Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Free us from the tyranny of the hidden persuaders (but make them pay for it)

Freeview Channel that you switch to for the duration of the adbreak.
  [vote for,

In the UK adbreaks on the major channels air at almost exactly the same time. Set up a freeview channel that airs ad-break length vignettes (mini dramas, comedy sketches, short films along the lines of Ch4's 3 minute wonder etc) as the main channels air their ads. Include a visual countdown which shows when the actual content on the major channels is about to return to your screen (i.e. when the ads are finishing).

Most TV ads are paid for by the market leaders in their niche. Here, then, is a way to allow the smaller guys to sponsor your shows: they pay for people to effectively not watch the ads of their competitors. During a particularly high profile campaign, you might be able to get competitors to pay handsomely for good content on your spoiler channel.

Plus relatively unknown film makers/comedians/writers get exposure.

hennessey, Feb 06 2009

(?) A Game no-one plays A_20game_20no-one_20plays
link for porge [simonj, Feb 07 2009]


       Tv stations here in the Netherlands are now starting to experiment with showing commercials every five minutes. The americanisation of our society has started the final phase.   

       Love this idea. Think it is illegal. Noone will allow this who has anything to do with broadcasting.   

       Can the rest of the time be filled with regular shows with no commercials?
zeno, Feb 06 2009

       I like it, but I don't think the cable companies would. They might increase advert length or randomize timing to make up for the lost viewer numbers. I could see this working in a competing format-- maybe radio/broadcast TV.   

       Or, just don't watch TV.
sninctown, Feb 06 2009

       [+] I especially like the idea of 'Anti-ad' campaigns. Perhaps It doesn't necessarily have to match the ad breaks, just show constant short clips or picturesque webcam shots etc that are more interesting than the ads, so people can switch anytime. You could maybe even have a po-up message when other channels finish their ad breaks, so you know when it is safe to return.
MadnessInMyMethod, Feb 06 2009

       //a po-up message when other channels finish their ad breaks// I think that would be an invasion of po's privacy.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 06 2009

       /The americanisation of our society has started the final phase./   

       We got a bunch of 51-star flags made right after the Iraq invasion, and now they are just gathering dust. Glad to read they will come in handy after all.
bungston, Feb 06 2009

       //They might increase advert length or randomize timing//   

       Good point, but I was thinking that you could provide a little electronic device linked to your internet connection that could switch to the spoiler channel for you. By reading the infrared signal from your remote it would know which channel you were currently watching, thus it could switch channels at the appropriate time (i.e you send the signal for it to switch to ad-spoiler channel and back at exactly the right time for the particular channel watched). Then you both remove the necessity for the user to do anything - and make your system robust to randomized timings from advertisers.   

       I can't see why it would be illegal exactly, but [zeno] you're right it might not be popular with the other commercial channels. And in fairness i don't think we can really pin the evils of advertising solely on america.
hennessey, Feb 06 2009

       Not at all MB - I think we could jsut ask her to pre-record a few simple messages "They've stopped advertising toilet roll on ITV - safe to return to Teletubbies", and have her jump up at the appropriate time. Of course other HB users could mention their favorite shows as well, gives the channel a family atmosphere.   

       Or I could just learn to type of course...
MadnessInMyMethod, Feb 06 2009

       I support anything which allows users to choose to filter out advertising for three reasons:
1: Products advertised are often not the best choice available on the market; i.e. advertising is used to distort perceptions away from the best choice.
2: Advertising agencies currently focus on maximum ROI; with this model they would increasingly have to focus upon interesting content that users like to watch more that hennessey's free-view channel.
3: Adverts are repeated far too frequently. That causes dissatisfaction and people to switch to the free-view channel. This will help ensure ads are shown with repeat schedules more akin to programmed television; e.g. once in a prime-time slot, once in an off-peak slot and then again about a year later.
vincevincevince, Feb 07 2009

       I don't this will work economically. A company too small to advertise on TV will probably gain more benefit from spending a dollar promoting their own brand (in some other medium) than from spending a dollar attacking a leading brand. I say this is probable because the "negative" dollar benefits all the small company's small competitors' brands as much as the small company's own brand, whereas the "positive" dollar benefits the small company exclusively.   

