A friend of mine posted a link on Facebook titled “Advertising Firm Leo Burnett Unveils New Mute-Resistant Commercials.” I followed the link, of course, and found myself reading a humorous article on the Onion’s website. The Onion article was about Leo Burnett using a ‘new technology that disables a TV’s volume-reduction functions, creating a “new kind of listening space” for advertisers to communicate with audiences.’ The most humorous line of the satire was the final sentence, “Rival agency Draftfcb is reportedly developing a technology of its own that will remotely turn on a television and adjust the channel seconds before a commercial airs.”
Take a second to smile and imagine how ridiculous it would be if ad agencies could control your television. Smile again. Laugh out loud a little. Ok, back to business.
The reason these Onion articles are enjoyed by millions is that they almost always connect to a real life situation or societal problem. The problem here? That the media landscape and how brands reach their consumers is changing/has changed, and it doesn’t always include big budget TV commercials anymore. The big agencies have built their empires upon the 30-second spot, and the big question is will all that talent, power and prestige be able to answer to a new era? In a similar vein, will their business model be able to survive without the XL budgets that come with a TV campaign? I can’t wait to see.
In an ideal world, Leo and the other big boys will focus less on the ‘TiVo problem‘ and more on the future of advertising and new media. (I really hope they do, because I love the flash animation on the Leo Burnett website and I would hate for it to go away.)