What if TV ads were sold the way Web ads are sold?

Steve Safran, over at Audience Research & Development, out with a stinging, but witty, critique of how we run television websites.

All that money spent on Super Bowl ads got me musing – what if we sold Web ads the same way we sell TV ads? Advertisers blew a ton on the Super Bowl, and all for a general audience. They got a buzz, but do you remember which ad had the monkeys? What product the ad with the black and white faces saying inspirational things is for? The ads may be cute and funny, but effective? Who knows? One thing they are not is cheap.

But what if they were sold the way we sell the Web? We still vastly undersell our Web assets, and we still aren’t sure how to market them. If we sold Web the way we sell TV:

Advertisers wouldn’t pay anything unless we could guarantee them viewers would leap through the television and buy their product

If we owned a newspaper, we’d add on the TV ad as added value

We would run 10 ads at once all around the screen, because “there’s space.”

We would hire people who had previously sold products unrelated to TV – say, crackers.

If the client didn’t have creative, stations would ask the TV news producers to make the ads

(TV news producers would also be responsible for increasing the size of the audience, giving reports to the managers on the audience, running the operations department, fixing the equipment and directing the newscasts.)

We would run a big ribbon all the way around the newscast promoting the advertiser.

Right before each package, the viewer would have to sit through a 10-second ad.

During the newscast, there would be a dancing girl promoting discount mortgages.

Of course, we don’t allow any of this. We’ve even heard how some of this would be “unethical” and “bad for journalism.” But online – we’ll sell anything. So… why?

And would you like to try to slug a few baseballs out of the park at the top of the screen during our six pm? You could save on your insurance.

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