the grass is greener on the internet

Death of randomness?
November 24, 2008, 11:30 pm
Filed under: 1

Today I realised that everything I know about cleaning a toilet, I learnt from Harpic ads.

At the risk of calling my cleaning skills into doubt, here’s the rough thought process:

Must clean the toilet. Crap. Well, one of these liquids has to be for that… Oh that’s right, it comes in those funny shaped bottles. Right. Now what? These aren’t instructions, they’re a sales pitch. I already know my toilet should be sparkly clean afterwards. Hmm. Guess I’ll just squirt it like they do in that Harpic ad.

So, the Harpic TVC saved me from the nasty fate of trying to use Spray ‘n Wipe…

But the TVC is going to be the victim of what I call the ‘death of randomness’.

For some products getting everyone excited and talking about it works really well. Confectionery. Clothes. Political campaigns. But for your humble toilet cleaner, the social media campaign is going to be a tough sell.

It will be the same for many other un-glitzy products in a mature market: they previously enjoyed a significant amount of attention for their 30 seconds of TV glory.

Unfortunately for them, with the rise of on-demand services (like online streaming) whole slices of the market simply aren’t seeing ads anymore. These consumers are no longer captive to the random feed of entertainment from the TV and are selecting exactly what they want to see, no more and no less.

Bad news also for that mediocre show which only gets viewers because nothing else interesting is on at that timeslot. Now shows compete not just within their region and time but with every other show ever produced. Not that it matters if you can’t monetise using ads.

Watching TV is a bit like borrowing someone elses iPod shuffle; you’re at the mercy of the device and the programmer. You discover new things at random.

The new way is like getting songs off someone elses iTunes; you pick all of it out and you can see how everything has ranked but it’s mostly stuff you already know.

Even if you use Genius to search for new stuff you might like, it’s based on the old stuff you liked and might not show you new and different stuff you would have liked.

You get what you search for.

We now have control. So we’re limited to what we know.

This is it.

This could be the death of randomness.


2 Comments so far
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That is exactly where we are heading! The only TV I watch are the several TV shows I stream online when I have the time, without the disruptive ads.
the last time this ‘randomness’ really frustrated me was during the Olympics! Ideally, we should be able to choose which sport we want to watch instead of being obliged to watch the ‘most popular one’!

Comment by Morgan Coudray

If you’re in a bland, low interest category, there is an option to borrow interest from somewhere else.

Or reinvent the rules.

Who would have thought you could do anything much with a blender but hey blendtech injected cultural salience into the brand and attracted a heap of eyeballs with their innovative campaign.

Comment by Kate Richardson

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