Commercials Essay


Television commercials are becoming shorter along with attention spans and commercial financial plans. The 30-second commercial is becoming more and more common, progressively displacing the 60-second one. In terms of observers, it means more promotion advertisements in a hastier format. However, in case of industry pundits, it means that shorter television advertisement is an efficient method to economize money. Additionally, the current researches reveal that such commercials grab more attention than the longer format commercials. In fact, 30-second commercial demonstrates much more advantages for both industry advertisers and target audience. Such commercials are considered to be the best option among 15- and 60-second television advertisements. Thus, 30-second commercial is believed to be more effective than 60-second one. 

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Advertising providers are presently prosecuting a dispute concerning the efficiency of 30-second television or network advertisements. From the viewpoint of commercial finance and economics, brief and small television and network advertisements are appealing due to the fact that they are proportionally less costly in comparison with longer, 60-second commercials (Chitty et al. 2012). The significant problem, however, is the comparative operability of short television advertisements. Some industrial pundits have debated that the major concern of television commercials is to reflect corporate identity and brand name acknowledgement; he small 30-second commercials are corresponding and effective for such purpose (Fredrix 2010). Other industry pundits debate that short television advertisements will occur during increasingly continuous series of television advertisements and the outcome will be growing advertising turmoil and reduced efficiency (Shimp 2010).

The Major Differences between 30-Second Commercials and 60-Second Ones

In reality, 30-second television commercials become most popular nowadays (Shimp 2010). Currently, the world industry pundits utilize different advertising formats. They sometimes use 60-second duration but prefer 30-second commercials, 15-second commercials and even 5- or 10-second ones. The advertisers have been disputing over the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing distinctive durations of television advertisement for decades. As a matter of fact, such a dispute has been greatly powered by increasing media spendings. In the period of the 1950s, the typical television commercial's duration stood for 60 seconds (Fredrix 2010). However, media inflation rose afterwards and the 60-second duration was compelled to diminish. Thus, the inflation provoked the appearance of the 30-second commercial (Chitty et al. 2012). The advertisements, that are shorter than 60 seconds, can have advantages due to the existence of an Astonishment outcome and finish before the time when the target audience decides to avoid them (Vranica 2012). Currently, media mixture can endure everything an originative mind produces. Regardless of the commercial duration, the major purpose refers to creating an expressive effect on the viewer. In fact, 30-second spot is considered to be very effective. Firstly, there is no point in creating a smaller commercial due to the fact that not all brand names and messages can be told in less than 30 seconds (Potts 2014). Secondly, 30-second advertisement allows conveying complex proposals and feelings so the people do not feel bored (Potts 2014). Thirdly, 30-second commercial is considered to suit image-formulating campaigns perfectly. Fourthly, 30-second commercial demonstrates a higher probability of grabbing audience attention comparing with 15-second and 60-second one (Chitty et al. 2012). Fifthly, 30-second advertisement does not bore and/or tire the viewer with turmoil, while the same turmoil seems to be prolonged in 60-second advertisements. Moreover, it allows enhancing the effectiveness of the whole commercial and it seems to be worth investing money (Chitty et al. 2012). Spots with numerous level of visual turmoil might have lower operation and efficiency. Sixthly, 30-second advertisements ideally suit for the creation of humorous effects, as 15 seconds might not be enough to reveal the message, while in case of 60 seconds it looks delaying and boring. Seventhly, the target audience is more eager to watch 30-second advertisements, which currently makes this format the most popular (Chitty et al. 2012). Finally, they are considered to be more memorable in regard to shorter or longer counterparts. The fact that the viewer will remember the advertisement and choose the advertised product more often is of utmost importance (Fredrix 2010). Presently, 60-second commercials are believed to have numerous disadvantages. First of all, they are usually too long for some items and messages. The target audience typically needs between 20 and 30 seconds to understand what a commercial informs them about (Chitty et al. 2012). Thus, these particular viewers are not interested in watching the commercial till the very end. 

30-Second and 60-Second Commercials in the Internet

It is also important to remember that television commercials are widely utilized in the internet. The facts demonstrate that 54 percent of respondents to an online survey, which has been performed by Poll Position, acknowledged that it was tolerable for them to watch a 30 second commercial before the needed video (Fredrix 2010). However, only 12 percent of respondents agreed to watch a commercial, the duration of which exceeds the 30-second limit (Fredrix 2010). In addition to this, only 4 percent appeared to watch longer than 45 seconds commercials (Chitty et al. 2012). It practically means that 60-second commercials are not popular at all and people decide to skip them or to watch something different instead (Wiedemann 2009). 

The history demonstrates that 77 percent of all US television and network commercials lasted for 60 seconds in 1965 (Wiedemann 2009). This number has been actually progressively dropping to 27 percent during the following five years (Vranica 2012). In last 30 years, it has fallen to as low as 7 percent level. Therefore, it is obvious that the majority of industry pundits prefer to use 30-second commercials instead of 60-second ones. It is always important to invest money wisely, and there is no point in investing into advertisements, which are unpopular and usually skipped by target audience (Vranica 2012). On the other hand, 30-second commercials have been unpopular during 1960s and made up only 23 percent of the whole commercial industry (Vranica 2012). Their number has increased to 72 percent during 1970s. Currently, they stand for almost a half of all commercials created (Vranica 2012). 

