Pay to Skip Ads Not Working Anymore?

The concept of television advertising has been somewhat fluid pretty much ever since its inception.  Viewers have longed for a way to get around the advertising and back to the experience of television.  From the VCR to the DVR, and all the way up to TiVo and beyond, viewers have a lot of tools to get around commercials.

But they don’t have as many as they once did–seems that TiVo has started adding banner ads to its playback.  For instance, pause during ‘The Biggest Loser’ TV show, and you might get an ad from Jenny Craig saying “you’ve got more to lose!’

Pause ‘Iron Chef America’ on the Food Network, meanwhile, and it’s  ‘Sub-Zero: Every cook deserves the best!’”

Even worse, some DVRs rented to cable customers disable commercial skipping.

I personally find this downright unconscionable.  What really needs to be done, instead of breaking up narratives with advertising, television advertising needs to look more like web advertising, inserted INTO the shows.  Why are we not doing more with product placement?

Instead of making a Coke ad to put in between parts of Monday Night Football, why not just have the commentators regularly sip a Coke?  You get the same effect–product visibility–with less intrusion.  It may even be a net gain–show a product twenty times for three seconds in a show, and you’ve got the equivalent of a one minute ad.  In a medium dotted with thirty second spots, you’re up on the game and you didn’t even have to break into the show.

There’s got to be a better solution here, and I wish someone would try something a little more innovative to find it.