ABC Serves Up Commercials Alongside The Sizzle Tape
ABC must have made a first in upfront history yesterday, showing a reel of commercials at its upfront presentation at New York’s Lincoln Center ahead of its programming picks. The aim was to demonstrate the importance that good advertising creative brings to the network, since the ratings marketers pay for are based on how their spots rate rather than the actual shows.
President advertising sales at ABC TV, Mike Shaw unveiled a slew of ads from Ford, AT&T, Advair, Red Lobster, Target and Sprint to name a few. “Great creative works here,” read the onscreen graphics. His message - noted in previous years - is the that responsibility for bringing good material to the screen is a shared responsibility. The programming is only part of the equation now that C3 commercial ratings are the established metric.
Shaw’s more general pitch was aimed to persuading marketers to view ABC as the preferred network of affluent consumers, and he reeled off a bunch of stats to prove it. The network is up 22% in the 18-49 demographic in households earning more than $150,000 a year. To car and credit card companies, that point is an important one as they search for customers who won’t default.
Still, a brief comment by President Entertainment Group Steve McPherson, exposed a criticism that advertisers may be having with the network. “We need more impactful integrations - I hear you loud and clear,” McPherson acknowledged. Barely a brand has show up in long running drama Lost though late night host Jimmy Kimmel is doing live commercials along with the rest of the late night pack.
On the programming front, the network is set to throw its weight behind two hopefuls next season; drama, Fast Forward about people who see a flash of their lives in the future and comedy Modern Family, a mockumentary following the lives of different types of families as they struggle to raise babies and discipline kids. Both looked promising, but with memories of recent legendary ABC upfronts still fresh in people’s minds - the tangoing Steve McPherson and singing screenwriter Marc Cherry - the slimmed down presentation seemed a shadow of its former self. Leave it to Kimmel to get down to business, telling ad agencies, “Who care’s, it isn’t your money. Give it to Mike, he really wants it.”