In-program advertising

It is no longer enough to have a 10 second commercial aired every 5 minutes in the commercial break slot.

With almost every brand, churning out commercials with great storyboards, memorable punchlines and characters, visibility is a constant battle. Celebrities’ endorsing multiple brands also dampens the exclusivity and uniqueness of the product.

The most obvious approach in such a scenario is to catch the audience’s attention by creating opportunities in the untapped prime time segment – the serial itself. Forget commercial breaks, welcome in-program advertising.

Although the concept of in-program advertising is no news, its presence on Indian television is greater now than ever before. While the Indian idol judges on Sony television channel sip Pepsi and Aquafina water on and off for the show duration of 30 minutes, would the audience really remember the 10 second Coca Cola commercial?

Whether it is an anchor eating Maggie on a adventure show in a lifestyle channel or the Get Gorgeous girls checking their own pictures on, in-program advertising is here for now.

So is television viewing minus the commercial breaks a possibility? Are brands, ad-agencies ready to take on this situation? More importantly, how are the viewers going to react to this?

Although it would be interesting to see how products are incorporated into the program, I don’t see many takers for a complete shift in how brands are advertised.

If cleverly done in-program advertising fetches the brand greater coverage and recall value, however how much of the brand to use is eventually the decision of the television channel and the writers.
An overkill may cause some harm to the brand but the negativity of the television viewing experience may keep the viewers away. Remember the movie Yaadien, which got a lot of flake for “over endorsing” and an eventual damp box-office response.

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