Variety pundit warns advertisers of impending “viewer distraction apocalypse.”♥
From the Media analysis gone comically wrong dept:
Brian Steinberg (Variety) discovers that people don’t always pay close attention to television. Verdict for advertisers? “Scary.”
“Be Very Afraid: AT&T Spot Offers Glimpse of Next-Gen Viewing:
For anyone involved in the business of launching television programs or beaming ad messages at the people who watch them, AT&T’s recent effort ought to be considered the Scariest Commercial in the World. How can anyone hope to capture the imagination of the American public going forward if its youngest members are intent on doing multiple and divergent activities in the same nanosecond?”
from Variety | Digital
Let me recap the article for you: “Television advertisers, beware! Your viewers are beginning to believe that ‘doing two things is better than doing one thing!’”
Wowza. The closest I can come to agreeing with a single premise of this article is, “yes, distracted viewers will alway force advertisers to tighten up their message.”
I’m thinking that Brian might not understand the spot itself: AT&T is touting the ability of their subscribers to remain connected on a voice call, while simultaneously using data on their phone, i.e. looking up directions for someone without hanging up on them. Criticizing a “two things at once” capability this fundamental is like criticizing the “ability to jump out of the path of a runaway bus while whistling” – usually unnecessary, potentially invaluable.
The level of distraction foretold by the article borders on psychotic, and is not selected by nature (except possibly in teens). Remember: If a viewer consumes content, they will consume ads. If they’re refusing to consume the ads, you need better content, better ads, or both. Yes, the standards are higher today than they were in the days of “three local channels.” Make better ads.
When given the option to either sit and receive our marketing injection, or change our perceptual environment by changing the channel, we change the channel. This is not new.
So, is “doing two things” the harbinger of the coming “Viewer Attention Apocalypse?
(Rhetorical question, but: No, it is not.)
"You must chill!"
There is a tectonic shift to digital and design is playing a huge role in this new world. While many new grads from schools like MICA are competing for a limited number of jobs in the graphic design space, there are literally more jobs than there are people to do them in the digital product design space (words uttered by one of the recruiters at Facebook). My generation is uniquely positioned to have a massive impact on the world. Many of the architects of the technology industry are under 30.
"Two hundred dollars a day, plus expenses…"
From David Soref of Rancho Kinkaid, on James Garner’s 85th birthday:
If you’re like me, the phrase, “two hundred dollars a day, plus expenses” served as a childhood credo, the magic over/under number that seemed like some sort of gateway into adulthood. Whatever your chosen profession, if the quote on your business card–or answering machine message–was $200 a day plus expenses, you’d be writing your own ticket and living in a beachfront condo. In 1974, two hundred dollars a day was a princely sum, more than the average major league baseball player earned in fact. But it was the “plus expenses” part that hinted at the great unknown.
As a boy I would occasionally watch “The Rockford Files” (in syndication) at my grandmother’s house. Go read “In Praise of Rockford to understand why Rockford, both the show and the character, were so damn solid (some say one of the Greatest Television Shows of All Time).
James Garner as “Jim Rockford” is simply the most genuine character I’ve ever seen on television. Happy 85th birthday, Jimmy, you are indeed the man.