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Great Expectations

This last weekend took me on a quick road trip to see a family that lives about 5 hours away. Not too far, but far enough that visits are fairly infrequent. This visit was the fun and spontaneous kind that results in zero plans or agenda while in town. We found things to do and great places to eat, but we also spent a lot of time just in the house not really doing much but enjoying everyone’s company.

For normal down time at home, we will stream some sort of entertainment in the background while working, cleaning, or doing whatever free time is for. Often it’s Netflix, but sometimes it will be the free version of Hulu or XFINITY (our local cable) on demand on some occasions. Either way, we barely see commercials. The ones that do come up are fairly targeted for the demographic I apparently fall in.

Back to last weekend -

For the first time in a while, I found myself watching a big screen TV. I don’t mean a big HD flat-panel or 70” Smart LED. I mean what used to be called a “Big Screen TV”. With no HDMI inputs (or HDMI capability) we founds ourselves on regular cable with regular commercials. I know this is still the most common way to engage with a TV, but in recent times it hasn’t been for me.                                      

As suspected, I got sucked into a Star Wars marathon. What I didn’t expect was both how many infomercials and direct response advertisement ran on these channels. I was also amazed at the sophistication of the messaging and the product itself.

In the time since I haven’t been watching regular TV I’ve seen, setup, and ran a lot of Brandlive events. In many cases we work with brands and agencies familiar and active in Direct Response marketing. Now I finally find myself seeing the offers as part of the regular audience - and something was missing.

As with any great infomercial I was finding myself tempted to buy. Often not even for myself but for people I thought needed or would enjoy the product (especially the hair removal device). But I found myself in the same situation as many shoppers do - I had questions. Not FAQ type questions, but specific questions. I wanted to see the product work specific to my application. There were even claims that were so amazing, I didn’t really believe it - especially on pre-recorded TV.

I wanted to experience the product, even if I couldn’t be there in person.

Now, of course I am spoiled knowing that this is all possible. I’m even trained to expect all shopping is that easy and interactive. But I guess the real question is, once you know something better is possible, wouldn’t you expect it too?

Tell us in the comments something that once you experienced it, you expect it going forward.

I’ll even go first.

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