Television commercials are viewed by millions on a daily basis and are considered to be very influential on today’s society. Television advertisements can be used for a variety of reasons, but are mostly used as a marketing tool to attract a targeted audience to increase sales for companies or to send messages to the public. Although television commercials have grown in popularity over the years, state of the art live television recording capabilities that are offered by leading cable television providers, the heavy influence that the broadcast companies utilized is now at risk of going un-noticed.
Television advertising is defined by entrepreneur.com as 10- to 60-second commercials on network television stations (http://www.entrepreneur.com). Television advertising in today’s society is used for many things. Commercials are used to send messages to consumers to increase sales for companies. Advertisements are also used by politicians to increase popularity among potential voters to gain support for their political campaigns. They are also used to increase awareness for many causes such as; animal cruelty, global warming, humanitarian efforts, as well as drug, sex and alcohol awareness. Ultimately the goal of advertising is to take one of these many ideas and market it to the population.
Before television advertising the radio was the nation’s primary source of mass-marketing. All of that would change during a Dodger vs. Phillies baseball game on July 1st 1941 when United States of America would witness the first ten second television advertisement for the Bulova watch making company (http://www.bulova .com). Since then television advertisements has come a long way. With catchy slogans and popular jingles, television advertising has changed and shaped the nation. From its black white beginnings to the now colorful, sleek, visually stimulating commercials; television advertising techniques have attracted a wider variety of audiences.
Race, sex and age are some of the many audiences that advertisements can target. Race is a difficult to take into consideration when it comes to targeting the population. You can run into the risk of segregating a group and possibly stereotyping as well. Pepsi has compiled a collage of images dating back from the 1960’s to the present. The images include different races enjoying activities together as well as returning from war and waving the American flag (“Race Becomes More” 2009). The advertisement portrays a visual diversity to connect to wider audiences. The effect that this new strategy of advertising has on society is believed to be shown in a positive light. Blacks and whites can enjoy activities together and no longer separated.
There are some advertising techniques that are incorporated into commercials to attract gender and age specific audiences. You might see a television commercial advertising a brand new vacuum or cleaning product, but the character in the commercial is a woman and she is shown vacuuming the carpet or cleaning the house. Maybe you have seen the Axe brand commercials for deodorant. These commercials portray a male using this product and afterwards he is irresistible to woman. The techniques used in these commercials attract gender specific audiences in order to increase sales.
Television advertising has increased in popularity since the 60’s until now. Commercials are a simple form of advertising because they are viewed by millions and companies sometimes only need to produce one commercial. Although it may be simple to create a television commercial, it is no longer cheap to acquire air time from broadcasting companies. The Superbowl is a nationally covered television event. The advertisements during this event are just as popular as the game itself. The price for 30 seconds of airtime during this event can reach upwards of 2.7 million dollars. Companies could see this as a sound investment due to the high viewer ratings of 90 million in population. Over the years there has been an increase in airtime for these commercials during programming as well. An hour long program in the 60’s contained an average of 51 minutes with 9 minutes of advertising. Today programming has been shortened to 42 minutes with the remainder of time as an allotment for advertising. Television advertising has managed to obtain more airtime in order to reach the highest numbers in viewers, there are still more ways for them to get your attention.
If for some reason you do not have access to a television, corporations will bring television advertising to you. To further reach more viewers, companies have invested in installing televisions in grocery stores and even gas station pumps. Convenience stores like Wal-mart have televisions suspended over the isles to advertise products that are on sale in the store and gas companies have advertisements playing while you pump your gas. There are many methods to that companies utilize to ensure they reach as many viewers as possible to increase sales. Have they come up with this new method of communicating with the population for a reason? Are viewers not interested in television commercials anymore?
With features of live television recording and digital video recording offered by leading cable and satellite networks, viewers are now able to record their favorite programs and watch them at a later date and fast forward through commercials. This can pose as a threat to the future of television advertising as many viewers prefer this method to avoid those pesky commercials. However, new forms of advertising are coming around to combat possible dilemma. Banners and logos are now present at the bottom or top of the screen during programs. Sponsors and companies often utilize product placement within the programming as well. New ideas are being formed by advertising teams in order to combat the possible drop in viewer ratings during commercial breaks due to new features like live television recording devices.
Television advertisements have been used by corporations to increase sales as a mass-marketing tool to reach millions of viewers on a daily basis and also by political parties to increase the likely hood of election. Marketing teams incorporate a number of techniques into the production of advertisements to attract a specific audience to a product and because it works so well the popularity of television commercials and their use has skyrocketed over the last few decades. Although they are a popular form of advertising they are threatened by new features offered by cable and satellite television providers. Digital video recorders and live television recording capabilities offer viewers the opportunity to record television programs and fast forward through commercials, exposing themselves to less commercial airtime.
MSNBC (2009, March 1). Race becomes more central to TV advertising.
MSNBC. Retrieved January 18, 2010, from http://msnbc.msn.com/