The 30-Second Spot Isn’t Dead

    January 29, 2008

The 30-second spot isn’t dead, just our patience with being interrupted by them.

Those “America’s Favorite Commercials” specials in prime-time television draw strong enough ratings to prove that people—at least, some people—are willing to sit and watch half-minute tales used by advertisers to pitch their wares.

Nothing symbolizes the vibrancy of the 30-second spot more than the Super Bowl, even though many of the big-budget commercials produced just for the spectacle fall far short of expectations. (I look forward to the annual dissecting of the annual ad orgy by John January and Tug McTighe on the podcast, American Copywriter.)

Firebrand is another symbol of our affinity for commercials. The beta site is nothing bit 30-second spots, which you can select by brand, category (I particularly like the “banned” section). I wrote about Firebrand back in November, praising its procrastination qualities.

So it makes perfect sense that Firebrand would find a way to tap into the excitement about the upcoming display of advertising excess. Of course, there’s no official tie-in, but Firebrand has managed to ink a deal with obscure cable station Ion TV (get it? Eye On TV?) to offer a presentation of commercials each night leading up to the big event—which is Firebrand Monday, not Super Bowl Sunday. It almost hurts to think about a website dedicated to advertising doing a deal with a TV station to show commercials.

How obscure, by the way, is Ion TV? I had to do a Web search to find out that it was, in fact, available on my cable lineup, showing reruns of “Drew Carey.” It would be a hoot if the Firebrand campaign built awareness of Ion’s existence.

In any case, everything kicks off tonight with a look at “Big Budget Productions.” Tomorrow, it’s “Chicks in Charge,” a label that might rankle some, but I expect to see at least one of the GoDaddy ads here. “Big Time Celebrities” take over Thursday night and on Friday it’s “Big Time Brands.” Finally, on Monday, it’s the main event, with (as noted in the press release) “Reebok Office Linebacker, Terry Tate, heartbreaker Carmen Elektra and classic Super Bowl commercials!”

There’s more from the press release, where Firebrand CMO Shari F. Leventhal is quoted:

Most people watch the Super Bowl with hopes of seeing the best, most creative commercials the ad industry can serve up. The greatest commercials get to play every day at Firebrand. So the Firebrand Monday campaign is our way of saluting the best of these commercials, past and present, as well as the famous icons that make commercials so memorable, and in many cases, a part of pop culture.

The Firebrand specials air at 11 p.m., 10 central. And Firebrand has even produced a series of ads to promote the effort, like this one:

Still think 30-second spots are dead? Or just the old means of delivering them?

Oh, by the way, I think there’s also a football game on Sunday. Maybe my sports-fan friends in Boston can set me straight.