ABC Introduces Embedded Commercial Format


At a program development meeting in LA yesterday, ABC introduced a new commercial format which would have actual paid commercials appear in media vehicles shown in the network's dramas and sitcoms. In other words, a character on a sitcom might be watching TV, an actual ad would appear on the screen withing the show and then it would widen out to the viewers TV and be viewed in standard fashion. The plan, still in development, would also incorporate print ads seen in magazines depicted in shows as well as ads shown on cell phones. Presumably, there wouldn't be official commercial breaks rather the commercials would be embedded within the show and appear individually rather than clumped together the way they are now.

Some are skeptical show producers will allow this level of intrusion into their shows but, as an experiment, it's an interesting idea. After all, for the most part, television content avoids showing or mentioning any brands at all withing programming to the point where it becomes awkward such as the classic, "I'll have a beer." No one orders "a beer" when they are at a bar. They order by brand name. We're not sure this is the best solution to the much feared ad skipping becoming more and more prevalent as TiVo's and DVRs become standard equipment in homes but it is an intriguing idea. We'll reserve judgment for now.

by Steve Hall    Mar-22-07   Click to Comment   
Topic: Television, Trends and Culture   

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That's funny. In a lot of countries people most certainly do order a "beer".
In my country, The Netherlands, it would be very stupid to order a brand name (even though Heineken is Dutch), because it really doesn't matter.
If you order a "Heineken" here, it sounds like you're in a commercial or something.

Posted by: Floris on March 23, 2007 6:19 AM

It is an intruguing thought. However, outside of the obvious intrusion questions, I really wonder about pacing -- since shows don't occur in real time but commercials (sort of) do, won't it feel kind of like hitting a brick wall every time it happens? Wish I could be on a test panel for that one...

Posted by: tk on March 23, 2007 10:20 AM

Am I missing something here, viewers are going to watch characters watch tv during the crucial plotline??? uh, real riveting...

Posted by: Kate on March 25, 2007 11:12 PM

I don't see anything wrong with it.

After all, it worked just fine in The Truman Show...

Posted by: Scamp on March 26, 2007 10:23 AM

I'm not saying tv shows are amazing pieces of art or anything but don't you think it would be kind of cheesy to have Jack Bauer stop right before he kills someone and say, "Gee I love these Gap jeans, they are so comfortable when torturing terrorists."

Posted by: Shelby on March 26, 2007 7:26 PM