Spoofing the Tivo Ad-Skipper

 

While attempting to digest four hours of Outdoor Life Network’s coverage of the Tour de France on a nearly rainy Cape Cod Sunday, a good friend and cycling partner was handed the Tivo remote to handle the critical task of skipping the ads and "up-close-and-personal" banality of OLN’s coverage.

It was the "Queen Stage" of the Tour, the big mountain stage in the Pyrenee mountains, and the one tour my buddy and I wanted to really focus on. This was the stage when the classic rivalries would either blow up or get crazy — Ullrich, Basso, Armstrong.

As my friend, who is not a Tivo regular drove the remote, she would quickly hit the fast forward button three times to blast over the Cialis ads and then hit it a fourth time to bring the replay back to "real-time" speed. She got pretty good at it after a while, figuring out Tivo’s automatic rewind function that figures out the lag between one’s eye and the ads so that when she saw the program had returned to actual coverage and cancelled the fast-forward, Tivo would wind-back a few frames to the point where the block of commercials ended and the racing recommenced.

But what foiled her, over and over, were commercials with bicycle racing in them. OLN was particularly adept at inserting house ads and promos into the middle of its ad blocks and sure enough, everytime a peloton appeared, my friend would stop the skip and wind up in the middle of an ad for either an OLN promotion or a bike company such as Specialized.

 The other phenomenon used by OLN is voice-over ads they spam into the middle of the actual coverage. The announcer — Phil Liggett — spends a lot of time exhorting viewers to stay tuned for the re-runs of the 2000 series "Survivor", something I mute out by hitting fast forward once.

You’ve got to believe more advertisers are going to craft creative that includes actors or key themes of the shows in which the ads are placed in an effort to spoof us. 

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

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