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Lurking on the TV Screen

The "bug" no insecticide can touch.

Today, while wearing my “consumer-not-marketer” perspective on my sleeve, I recognize the frustration of watching television and being subjected to the “bug”. 

That’s the TV-network logo that sits at the bottom of the television screen during the TV program to remind you what station you are on, what show you are watching, what show you could be watching next hour, next day or next week. 

These “bugs” have been particularly apparent to me, as they are no longer small and inconspicuous, but rather large and growing, making it hard to see and watch the program without enormous distraction. Come to think of it, “bug” is a good term for it. 

But why these logos and graphics now?

First of all, it’s obvious that consumers are avoiding the commercials and are often fast-forwarding right past them to get to the next portion of the show thanks to DVRs.  Building a brand image over time with traditional advertising isn’t cutting it – in fact Nissan officials recently admitted that the strategy for the Versa was a shotgun approach – trying to get the 20-30 year old audience wherever they are because they aren’t with one type of media (television, internet, social media, print) for very long.

Another approach over the last decade or so, known as product placement or branded entertainment is losing ground too.  In this “Madison Avenue meets Hollywood and Vine” approach the firm buys the right to display its product within the story unfolding on screen. If viewers aren’t watching the program closely and fail to recognize the product when it appears, another marketing opportunity is lost.

Suddenly then, the new way to attract and get noticed is to strike a cooperative deal between the network and marketer to use the previously unused area of electronic real estate. These recent efforts rely on a big idea that’s short in delivery as compared with a 30-second spot. Since viewers aren’t going to skip the show, at least with the bug displayed on screen the marketer’s got the chance for the audience to see the message.

But just like its namesake, this bug is pesky and irritating and appears to be difficult to get rid of. Yet, something tells me, that after a while, someone’s going to end up figuring out how to get the program back – without us visibly seeing the bug – and there will be a new technique needed to keep us buying.    

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Vinny Ciro December 12, 2011 at 09:12 PM
What also "bugs" me is while you are watching a show or a game (like football or hockey) a little window shows up with a little image of a person telling you about what's coming on next. This little window is usually placed right over the point of the most important action :-( More information overload.....

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