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Installments
Rant On...
This Week in 24
This Week in Entourage
Tremendous Upside w/ Dave & Niraj

Rant on...intrusive TV popup adsMeta
This rant is the 11th installment of the Rant On... series, which will be featured regularly - by which I mean whenever I feel like ranting. Post any suggestions for future rants in the comments.
This rant was inspired by the showing of The Italian Job last night on FX. Specifically the part where they're going through a montage about how they're setting up. The camera zooms in on a blueprint and suddenly you hear a "Woosh!" and flames come shooting out of it. Was someone on the otherside taking a blowtorch to the blueprint? Oh, no, it's just an ad for Rescue Me on FX and the fire is blazing around the bottom of the screen.

For what it's worth, I think TNT is much worse about this practice, but I still can't understand who in their right minds thought it was a good idea. I can see why it's being done...with increased DVR usage people are skipping the standard commercial breaks. If an ad plays while your program plays, you can't skip it! Nevermind that it might detract from the show. Or in the case of some of TNT's ads, completely distract from it to the point of annoyance. For example, they pick a drama-filled moment of Minority Report to do the following:
  1. Popup the Nascar logo where the TNT watermark usually is positioned.
  2. Have 3 little guys come running out from the side of the screen to the logo.
  3. Proceed to have them act like this is a pit stop and they are servicing the Nascar logo.
  4. Complete with OBNOXIOUS SOUNDS that are much louder than the program being watched. I really want to miss key names and plot points so I can hear the non-existent NASCAR logo tires getting changed.
  5. In case it wasn't enough distraction, have one of the guys leave by leaping over the logo and landing behind it.
  6. Fade the logo back to TNT.
What would be equally effective is the following:
  1. Have a little guy come and walk out from the side.
  2. Mute whatever program I'm watching, regardless of what is going on. But try to do it when there's crucial dialog going on
  3. For extra effect, have the guy set off fireworks that fill the screen so I can just barely still see what's going on in the program I thought I was watching.
  4. Have him scream at a volume much louder than the program I'm now pseudo-watching, "HEY! OVER HERE!! LOOK AT ME!! I'M AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SCREEN!! HEY!!! WATCH SAVING GRACE!!! IT MIGHT LOOK CRAPPY FROM THE PREVIEWS, BUT I ASSSURE YOU IT'S MUCH CRAPPIER THAN THEY MADE IT LOOK!! SERIOUSLY, WATCH IT!!! IF YOU DO YOU WILL SUPPORT MORE ADS LIKE THESE, AND I CAN TELL THAT'S WHAT YOU REALLY WANT!!!"
  5. Once his shouting is finished he can start running laps around the perimeter of my TV screen for the rest of the program shouting "WHEEEE!"
  6. For added effect, never unmute the program I was watching.
  7. For bonus added effect, fade the program I was watching to black so I can only see the ad.
  8. For double bonus effect, get a fist to come flying out of the screen and punch me in the face.
  9. Finally, for ultimate effect, put the name of a TV show on the fist.

A funny but sad example of how it's all going to end up

There's people complaining about the new ads on the TNT messageboard.

There's also talk that TBS has even paused a show at a punchline to deliver an ad/promo and then resumed after then ad was done. If that happened you'd find a shoe through my TV. But I haven't seen this personally so I can't confirm.

And if you liked this rant, you'll probably find this as amusing as I did.

Submitted by  |  5 comments | Story hits by day
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  • [Untitled]
    Posted by: junosand on Jul 27th, 2007 | 12:24pm

    You know I always like your rants, but I think this one went a little long. Just some constructive criticism on the writing. But I also haven't been subjected to these so I don't know how awful they can be.


    • Long, but warranted
      Posted by: niraj on Jul 27th, 2007 | 12:58pm

      Believe me...they're terrible. And they seem to be showing up more often and getting more intrusive than ever. If I had seen one on TBS like described, I would have written a lot more. To pause mid-line to show an ad? That's pretty ridiculous.

      This really needs to stop before it gets out of control (but probably won't). I mean, can you imagine watching an action-packed episode of 24 that's constantly filled with mini-people dancing or skating around in the corner trying to promote something like Dancing with the Stars?

      I'd be just fine with them fading in and out a show's logo, or even sliding it in. But when you've got noises accompanying it (that are really much louder than the show) *and* you've got a lot more distracting stuff going on, it gets annoying/agravating pretty quickly. Unfortunately I couldn't find any examples of TNT's usage to illustrate the point, but I'll keep looking.

      As I mentioned I'm not against ads, and I even understand the need to show them during programming as more and more people have begun skipping commercials. But there's a point where you are trying too hard to make someone see your ad and now you're just being annoying to make sure it gets seen.


      • [Untitled]
        Posted by: junosand on Jul 28th, 2007 | 05:29am

        Even after watching your example, it doesn't seem THAT obnoxious. It's all about money. Pausing a show would really make me angry, but just this doesn't seem all that bad in today's DVR world. It would suck to not have DVR and watch all of the commercials and these pop-ups.

        When I come back to visit, maybe I'll have to revise my position on this. For now, I don't find them so horrible.

        That said, if the ad makes the plot appear to change or if you can't hear some crucial dialog because of an ad, then it's gone too far. However, I think my mom would be too distracted by anything to still pay attention.


      • Here's an Example
        Posted by: niraj on Jul 27th, 2007 | 06:16pm

        Well, since I couldn't find it I uploaded an example of my own. Despite the crappy audio because I taped it with my digital camera, you can still hear how loud the effect is compared to the show volume, how distracting the animation is, and how much of the screen the stupid graphic takes up. This example was from FX, and on TNT ads like these can appear quite often during movies.

        By the way, you can see how large even the FX watermark is because they're promoting another show, Damages. That large watermark is there anytime there isn't an animated ad playing (most of the time).




      • Stop T.V. Pop Up Ads
        Posted by: Stopit on Aug 18th, 2007 | 08:55pm

        I completely agree with the rants on the pop up ads on television, so much that I have created a website to protest them.

        This is not spam, I don't make a penny on this site, I just created it in the hopes it will get really big and reach the biggies at the networks as well as the advertisers. I'm so sick and tired of those ads.



        [Comment edited: Adjusted formatting]




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