The VMA Awards - How to Get People To Watch the Commercials

Posted By Joe Pulizzi on September 08, 2008

MTV held their 25th Annual Video Music Awards last night. For whatever you think about the event, the most interesting part of this year's festivities for me was how MTV handled some of the commercial breaks.

By now, we're all pretty much aware of how easy it is to ignore commercials.  With TiVo and other DVRs, television commercials can be skipped altogether. Knowing this, MTV tried to fight back last night.

During a handful of the commerical breaks for last night's performance, MTV chose to box the commercials in the upper left hand corner and provide VMA content updates on the right and bottom portions of the screen. While watching that Nikon commercial, we would see updates for when Pink would be performing on stage and minute-by-minute updates of the next award presentation.

This tells us a few things.  First, MTV is fully aware that viewers either skip or ignore commercials. Second, by doing this, they are admitting that the content of the commercials is not good enough to keep the attention of music fans.  Third, to try to offset this, MTV chose to compete with the attention of commercials by running continuous VMA updates in text form.

Either way, how effective can the commercials be? Does MTV think that by generating VMA content that actively competes against the ads is better for the advertisers simply because they don't skip the ads? Just because they don't skip doesn't mean they are watching the ads. A big problem indeed.

This is just more proof of why brands must continue to generate their own content and effectively "be the media" instead of hoping to interrupt people enough to watch their advertisements.


Comments (1)


November 14, 2015

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