Saturday, January 31, 2009

The One-Second Scam

Have you heard about the so-called "one-second" commercial that will be showing on the Super Bowl? I first heard about it while watching the Tonight Show. The star of the commercial was a guest on the show, and they showed a number of one-second commercials that were shot plus the one that will be aired.

You can read all about it at among lots of other news articles posted about the commercial.

Locally, here in Seattle, the one-second commercial barely gets any notice because there will be a half-second commercial by Ivar's. You can read about that commercial at

But here's the thing--they're scams. These aren't really "one-second" or "half-second" commercials. They're gimmicks that get enormous amounts of press and talk. I haven't heard much about any of the other commercials that will be airing as I have about those one-second and half-second commercials. They get more free air time in the news, which I think should count towards the total real "time" of the commercial.

Frankly, it's brilliant marketing. These people are smart--they only have to buy one (and one-half) seconds of airtime, and they wind up with hours of free publicity it generates.

Only a sucker would pay full price for a 30-second commercial and wind up with less press as a result.

So anyhow, I'm calling the one-second and half-second commercials a scam. It doesn't count in my book if the people who make them expect lots of free publicity because of it.


Bobguyman said...

Regardless of whether it's a scam or not, it's a great marketing idea... Think about it. They say on or two words or do something small and there we go, nothing else. But it catches people's attention, does it not? They keep watching for those ads later in the game and soon pay attention to the company that makes them. Plus, it spreads it out so that someone who just missed the last commercial will see the next one.


Steve, Christa, Emily, Meghan, Charles & Elizabeth said...

even better are the ads like PETA's that get "banned" before the event and have everyone talking about them without even having to pay for the air time at all!

jamilo said...

I love it!

And, I would not have heard of it if it wasn't for you.

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