Do TV ads work? A quick test.

24 is one of my favorite shows.  I’ve been watching since season one and almost always catch it real-time.  This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about TV ads in preparation for the ANA TV Advertising Forum next week in New York.  So instead of flipping over to ESPN during the commercial breaks as I’d usually do (I’m not that into the WBC), I watched the commercials.  Here’s what I saw:

  1. Taco Bell, Chicken Caesar Burrito.  Toga jokes.
  2. Universal Pictures, Inside Man.  Denzel’s new movie.
  3. AT&T + SBC.  We rule the world.
  4. Nissan Titan.  You are inadequate unless you buy this big truck.
  5. Lowe’s, John Deere mowers.
  6. Old Spice.  Gyrating, sweaty woman pitching deodorant.
  7. Lenovo, Thinkpad tablet.
  8. Mazda, sales event.  Lab coat guys.
  9. Mercury, Milan sedan.
  10. BMW, xDrive, x3 lease.
  11. Cingular video.  Watch Hank Hill on your mobile.
  12. Ford, big truck.  Buy a big truck and go emergency braking in the desert.
  13. AMEX, M. Night Shyamalan. (60")
  14. A History of Violence.  Now on DVD.  Ed Harris with scary glass eye.
  15. Home Depot.  Install new floors so your parents don’t scold you like a kid.
  16. Dodge, Ram 1500.  Dumb & dumber.
  17. Energizer, Lithium.
  18. Minwax.  I hope they didn’t just stain that table they’re eating on.
  19. Old Navy, stripes.
  20. Nissan Titan.  Less about the inadequate thing.
  21. Comcast, cable internet service.  Talking turtles.
  22. Mercedes, 2006 M-Class.
  23. Budweiser select.
  24. Citizens bank.  Home equity loan app on the snowplow.
  25. Diet Pepsi, Poker.  I don’t recognize these guys from the WSoP, but I haven’t watched for a few years.
  26. Lenovo, Thinkpad X60.  Not sure what they’re trying to say here.
  27. Ford, F150.

That’s a lot of commercials advertising a lot of different stuff.  I may not be the core audience, but for that menagerie of products and services, is anybody?  Here’s my count by category:

  • Automotive:  9 (5 featuring big macho trucks)
  • Telecom:  3
  • Home/improvement: 3
  • Beverage: 2
  • Movies:  2
  • Computers: 2
  • Financial services: 2 (although 1 was probably local)
  • Personal care: 1
  • QSR: 1
  • CP: 1
  • Apparel: 1

Look, some of this stuff may actually go together.  If we go with the "wisdom of the crowd" then let’s assume that the 24 audience are core big truck drivers.  So some of the other spots, at least the creative, fit well – like the sweaty woman, poker, and King of the Hill.  But how, for example, is Old Navy relevant?  In 14 paid minutes of a 60 minute show (not to mention the in-show product placements), what do you think most regular people actually did?

  1. Changed the channel
  2. Skipped the ads because they were watching 24 time-shifted
  3. Paid more attention to another media source they were multi-tasking with already
  4. Intensely watched the commercials

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