The AP ran a story last week on the rise of the 15 second TV commercial. AC Nielsen notes the 15 second spot is now 34% of all national ads. What’s driving this trend? Probably the same one that drove the movement from one minute commercials (yes, they did exist back in the TV stone age) to the 30 second format … cost.
That the original 15 second spots were just edited down 30 second spots demonstrates this fact. Now 15 second spots are created just for that time frame. Reminds me of the famous Mark Twain quote, “If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.”
How long should an ad be? As long as necessary and no longer. Seems like a big duh, until you look at the fact that if shorter spots work better (something the article quotes many people as suggesting), then cost should not be the driver, effectiveness should be.
However, it is probably a combination of effectiveness and efficiency. As many things are. The key is to decide what you are trying to do with your ad. As the article concludes, “The length [15 seconds] is ideal to remind people of products, stores or prices, but not to introduce them.”
Whether you communicate with customers on TV, on the web, via email, snail mail or other media (or face-to-face), remember time and attention are in short supply. Don’t require any more than necessary to get your point across.
- TV commercials shrink to match attention spans (usatoday.com)