Smart TV for dummies Erin Brooks- Creative Director, Draftfcb Johannesburg


My TV is headed for recycling. Not because it’s broken but because it’s obsolete.
My four-year-old Full HD LED TV is outdated. In 2014 I need a Smart TV because
the internet is going into everything, and TV is going online. As a result,
television is fundamentally changing, including how and where we watch it, and
before long, how we advertise on it will have to change too.

No sooner have we grasped “third-screen behaviour’ (FYI: first screen is TV,
second is PC and third is mobile), now we have to wrap our heads around
internet TV. While South Africa is still a little way off due to the speed of our
internet connections, it’s coming and it’s going to forever change how we
approach that jewel in the crown of above-the-line advertising, the television

Since 1941 (or since 1976 in SA), television has helped companies take their
products straight into the living rooms of millions of customers. Although the
conversation was entirely one-sided, brands were born, lived and died by their
TV ads. Then came the PC with internet and suddenly customers could talk back
to companies, and marketing got a lot more social.

Then our cellphones got smart, and now having internet in my pocket 24/7 feels
like a human right. If I’m watching a TV ad and I want to know more, I just pull
out my smartphone and boom. Buy. I’ll be in Woolies and see a special on baby
leeks. I pull out my phone, search “leek recipes’ and boom. Quiche.

Now it’s TV’s turn to change and that change is just over the horizon. Let’s start
with our viewing behaviour. Binge-watch was a 2013 finalist in the Oxford
Dictionary’s word of the year. Why? Because we’re all doing it: gorging ourselves
on all 12 episodes of our favourite show in one sitting. It’s become a favourite
weekend pastime for Jozi’s overworked professionals.

And one distribution company was ahead of the curve in meeting this demand.
Last year saw Netflix do a full season release of shows such as House of Cards
and Arrested Development. It must have worked for them, because they’re
releasing House of Cards Season 2 the same way.

So how will TV advertising change when we’re all watching our Smart TVs stream
day-long sessions of our favourite shows? It’s probably going to have to get a
lot better. Currently, internet TV advertising is an un-exciting mix of banners and
video ads, although some sites in place of commercial breaks, play a single 30-
second commercial. No pressure.

More than ever, we’re going to have to make TV ads that people want to watch,
ads people talk about and share. That’s why at Draftfcb we rate our ads
according to “share-worthiness’, because in a 14-hour marathon of House of
Cards, we’ll not only have to get customers to watch our ad, we’ll have to
ensure they remember it too.

I’m off to buy a new TV before the weekend.


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