Current wisdom in advertising is that more is better. Infomercials are a television staple and reality shows like The Apprentice have become product-placement bonanzas. Flying in the face of this trend is One Second, a new breath freshener that debuted in Belgium with a series of, appropriately enough, one-second commercials.
Historians of advertising will note that One Second is not the first to employ a split-second campaign. Master Lock's 1998 version of its iconic "Tough under fire commercial holds that honor. "Master Lock's one-second ad was an adaptation of its already established longer ad, says Bruce Goerlich, executive vice president of media services group Zenith Optimedia in New York City. One Second's snippet is remarkable in that it's introducing the brand.
In the spot, a young woman places a drop of gel in her mouth while a hurried voice whispers "One Second. Blink and you literally miss it.
Created by Belgian ad agency Duval Guillaume, the commercial ran 500 times in one day on Belgian television, according to One Second's managing director Laurent Mercier. He won't divulge the amount of money he spent on the campaign, but he says that "the costs were less for the airtime than for the technology involved in placing the ad.
One Second's novel spot comes at a time when advertisers are beginning to question the effectiveness of traditional 30-second ads, says Zenith's Goerlich. "Thanks to TiVo and DVR, TV stations are not able to command the same price premiums for traditional ads because consumers can now easily avoid them, he says.
Still, though Goerlich views the ad as an interesting experiment, he would be reluctant to emulate it, especially for a brand that isn't well known. "The power of TV is that it is more than just a billboard, he says. "It conveys sights, sounds, and images. I don't know if you can do that in a one-second ad. We'll soon see: Mercier intends to air the One Second ad in the U.S. by year's end.