One of the many things television advertisers are concerned about is standing out amongst all the other commercials. About 3 months ago I wrote about how one Superbowl commercial tried to stand out from all the other ones, and that was by being completely silent. The NYT recently ran an article about another way advertisers have been attracting attention, but this time it’s through an all too familiar sound.
“As a device to draw the attention of a bored or distracted audience, bleeps are an updated version of tried and true tactics like loud sound effects or laugh tracks.”
Some New Yorkers may remember the McDonald’s ad that bleeped out an F-word over and over. Turns out, the word was just “free.” Anheuser-Busch and DDB Chicago also created a commercial that also utilized bleeps. It was never intended to air on T.V., and only appeared on bud.tv, but the commercial still had immense viral success. Anheuser-Busch claims they received over 12 million views.
It's tough to create a commercial like this that maintains good taste. The McDonald's ad created some controversy, and they actually took out the "bleep" and ran it normally in the latter half of their campaign. It was of course much less interesting. Anheuser-Busch knew before hand that their commercial wouldn't be appropriate for T.V., which is why they ran it online. Dodge on the other hand, had a very cute commercial which used the "bleep" in a very creative way. The ad did run on T.V. uninterrupted.
Here are videos of the commercials I mentioned:
Warning: NSFW - if you consider "bleeps" profane.