As we all sit down to watch Boxing Day telly, there’s one thing getting in the way of perfect festive viewing – adverts. And according to many of you, it’s not just their that content annoys, it’s their volume too.
Back in October, I asked whether TV ads were louder than the programmes they surrounded. When I stumbled across the UK’s TV advertising code, which rules that ads must not be too noisy, I almost convinced myself the problem didn’t exist. That was until I saw the results of our loud ads poll.
Over 1,000 of you voted, and a resounding 98% said loud ads annoyed them. The rest of the votes were shared equally between those who didn’t get annoyed and those who didn’t think ads were actually that loud. But it was your comments that drove the message home.
We hear you loud and clear
The support for TV ads being too loud was deafening:
Allan Ford: ‘It is not a figment of your imagination, my wife sits with the zapper in her hand; she spends the entire viewing time switching the volume up and down. It drives me crazy so I retire to my computer and rarely ever watch TV.’
Vonph: ‘Yes it is a problem! Sometimes I think they are so loud my TV speakers are going to blow. I want to be able to immerse myself in whatever I’m watching, not have to be looking out for the black and white advert indicator in the top right, so I can ready the volume button.’
Thomas Wilson (in his best Points of View impression): ‘Can nothing be done to stop those buggering drums and the juvenile hullaballoo which dominates so many transmissions? It doesn’t make me strain my ears to listen to the message, it drives me to hit the mute button. Seems that the industrial psychologists have pronounced that the racket will make us listen more intently to the message. Not me mate. No, not even subliminally. Yrs. etc. Very Irate. Tunbridge Wells.’
Advertisers shoot themselves in the foot
Some pointed out how counter-productive it was for advertisers to pump up the volume:
Colin: ‘When ads come on we immediately mute the television because the difference in volume is so marked. Surely that defeats the objectives of the advertisers themselves and they should be encouraging the broadcasters to stop this behaviour too?’
John Symons: ‘Advertisers shoot themselves in the foot because we never listen to their adverts, having turned the volume down too far in disgust.’
Dave: ‘It does seem short-sighted and counter-productive for advertisers to be making their target audience avoid them whenever possible, mute them when they can’t avoid them, and be generally exasperated by them.’
Fast-forwarding through the ads
Many of you are fighting back, by finding ways to skip the ads completely:
Peter T: ‘Like so many others, on commercial channels I just set my PVR to record and start watching 15 minutes later. It’s extraordinary to think that before PVRs I wasted between 12 and 15 minutes of every hours’ TV watching on adverts.’
Jonas131415: ‘I’m so fed up with it I seldom watch any live TV. I even record live sports events so I can skip through the adverts.’
Robodoc: ‘This is looking almost unanimous – we are all recording on SKY+ and skipping through the adverts, especially because of volume but also because we choose not to watch them. I would actually pay extra for advert-free channels if offered, but in the meantime watch mainly BBC output.’
R Cooney: ‘I download all my TV from the internet and watch them in my own time with no adverts. I will never waste my time watching adverts ever again.’
Phillip raised one negative to skipping ads: ‘Those who are fast forwarding through the commercial breaks are also missing some decent adverts at the moment. Do they know that the Tetley Teafolk are back?’
Personally, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. All in all, I’m blown away by how many of you agree with me (and it seems your ears are being blown away too). Either the code isn’t being properly enforced, or advertisers are finding a way around it. Or we’re all mad… BANG!