Hey Ads, Get the Hell Outta My Face

By Matt Van Hoven 

For years, television news has used the “extra” space below and around anchors and reporters to provide audiences with additional information. News tickers, weather bugs, chyrons &#151 these are all words common to news.

But in the last few years, advertisers have begun to utilize the idea for mini-spots, annoying little lower thirds that pop up. TBS is probably the most devious of these criminals. Adage and FishbowlLA covered one such spot for The Bill Engvall Show, which aired during Family Guy. During the episode, Engvall pops on screen and actually pauses the show. More after the jump.


Those bastards. You,um, you don’t pause Family Guy. There’s no other way to say it. And I’m not taking this stand from the “I’m a die hard fan, this is a travesty.” My reasoning is two-fold and unfortunately intuitive &#151 unlike the ad.

First, Bill Engvall is not funny. People watch Family Guy to laugh, so why would you put something unfunny where consumers are expecting the opposite?

Second, the Engvall show is a traditional sitcom. Like Two and a Half Man, Under One Roof and a few others, it’s stuck in the mid-90s. The format doesn’t leave room for the kind of entertainent the audience needs. Marketing it to a group of consumers who thrive on outrageous, surprising content is ill-informed, and it hurts TBS’ branding &#151 since they thrive on “Funny.”

Well I came up with a third reason to hate the technique &#151 the interruption is simply rude. Consumers already hate the spots they’re subjected to, so why is the thought to put more in front of them and expect a positive response? It shouldn’t be. For once, I agree with Fox, which announced this season it will sell less ad space in during programming and charge more per minute. The motivation: to grow their audience by giving them more of what they’re there for in the first place…content!

I’ve said it before &#151 the best way to grow a consumer following is to give them free stuff. Fox’s move is essentially a giveaway, and they’ll get the response they’re expecting. Mark my words.

I’ve said my peace. Please respond in kind.