Alan Dee: Those ad break mini-dramas are a real turn-off

Sometimes you know it’s not worth letting something gnaw away at your vitals and boost your blood pressure towards the red line, but you just can’t help it.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 6th February 2013, 3:40 am

And the issue that has cornered my goat and is poking it with a pointed stick is trivial enough, to be sure. It’s concerned with TV, and what could be more trivial than that? Well, TV commercial breaks, since you ask, but let’s not get too complicated.

So here we go: Please, could somebody somewhere take everyone concerned to one side and gently inform them of the facts of life.

People, those pathetic little bite-sized dramas which are expensively designed to highlight your client’s sponsorship of a particular programme don’t work. In fact, they do more harm than good and you should give them up as a bad job.

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You’re all aware of the phenomenon, I’m sure. A big brand slaps down a serious wedge to have their name associated with a TV hit, and wants to get value for money.

A mere name check isn’t enough. The creative types convince them that little scenes, themed to the parent programme but featuring those core brand values that everyone is so concerned about, are just what the doctor ordered.

But they’re not. More often than not, the creative concept is duffer than a Shake’N’Vac campaign, the jokes are poor and the brand plugging risible.

Usually they are designed to make you chuckle in some way, but they leave me stone-faced and seething the more often I am subjected to them – and we all know that hit programmes crowbar in even more ad breaks, don’t we?

Usually the budget will only stretch to four of five sketches – all created with production values which sometimes put the programme being sponsored to shame, so heaven knows the cost involved – so that by the end of the first episode of the series you’ve seen them all at least once and are well on the way to being heartily sick of the sight of them.

And remind me, how are most people watching programmes these days?

That’s right, using series record and catch-up services which mean they can zip through the ads and save themselves 15 minutes of their lives on each instalment.

There is only one benefit from these pathetic snatches of flummery, and that’s giving those of us sprinting through the commercial messages at x32 fast forward a visual alert when they should press the button in a bid to seamlessly rejoin the story without having to fiddle around with the rewind.

Just sticking the word STOP in large letters on the screen for five seconds would do that job just as well, and be a sight cheaper, don’t you think?