TV Land Ad Gives Me the Cavity Creeps

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Cable net TV Land shows a rich variety of American programs, both classic and new. There’s Good Times and Happy Days, Three’s Company and even the latest from celebrated thesp Mr. T, I Pity the Fool.

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As such, the producers of TVLand.com have a wide choice of content to cue up on the home page’s video player. And what are we treated to upon visiting the site? Benson butting heads with Teutonic shrew Kraus? Greg Brady assuming his Johnny Bravo persona? Albert Ingalls getting hooked on morphine?

Not hardly. It’s an ad for Crest toothpaste. Like Ralphie said in A Christmas Story after decoding the puzzle with his Little Orphan Annie ring, “A crummy commercial!”

Is this the new norm on network Websites? Mercifully, no. In a random sampling of network home pages, Spike (an MTV Networks stablemate of TV Land’s) also opens with commerce–a short ad for Saw III, which at least fits the cable networks’ young and violent male demo. Bravo doesn’t offer a video player, while CBS has a player featuring new series 3 Lbs., though you have to press play to activate it. Oxygen’s home page player is user-activated as well. Fox, meanwhile, has a Simpsons promo. [For a better-reported look at networks’ web players, check out next week’s “Beyond the Box” column by Anne Becker.]

We’ve got nothing against embedded ads in video—and TV Land’s Crest one is all of 15 seconds. But to have that be the first thing the visitor sees and hears? Sounds like Crest got a bargain.

By Michael Malone

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