What is the most effective commercial length on TV?
This problem has been hotly debated by advertisers for decades. Huge research has been conducted but still the choice mostly depends on economic considerations. At the beginning of the television era the advertisements on the North American TV copied those on radio which was the main mass media at that time. Thus, in the 1950ies 60seconds was the standard advertisement size both on radio and TV. But when the inflation reached mass media as well, advertisers reconsidered the commercial length and reduced it to 30 seconds. Later a 15-second advertisement appeared. At present North American voice talents offer 15, 30 and 60-second advertising commercial voiceover, its efficiency being assessed only by consumers’ response. The research has shown that if an advertisement can involve all three blocks of memory in the minds of the target audience, the trade mark will gain popularity which will bring about higher profits.
What are the three blocks of human memory?
Endel Talving, a Canadian psychologist and neuroscientist, the grandfather of modern memory studies, defies these blocks in the following way:
1. Semantic: it is based on reminiscence which stores facts, notions and language.
2. Episodic: it is based on emotions connected with one’s life.
3. Physical: it is based on learned behavior, for example, car driving, playing the guitar, etc as well as on our five feelings.
Advertisements try to touch all three blocks of the memory, which makes it especially effective. No matter what block has been activated most, the brand name will be remembered better.
Is it possible to enclose everything into a 15-second commercial?
Probably no, unless you are a super-creative experienced
script-writer. Besides, if the number of words in your advertisement
is great and, consequently, a voice talent has to speak very fast,
listeners can hardly remember the contents.
A 15-second advertisement can be effective only if it includes signals activating each memory block. But if you resort to such length just because you want to save money it will hardly work. Choosing from various advertisement versions, think of their effectiveness.
“Expensive” does not always mean “effective” as we have already mentioned in the article about audio commercial.