How really really good telly is killing us.
Telly’s power to sell things is well documented.
But it’s ability to stop you buying things is today’s new trend.
Funnily enough, it’s not the bad telly that does this. Bad telly still sells things. Nor is it the good telly. Only the exceptionally amazing, once in a lifetime, culture defining national telly event – known in the trade as the really really good telly – has the power to stop you buying things.
Reports out today highlight how retail took a hit during the Olympics. Apart from the sharp spike in Wenlock & Mandeville duvet sets and gold medal soap-on-a-ropes, it seems the Olympics suppressed the nation’s usual retail pastimes. Lots of people have been forecasting this, so the news isn’t a revelation.
But more interesting is the massive drop in online shopping. You know, that thing you do in the evenings while you’re watching telly – one minute you’re watching Million Pound Drop and playing along on your iPad - the next you’re buying a new pair of shoes ‘cos you like the ones Davina’s wearing and you need a red pair for that wedding in a few weeks… (or is that just me..?).
As Stephen Robertson, Director General of the BRC said, “It’s clear people were absorbed by the magnificent Olympics and had little interest in shopping… Some retailers told us online activity was particularly thin in the evenings. If people weren’t watching television they were more likely to be following the sport on PCs and mobile devices rather than shopping,”
The lessons are clear. We need to halt this summer trend of the really really good telly right now. It’s going to kill the second screen’s commerciality before it’s fully born. Agencies have invested in whole new departments, ready for the explosion of mobile-grazing-retail – these new jobs need protecting.
So from now on, can we limit things to only averagely good telly, with the occasional rather good telly (weekends and bank holidays)? That way, the economic benefit of millions of vaguely disinterested viewers indulging themselves in recreational retail, can be felt once more.