Benefits of 30-Second Commercials

The latest industry facts and figures demonstrate that 30-second television advertisements are at the least between 50 and 80 percent as efficient as 60-second television advertisements  in terms of retaining data (Fredrix 2010). Furthermore, the facts depict that the efficiency of 30-second television advertisement is not strongly influenced by the duration of advertisements, which precede or follow them. Consequently, the 15-second spot does not enhance the efficiency of the nearest 60-second television advertisements (Wiedemann 2009). Moreover, the facts demonstrate that the level of recall and influence of 30-second television advertisements are higher when a 60-second advertisement follows it rather than precede this 30-second commercial (Fredrix 2010). However, the analogous facts and figures discover that the existing repercussions to 60-second spots are quite negative, particularly among 18-24 year old audience (Chitty et al. 2012). In a conjectural point of view, conceptions from different mental, psychologic, and data processing investigation flows are beneficial in helping to understand mental and psychologic operations incumbent on consumers' reactions to smaller television commercials (Vranica 2012). The notion of short advertisements’ influence is outlined as ‘initial processing’, which stands for the cognitive operations appearing in a process and right after subjection to data, up to and incorporating short-run recollections (Lyons 2011).

Commercials and Memory Systems of the Human Being

In reality, there are three memory banks in a human mind, and they should be taken into account when creating 30-second and 60-second commercials. The first memory bank stands for the semantic memory system, which incorporates knowledge grounded recollection. This is a location where people store facts, notions and languages. The second memory bank stands for episodic memory system (Potts 2014). This is a location, where people hold emotional grounded recollections, and where they keep autobiographical remembrances. The third memory bank stands for procedural or somatic memory system. It includes action grounded recollections and this is a location where people keep learned conducts, including the knowledge of how to drive a car or play a piano. This is also a place where people store their physical feelings of bodily actions and five senses (Potts 2014). In order to create a good commercial, industry pundits utilize visualization, which provokes flashes in all three memory banks. The shorter is a commercial, the more effective it is regarding the memory system of a human mind. When people recollect a television commercial later regardless of which memory system was stimulated the most, the general sensations will differ from individual. Shorter commercials call for mood felt previously in life and do not evoke the feeling of jejunity, which actually spoils individual’s recollection (Potts 2014). A lot of researches have been done to study multiplex cognitive reactions to television commercial domains being diverse in turmoil. It is important to investigate the effectiveness and the impact of turmoil being operationally outlined in terms of commercials' numbers in a series, commercials' duration, and inserting additional materials, including program credits. The researches demonstrate that despite commercials’ duration, television advertisements appearing at the beginning and at the end of a series are more efficient than commercials appearing in the middle of the same series (Potts 2014). It demonstrates that the viewers do not know when to increase their attention level during a series of television advertisements as they are in expectation of the program’s or film's resumption, and such an issue will become even larger with progressive utilization of short-term commercials. Thus, in order to increase the effectiveness of short commercials, it is crucial for industry pundits to utilize two short television advertisements for the analogous or even same product in the same series of commercials (Vranica 2012). The effectiveness is a result of advertising reiteration, which allows the observers to constantly concentrate on long-term effects. In addition, it is also important to take into account psychological theories of data-processing in order to see the impact of 30-second spot (Potts 2014). Particularly, it is crucial to analyze the concept of stimulus trace. For instance, the concept suggests that 30-second commercial efficacy can be exaggerated when two (but not more) commercials for the one or similar product occur during one series (Lyons 2011). Nevertheless, they should not be used one right after another. Actually, the concept of stimulus trace is analogous to the ‘halo effect’ in other spheres of consumer conduct research. The notion of stimulus novelty suggests that 30-second television advertisements occurring in a series of commercials can briefly enlarge revival and notice due to the fact that they depict appointed alterations in the audiovisual surroundings (Lyons 2011). 

Examples of Successful 30-Second Commercials

For example, if the 60-second Coca-Cola commercial is compared with its 30-second commercial, it becomes obvious that 30-second commercial it more effective than the longer counterpart due to the fact that it works with all three memory banks of its viewers. The 60-second Coca-Cola commercial is called 'I’d like to teach the world to sing' (Coca Cola commercial – I’d like to teach the world to sing 2008). It was released in 1971, and it demonstrates people singing a song while holding Coca Cola in their hands. The advertisement seems to be boring and the message is lost in the overall commercial length. That commercial does not work with memory banks of its viewers. The only thing saving the commercial from a total fail is an advertising jingle used (Chitty et al. 2012). Additionally, it is known that this commercial had unbelievable cost for those times. The company spent $250,000 on the commercial, and it made a song really popular. However, it did not increase company's sales. Contrary to the previous commercial, more recent 30-second advertisement works with all three memory banks as it makes people think about their friends, about things, which make people smile and recall their early lives (30-second Coca Cola commercial, 2013). People can easily follow the messages appearing in the advertisement, which makes them think and follow these messages (Chitty et al. 2012). The company used the commercial for the Super Bowl and it cost $3.5 million. Coca Cola received great interest in its production after the commercial creating. Therefore, 30-second commercial is considered as an advantageous possibility in this case.

