I’ve noticed lately that commercials on some channels play for a few seconds, then restart. It looks like a programming glitch, a technical error, but it seems to happen far too often for it to be an accident. Different commercials, different channels.
Has anyone noticed this? Is this some new technique that ad people believe will increase ad awareness? Or is it really just crappy software?
My vote is “crappy software.” I work in the industry, and I have not ever heard of this as a “new advertising technique.”
Do you have cable or satellite TV? If so, then, depending on which channels you watch, there is a high probability that some of the ads you see are inserted by your cable or satellite provider, and are being substituted for ads that are running on the national “feed” for the channel. Not infrequently, I’ve noticed that those ads start a fraction of a second after the commercial time-slot begins, and you see a moment of the “national” ad before the local ad begins.
My guess would be that what you’re seeing is an artifact of similarly imperfect insertion of ads by your provider.
This sounds like an ad insertion bug, especially if you’re watching on a traditional cable system.
Cable companies get “avails” as part of their contract to carry certain services like CNN or ESPN. These specify that X minutes per hour are reserved for the cable company to show an ad. When this is to occur the system gets a signal and to insert its own content (back in the early days it was audible - you could hear it just before the break). These systems get out of sync some times and you will see what you described.
One of my jobs once was to manage all those contracts and there were some interesting requirements - for example, no pork ads on American Muslim TV, etc.
Bumping this thread to note that a year later not only
Bumping this thread to note that a year later not only does this still routinely happen, but the delay is getting longer. I notice it more on sports but that might be that we record most shows we watch and skip the commercials.
As I answered to you a year ago, speaking as an ad industry professional, I’m pretty certain that this is not some weird intentional advertising technique, but your local cable company having glitchy software that they are using to automatically insert local ads in cable network feeds.