       This is interesting example of the general limitation of market-based solutions, where 'free-rider' effects prevent a particular overall benefit from being achievable as the sum of a series of marginal benefits.   

       I can see two obvious responses to this. One is to say "Advertising is a result of a free market, therefore advertising must be good". The other is to say "We hate advertising, and are willing to place a restraint on the market in order to limit advertising". This idea is a brave attempt to straddle these two boats, but I think in the end you'll have to pick one and stick with it.
pertinax, Feb 07 2009

       Do you think PBS would take this idea and run maybe?
porge, Feb 07 2009

       See a game no one plays under thec Sport category for possible content..........perfect!!!!
porge, Feb 07 2009

       //PBS would take this idea//
They sure would, porge. "Sesame Street" is entirely an Elmo commercial.
Amos Kito, Feb 07 2009

       What I like about this idea is you've actuall thought of a way to finance it!! so rare on HB [+]
simonj, Feb 07 2009

       Slightly off topic - I think that the commercial equivalents of iPlayer (such as 4OD in the UK) could be great for small business advertising. As it can be so targeted at one very local area, and one particular program type, it could be very cheap yet very effective. You can imagine a local greengrocer buying an advertising slot on an environmental issues program to advertise a sale on organic veg. He could just pay to have the advert shown 100 times in his area. If the advert was a simple static slide or similar, it wouldn't cost much to produce.
MadnessInMyMethod, Feb 08 2009

       If you don't like advertising, you should be the one paying for the right to not see it... i.e. cable, or if you want to watch network shows, then perhaps suggest a subscription service for a no-ads channel of those shows, or a no-ads version online.
Smurfsahoy, Feb 08 2009

       It'd be interesting to crunch the numbers for that (no-ads cable service)
FlyingToaster, Feb 08 2009

       FT - simple, about £139.50 per year for about 7 reasonably good channels without advertising. At least that is roughly how it works with the BBC. They kind of have the advantage in the UK that you have to pay for them before you get anything else, so they have a monopoly.   

       Paying for ad-free tv seems quite sensible. It would certainly make the business model of the channels more simple. At the moment they are companies which provide advertising space and, incidentally, make TV programs which are good enough to persuade advertisers that people will watch them! A TV company that hass to convince viewers that the programs are good enough to watch might make better TV.
MadnessInMyMethod, Feb 09 2009

       I rarely see ads because i never watch TV, and even when i did it was usually the BBC. They work the other way for me. I've noticed that they are usually for products i wouldn't buy, and my conclusion is that if something needs to be advertised, there's something wrong with it. If i saw an advert for something i did use, i'd probably stop doing so because i'd think it was poor value, unethical, contained something dodgy or something like that.
I think the TV Licence system in the UK is broken. The BBC have stated that they won't prosecute people who use the iPlayer without a licence. They also sell DVDs, put stuff on YouTube and so forth. I can't think of a reason to have a licence because the only use i can think of is for an old TV with a UHF socket for old home micros or games consoles. I find it rather strange that people still watch TV on TV.
The TV licence system worked in the past and it was a good system, but nowadays it's an anachronism. My solution for that would be to stop watching it entirely or turn it over completely to public access and emergency broadcasts, since it's an outmoded device in other terms. Having said that, i like the idea.
nineteenthly, Feb 09 2009

       //[M]y conclusion is that if something needs to be advertised, there's something wrong with it//   

       What a great way of putting it. I'm going to run this analysis by my daughters - I'm doing my best to teach them to be skeptical about commercials that they see on TV.   

