Remember blipverts?Ã‚ They were the insidious form of advertising in Max Headroom that compressed entire marketing messages into the space of a few seconds.Ã‚ Quite a timesaver, that, except for the small problem of making people’s heads explode.
Well, it’s now 20 years into the future, and those of us have DVRs are now using those devices to zip through commercials at 20x speed and greater.Ã‚ Ã‚ We’re compressing 60-second commercials into three seconds, which means we are essentially blipverting ourselves.Ã‚ (And of course, always zipping into, like, the first 30 or so seconds of the next scene of the show, earning that look from our spouses.)
The advertisers hate this, of course, and are always looking for ways to combat it, reading to a rash of product placement that turns entire episodes of shows like Smallville into glorified car ads. Recently, KFC has come up with a novelÃ‚ idea — they’ve stuck free food in the middle of one of their ads.Ã‚ Well, not the actual food, because not even Google has figured out a way to do that yet, but a way to give viewers a coupon for the free food.Ã‚ Even better (or worse, depending on your viewpoint), you actually have to play the ad in slow motion to figure out how to redeem the coupon.Ã‚
It’s the polar opposite ofÃ‚ a blipvert — it’s a covert!
Now, of course, this might seem like some to harken back to the old scary “subliminal messages” that really only exist on Led Zeppelin records, but how subliminal can these coverts be when they are accompanied by press releases announcing exactly what they are doing?
While I probably won’t be participating — it’s going to take more of my time than it’s worth to get the free food — I wonder ifÃ‚ these new coverts are a harbinger of things to come in the advertising worldÃ‚ or just a, er, blip on the dradis?
I also wonder if Max Headroom is ever going to be released on DVD.