/// Falling on Def Ears: Marketers Slow to Embrace HD Ads

February 10, 2012  |  Media Week

If you own a television and take an interest in big-time sports, chances are you’re intimately familiar with the Geico brand. From October 2010 to September 2011, the insurance provider invested $158.1 million advertising in televised sports, making it the sixth biggest spender in the space. And yet despite the magnitude of Geico’s TV budget, none of its spots was produced in high-def. Even a casual viewer will recognize that something’s just a bit off with Geico’s parade of Cockney geckos, aggrieved troglodytes and squealing pigs. For one thing, when the ads run in native HD programming, they’re letterboxed, bracketed by a pair of vertical bars. For another, the picture quality isn’t as sharp as the surrounding HD content. Now, by no means is Geico alone in its adherence to the lesser standard-definition format. Marketers of all stripes continue to balk at producing hi-def spots; so much so that the digital media-services company DG estimates that only 16 percent of all television advertising is aired in HD. Unfortunately, the HD blind spot could be costing advertisers a fortune in squandered impressions—as much as $8.2 billion per year, according to a new study from DG and the research firm Kantar Media. After studying return path data culled from some 100,000 DirecTV households, DG and Kantar discovered that viewers are much more likely to stick with an HD spot than an ad shot in vanilla SD. All told, retention for HD spots was 18 percent higher than for standard-def spots, and that lift jumped as high as 28 percent when the ad in question was slotted in the “A” position of the commercial pod. In the critical prime-time daypart, HD ads delivered a 12 percent lift over their standard-def counterparts. The format issue appears to be especially relevant in the beverage and QSR categories, as HD spots for both delivered a 33 percent lift

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Falling on Def Ears: Marketers Slow to Embrace HD Ads

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