This trend also exists in different sports commercials. The best example concerns Nike commercials. Nike has both 60-second television advertisements and 30-second ones. The latter is believed to be more efficient and to grad more attention. Both kinds demonstrate that Nike allows making the life of sportsmen easier, providing them with more speed, lightness and confidence (Fredrix 2010). In case of 60-second commercial, which is called 'SPARQ training', people understand it from the very beginning, and the effect of surprise and inspiration is lost (Nike SPARQ training: 60 seconds 2008). There is no point in watching the commercial till the end. On the other hand, 30-second commercial, called 'Imperfection', grabs the attention with lowered amount of turmoil (Imperfection: Nike running commercial spec 2013). It is easier for the audience to understand the message flow and to watch the commercial till the end. It shows a person running both on a stadium and near the ocean, which makes people recall them running and even inspires them to perform this action. Each time the viewer will see the image of the ocean, it will make him/her recall the reviewed commercial, as it did not retain or create the effect of boredom and uniformity. 

Despite the fact that the 30-second spots stand for a half of the 60-second ones, they typically cost up to 75-80 percent of the 60-second commercials' budget (Chitty et al. 2012). For example, Super Bowl is the best period for advertising products. Everything began with the Super Bowl in 1984, when Steve Jobs violated the counsel of Apple’s board and created a 60-second movie-like commercial, performing George Orwell’s novel, ‘1984’, to assist the introduction of a new Macintosh personal computer (1984 Apple’s Macintosh commercial 2012). There have never been such TV advertisements before. During the past year, the Super Bowl was acknowledged as the most viewed occurrence in the US with more than 108 million of viewing audience. The most captivating fact about the Super Bowl stands for the reason why people watched it (Yes, a Super Bowl ad really is worth $4 million 2014). A number of researches have demonstrated that 50 percent of the Super Bowl viewers tuned in just to watch the commercial. Despite the fact that the US audience loves commercials during the Super Bowl, a lot of industry pundits consider that an enormous spending is not worth cost for these commercials (Lyons 2011). Thus, currently, 30-second spot costs at least $4 million at the same time when a 60-second spot is worth $8 million (Yes, a Super Bowl ad really is worth $4million 2014). These are the costs of demonstrating these commercials to the audience; however, it is crucial to remember pricing for Super Bowl commercial production. A typical Super Bowl commercial stands for a production value of at least $1 million, and, on a basis of commercial’s concept extravagancy, people can readily double or triple this value (Kanner 2006). Therefore, it is important to start from the comparison of Super Bowl Job’s commercials. As a matter of fact, Steve Job’s '1984' 60-second commercial is believed to be poor and unpersuasive. An average 30-second spot receives the score of 29, while “1984” received only 5 (Potts 2014). As a matter of fact, it was believed that such a commercial effort was an absolute success due to the fact that the company sold their Macintoshes worthing $3.5 million after the commercial. This might seem successful considering the fact that the commercial cost $1 million (Potts 2014). Nevertheless, the genuine cost of this advertisement production was approximately $650,000 (Potts 2014). This is only the cost of commercial itself, and there is no actual data related to the cost of the commercial appearing during the Super Bowl. Moreover, the company was able to send 70, 000 of product units right after the advertisement. However, the interest seriously diminished in a couple of weeks (Kanner 2006). Therefore, it is believed that 30-second commercial (Apple (unreleased) Macintosh ad – “1984” 30-second version 2013) could be at least half as expensive and more effective, so it would grab more attention and be easier to remember. The company had actually created a 30-second commercial, but never released it, as they particularly hated “1984” commercial and decided that it was not worth to pay money for 30-second short commercial (Kanner 2006).


The current paper demonstrated that 30-second advertisements are truly more effective than 60-second counterparts. They are half as costly and twice as effective. They easily grab the attention of both adult and infant viewers. They often work with memory banks of a person, making him or her recall something similar in their lives, inspiring to repeat these actions with a help of an item advertised. In addition to this, they do not make the person bored or feel foolish as viewers usually grab the idea and understand its outcome in the period between 20 and 30 seconds of a commercial. This type of advertisement ideally suits for humorous messages and do not turn advertisements in turmoil. A lot of 60-second commercials, discussed in this paper, appeared to be too expensive and turn out commercial failures. The companies spent huge amount of money for advertising but these investments have not been worked around and returned. Moreover, reconsideration of attention gap together with the inflation increasing made advertisers utilize 30-second commercials more often than other counterparts. In addition, the number of people skipping 30-second commercials is much lower than the number of those skipping 60-second ones. Therefore, industry pundits prefer this type of advertisements as they can economize and invest their money properly. It is not wise to invest money in the commercial, which will be ignored and associated with boredom. 


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