought between $2.5 million and $3 million for a 30-second spot in the game, according to this person. As usual, the price hinges on the position of the ad within the telecast as well as whether advertisers want to get more involved with the event by buying up pre-game time or other CBS sports inventory. CBS is expected to broadcast the game from Miami on Feb. 7, 2010.
The pace of sales emphasizes marketer interest in big-audience sporting events. Already, sales for NFL and college-football games at many networks have garnered better-than-expected interest, particularly as cash-strapped consumers stay at home and rely more heavily on televised entertainment.
NBC’s first several “Sunday Night Football” broadcasts of the season, for example, have been ratings bonanzas, and CBS has seen substantial advertiser interest in its college football games. ESPN scored the highest-rated cable event in history for its “Monday Night Football” game between the Vikings and the Packers this week, thanks to widespread interest in the return of Brett Favre. Marketer interest in the events has also been fueled by the fact that viewers often watch them live, rather than fast-forwarding through content — and past ads — with digital video recorders.
For years now, I have recommended to my clients that they invest in sports packages tied to their regional teams.
For example, if you have a medium-sized business in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and the like and you have not considered running thirty second television with some SEC package available at your local station, you might be missing a great opportunity. Of course, it’s not perfect for every business, but it will work well for many businesses.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the demos for football are all male. Just not true. You will reach a very large and diverse audience with your buy.
Don’t worry that the season has started. The stations will prorate any type of package and there are still a bunch of them out there. Stations are hungry.
Take advantage of some pricing weakness and negotiate a great deal for yourself. Or call us and we’ll help you put it together for you.
It was just a matter of time. Back in the day, a rep could easily count on three or four local auto dealers to make his/her budget. No more. The media gravy train at the local auto dealer has stopped. Now the real cold calling begins.
Bloomberg: U.S. TV broadcasters, struggling to replace a 20 percent drop in automotive advertising revenue, are turning to pawn shops, plastic surgeons and other nontraditional sources to fill airtime.
Local station owners like Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. and Gray Television Inc., whose revenue dropped after bankrupt General Motors Corp. and local dealers slashed marketing, are selling mortgage brokers and even landscapers on the notion that TV is affordable.
Across the U.S., the price of an average 30-second local TV commercial tumbled as much as 20 percent last year from 2007, according to the Television Bureau of Advertising, a New York- based trade organization. Auto ad revenue at local stations, down a fifth in 2008 from the year before, plunged another 52 percent in the first quarter, the TV Bureau said.
“A lot of local retailers, like the portrait shop or the pet store, haven’t advertised on TV before because they think they can’t afford it,” said Robert Prather, president of Atlanta-based Gray. “We’re out just beating bushes that we should have been doing a long time ago.”
A half-hour of prime-time TV typically contains 22 minutes of programming and eight minutes of ads, two of which are for local commercials, according to the Television Bureau. Rates depend on how many viewers are watching.
The price of an average 30-second ad placed on a local TV station last year ranged from $6.66 per 1,000 viewer homes in the early morning to $27.29 in prime time, according to the TV Bureau. Prime hours, when stations usually have their largest audience, are generally 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. In 2007, the same rates were $8.09 and $34.12, the bureau said.
“One of the pitches made by stations is that it’s cheaper than you think, particularly if you were looking at prices from a year ago,” Gary Belis, a spokesman for the New York-based TV Bureau, said in an interview.
Nexstar, which said auto ad sales dropped about 40 percent in the March quarter, has sold airtime to pawn shops and mortgage businesses in the Northeast and to ranches in the West, Chief Executive Officer Perry Sook said in an interview.
“The greatest opportunity in all of our markets is local businesses not currently doing business with our TV stations,” said Sook, whose Irving, Texas-based company operates or provides services to 63 stations in markets including Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Jacksonville, Florida.
Nexstar’s new-to-TV advertisers include Snare & Associates Mortgage Services LLC in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.
“I started a new business and needed to get my face out there,” Chief Executive Officer Anthony Snare said in an interview. “It worked.”
Snare said he bought packages of 30-second spots from Nexstar at $1,000 to $4,000 a month.
Gray, whose 36 stations in markets including Madison, Wisconsin, and Augusta, Georgia, received 19 percent of ad revenue from automakers and dealers last year, is now booking ads from landscapers and plastic surgeons for the first time, said Prather. He declined to predict how much Gray would make this year from first-time TV advertisers.
The new ad sources aren’t likely to entirely replace the decline in auto revenue, analysts and TV executives said.
“The big issue is that it takes 10 or 12 small ones to make up for some of the big car dealers we’ve had in the past,” Prather said.
Comcast has been a regional client of this agency for almost a year now. Our job has been to write, design and produce the stuff that sells things; DM, catalogs and the like. All of the brand work came from Goodby, where That’s Comcastic originated. We just follow their lead happily.
But the new campaign, dream big, is just great and the agency deserves a tremendous amount of credit for taking the client in this direction. The new campaign offers up some of the most visually interesting work I have seen in a long time. Some see it as bizarre, but for me, it does a wonderful job of humanizing the category…something that is tough to do with broadband accounts.
With this category, it’s all about the features and benefits of the three products, the speed of the network, the amount of channels you offer in high def, the price point and the like. To take all of that and turn it into a sort of Yellow Submarine meets Monopoly spectacle is just fascinating to watch. Not to mention the extremely creative music that just carries the spot to a whole new place.
It will be very interesting to see how the campaign unfolds over the next six months to a year. Does it have legs?