The National Association of Broadcasters has commissioned 30 second advertisements meant to warn consumers about the impending shift from analog to digital only television transmissions.
This DTV transition will render analog TV over-the-air broadcasts — those received by TVs connected to antennas — dark when the switch takes place in February 2009, a little more than a year away.
Here is one of the ads:
Note: I couldn’t embed the national spot. It’s available here. (It’s just as bad.)
Awareness ads are necessary as most people don’t understand the DTV conversion and how it affects them. But, these particular ads don’t help. They are confusing and ineffective for two reasons:
- The call to action is indirect. You don’t want people to visit a website, you want them to buy $50 converter boxes. This is not clearly explained in the ad.
- The target audience for these ads are older, old-fashioned consumers that will not connect with these ads. These are the majority of people that still use over-the-air (OTA) TV. They are likely not to have Internet access or be moved by flashy graphics.
Instead, these ads should say: “Your television will stop working February 2009 if you receive TV signals over-the-air. TVs with rabbit-ears type antennas or TVs connected to an antenna on your roof are types of TVs that will stop working February 2009. You need to purchase a $50 DTV converter box available at local electronics retailers before February 2009. If you pay to receive television over cable or satellite, you do not need to purchase this converter box. If you are confused by this message, call this number or visit this website for clarification.” They should have CLEAR, NON-MOTION visuals that are easily processed by the elderly that still receive OTA broadcasts.
It’s odd. You’d think that the NAB with all its elderly staff would be able to understand this. (That was intended as a sarcastic jibe against NAB’s antiquated ways and opinions.)
PS. Here’s the punch-line: I first saw one of the NAB DTV transition ads on CNN — a cable network! I understand the NAB is happy to get as much free exposure it can, but people that can receive CNN telecasts do NOT NEED A CONVERTER BOX! Talk about adding to the confusion.