I remember as a kid growing up watching TV, every once in a while someone at the station would make a mistake and start the wrong commercial. It would run for a second or two, and then the person in charge would realize the mistake and immediately cut to some other commercial or to the actual show.
When I recently started watching the golf channel, I thought the people in charge must be incompetent. Not infrequently, they would show one-second snippets of longer commercials, seemingly by accident.
As my golf addiction has grown, however, the number of hours I devote to the Golf Channel has gone up substantially. I now realize that these one-second snippets of ads are no accident – they are clearly an intentional strategy that the station is carrying out.
What is interesting about the one-second ads is that I think they have at least as big an effect on me as a full-length ad. They are so short that, against my will, whenever I see one I can’t stop my brain from thinking about the product being advertised. There is so little information that I feel the need to fill in the gaps. Incredibly, I bought a $90 product based on a one-second ad. I saw the ad for a product I had never heard of before, got intrigued, went online and made the purchase five minutes later.
I don’t think I’ve seen the one-second advertising approach used anywhere else on television. But at least when I am the audience, and in small quantities, it is a brilliant strategy. (I’m much less sure it would work if they strung 30 one-second commercials together in a row, but maybe it would.)
My prediction: within five years, these one-second commercials will be commonplace.
Have blog readers seen this strategy employed elsewhere? Does anyone know how much the Golf Channel charges for the one-second ads versus a thirty-second ad?