Channel surfing all the way to Netflix

Commercials seem to be getting worse and make watching cable television unenjoyable.

By Meg Taylor, News Editor

Commercials are supposed to be an entertaining source of advertising; however, the majority of commercials make viewers want to change the channel or turn the television off entirely.

It is almost impossible to escape the abundance of medical commercials on cable that are filled with long lists of crude side effects. Most people turn to television to be entertained, not to listen to advertisements including the words erectile dysfunction, diarrhea, heart attack and death in their message. The majority of people who are viewing these commercials do not even take the medications being advertised or have the illness it treats.

“People want to paint the demise of cable TV as the result of cost or lack of access,” Defy Media exec VP of Marketing Andy Tu told Variety. “But this younger demo is saying, ‘The stuff on television isn’t relevant to me.'”

This point was proved in a 2016 study from Defy that found 85 percent of their Millennial respondents regularly watch YouTube. A 2018 Forbes article cited a study from the McCarthy Group that further proved this point by stating that millennials are not viewing or even listening to digital advertising on television.

According to the Forbes article, “84% of millennials stated that did not like traditional marketing and, what’s more, they didn’t trust it. And they really are not viewing or listening to it either. They don’t watch traditional TV, preferring instead live streaming, video-on-demand on such platforms as Netflix and Anime. And YouTube is actually the most-viewed platform for video.”

Millennials, however, are not the only generation who dislike the commercials aired on television. Older people not only dislike the content of the commercials, they dislike how their age group is portrayed in digital advertising.

In a study conducted by GlynnDevins, a company that specializes in marketing to older age groups, found that, “Overall, the seniors surveyed gave very low marks to the way ads portray people in their age group, with 60% saying ads targeting seniors are dominated by stereotypes.”

The problem with commercials falls back onto advertisers. In an effort to bring viewers back to cable and encourage others not to leave cable for streaming sites, advertisers should produce more relatable content and place more of a focus on entertainment. For medication commercials, maybe implement humor instead of placing a focus on the discomfort of the side effects. Also, basing the commercial around a big family gives all viewers a person to connect to in the advertisement.

Some can argue that there are products that cannot be made entertaining because the subject of the commercial itself is not all that exciting. A simple fix for this problem is to create a catchy jingle or slogan. A prime example is the Barnes Firm Attorneys commercial. I cannot help but sing along when their jingle appears on the TV.

“Cellino and Barnes, injury attorneys, call 1(800)888-8888. Don’t wait, call 8!”

Just by adding one small factor, like a catchphrase or music, automatically intrigues viewers and makes them pay attention to the screen instead of turning away from it.