       We try to point out the products that are decent, but they are few and far between.   

nomocrow, Feb 09 2009

       Thanks, [nomocrow]. Ads do, however, have a use. They're extremely valuable for teaching rhetoric.
nineteenthly, Feb 09 2009

       //[M]y conclusion is that if something needs to be advertised, there's something wrong with it// Seriously? There are TONS of other reasons:   

       *The most obvious one is that advertisements allow you to browse a large number of products without having to actually drive around and find somebody selling them in person. If I want a cheap used car, I can open the newspaper and find 50 in the time that I could have found 2 driving around or calling people, etc.   

       *What if one brand is almost identical to another brand, and advertising makes people buy one in particular? There may be nothing wrong with either product, and as long as the other company still exists and creates competition, this doesn't hurt the consumer, it just hurts the less successful advertising company somewhat.   

       *Some goods and services would be impossible to find without advertising. E.g. a suicide hotline. Do you expect people to just dial random numbers hoping to find what they need? Or even just a store located on a secluded street.   

       *Goods or services may have legitimate benefits that are not immediately apparent. For instance, if some food has been proven to fight high blood pressure - your friend buying it just because it looks tasty wouldn't be able to tell you that, but an advertisement can, backed by controlled lab research.   

Smurfsahoy, Feb 10 2009

       [Smurfsahoy].. taking your points to their logical conclusion, we should abolish all advertising but replace it by an independently edited market guide to each segment which has like-for-like comparisons and prices. An online version would be most powerful. No graphics, no logos, no brand or product names. Just a code number "Noodle A424" and a set of statistics "Transfat: 3g/serving; Sodium: 8g/serviing; 800kcal; Independent taste score: 14/20; Product of China; $3.99".   

       Abolish in store ads as well and put all products in white cardboard boxes with the product code in black block lettering on the front and statistics in monospace below it. No logos, brand names or other information. I want to live in that world.
vincevincevince, Feb 10 2009

       [Smurfsahoy], i don't consider all advertising to be bad. TV advertising, on the other hand, has a strong tendency to be. I advertise myself to get clients. I find that only a very few of the options work at all regardless of the format of the advertiser, and they frequently assure us that they have a USP which is very seldom actually the case. They also inflate prices between competitors by talking everyone up, so all the advertisers pay above a market rate.
Someone looked into local TV advertising for me and it was ludicrously expensive for what i would have gotten for it, with no guarantee of a single client from it. I would say that a corollary of that is that a business which advertises on t'telly often does not prioritise its ethical side, since if they did, their profits and size wouldn't be sufficient to afford them. Once again, it's a scale issue.

       Turning to your points:   

       * That's newspaper advertising. I'm talking about the television. Just as an aside, the Yellow Pages works better for that.   

       * If print advertising is anything to go by, they are likely to be produced by the same advertiser. However, the very fact that it's on TV suggests they are not social enterprises, since a social enterprise has more important things to spend its money on than profit. If it's not a social enterprise, i would be reluctant to buy from them since i will probably be supporting an employer which will, for example, make people redundant at the drop of a hat, move labour around to other parts of the world where there are more lax labour laws, move products around the world using up resources and so on.   

       * That kind of advertising is different than commercial advertising. There's a difference between advertisements and commercials. We're using the term "advertising" loosely here. Concerning suicide hotlines, they can advertise better at the "point of sale" as it were, like the top of Beachy Head, in pharmacies, in medical and counselling practices and so forth, and they actually do that. They also have the option of the likes of telethons. Concerning the secluded street, that's actually one of our big problems as a business. The solution is quite "butterfly effect" - like though. For instance, our friends in the bookshop suddenly lost their custom a few years ago because students had started going to college down a newly opened path. They solved the problem by advertising on the path. Doing it on TV is throwing money away in that respect.   

       * Well, here we come up against the alienation of use value and exchange value. If we go there, this will probably turn into a flame war.
nineteenthly, Feb 10 2009


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