TV Commercials

(WB 8)

Commercials is what makes TV go around; with low ratings, advertisers pull out and the network gets no money = show gets cancelled. Commercials are essential to the way the television industry works today, and it’s not like it’s going away anytime soon. It’s like they’ve always been there and will always be there. Yes, commercials can be annoying sometimes, they can so terribly bad and offensive, not to mention stereotypical, sexist, hetero-normative and all kinds of boring… Yet we are so used to them, and our complaints about them are mostly about the above mentioned problems, not questioning why they are still on TV.

With DVR’s and online streaming sites it’s easier than ever for the TV audience to skip through commercials while still catching the show. Personally, I don’t mind watching commercials, I’m very materialistic and I always go for the “limited edition” or “new” products released, I’m not shamed to admit that! But I am also educated and I know what goes on behind the scenes, I know that commercials don’t represent reality – just like TV – it’s all just a business ploy, and so I can watch it and be critical, and buy the products for the products themselves, not because of the persuasive commercial. In Sweden there’s one supermarket chain (ICA) who has become super famous for their commercials, because they are almost like mini-TV shows! Every other week, a new “episode” aka commercial gets released and the advertised products are used more as props, set decoration, product placement and product integration for the cast to use. It’s hugely popular – it’s the world longest running TV commercial – and in Sweden we still talk about each new episode as if it were a TV-show. Commercials are trying to re-invent themselves so that people will actually watch them, and this is one very successful way.

Again, I don’t really mind commercials, I even enjoy it sometimes. The problem I have is that they are mostly only broadcasted on TV and I rarely watch TV that way. When I say I “watch TV” I really mean I watch a TV show on my computer, on streaming sites like Netflix or Hulu. The benefit for me is not that I get rid of the commercials by watching my shows online, but that I can watch them when I want: timeshifting. I never have time to watch the shows when they actually air, and so watching online, on my computer or tablet is perfect for me. By all means, put in more commercials on streaming sites, I won’t mind, as long as I can watch my shows whenever I want, but I also think it’s time to re-invent the whole idea about commercials in the first place…

It’s in Swedish, but you’ll get the story anyway through the visuals…


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