Commercial Ratings Could Eliminate Awards Shows
If you look at it honestly, advertising's sole purpose is to sell stuff. Forget all that crap about brand building because it's all the same thing. You build a brand so it connects with people so they are more inclined to buy from said brand. Advertising's purpose is not, despite what many would like to think, about winning rewards or creativity. Clio. Cannes. ADDY. One Show. Create. Webby. ADC. Andys. Irrelevant. You disagree and claim the winning of awards helps agencies win accounts? Fair enough but wrong.
What if we lived in a world where we knew exactly how well received our commercials were the second they aired? Well, if Nielsen and the rest of the industry can get their shit together, we may soon see that world. Commercial ratings have been much discussed over the last few years but scant progress has been made. Some half assed solutions have been put in place and even more half assed solutions have been suggested. Who wants half an ass when they cab have full on booty? Yea, we thought so.
In Advertising Age today, Jonah Bloom discusses the issue as we have several time before here on Adrants. The net? We have the necessary technology to make this happen. It's dusty old models and back room handshakes that are preventing us from moving forward. It's like Verizon forcing you to upload your images instead of connecting your phone to your computer to access them. Every phone can do this. Verizon disables the feature so they can charge for airtime. Sure, they make money but it's wrong. It's bastardizing technology. This industry doesn't need to be Verizon. It can be open source. Better commercial rating beget better ads because ad performance will be a known quantity on a constant basis.
To be clear, commercial ratings will not measure everything nor be the Shangrila of advertising metrics. Just because an ad is highly watched does not mean it will drive people to act. Just because an ad isn't highly viewed does not make it a bad ad. But commercial rating get closer to what's important. Did anybody see the friggin' thing. With commercial rating in hand, a vastly different television model could emerge. Three years ago (yes, that's how long this has been going on) we posited an ad model where networks would actually promote the viewership of commercials rather than programs because, with commercial ratings, that, in one sense, would be all that mattered.
In that piece, we wrote, "In essence, this new economic model would compel networks to pay (or compel in some other very powerful way) viewers to watch commercials so that they can continue to sustain their current ad supported business model. Extrapolating this further, the current model is flipped on its head. Advertisers become producers and the programming (from the nets, etc.) becomes the commercial." Some of this is already happening on both sides of the equation. Advertiser are, in fact, creating entire bodies of programming and networks are continuing to blur the line between programming and advertising such as in the case of MTV's new Thursday night programming block which mashes up ads with programming.
So again. Clio. Cannes. ADDY. One Show. Create. Webby. ADC. Andys. What's their purpose? Do we really care how "pretty" and ad is? Shouldn't all these award shows be lauding ads that perform and ads that deliver results rather than ranking them based on looks? The current landscape of awards shows are as meaningful as Hot or Not. Oh wait, that's fun but that's besides the point.
While we might appear a bit down on the whole awards show thing we will admit they do still have a place in the business. After all, without awards shows, there'd be no reason to dress up in our best all black hipsterati-wear, ogle other's work while sputtering meaningless puffery-laden commentary, get an all-expenses paid boondoggle while office interns make excuses to clients as to why a project is going to be a week late or to hook up with that hot
French German chic while at Cannes.
Oh wait, that all sounds fun! See you at Cannes.