Thursday, August 26, 2004

How much do you suppose it costs to close-caption a tv advertisment?

The number will surprise you. Especially if you know how many aren't captioned.

According to this website, close-captioning a 30-second television commercial costs somewhere from $200 to $400USD.

That figure is borne out at this site, which tracks which companies bother to add that figure to the cost of their Superbowl commercials.

A 30-second spot during the 2004 Superbowl cost $250,000USD. We can pretty safely assume that most of the ads themselves cost at least $750,000 to create, since this is the big game in the advertising big leagues.

That's a conservative estimate of a million dollars per ad.

So who wouldn't shell out a lousy $300 to acknowledge the deaf and hard of hearing audience and potential consumer?

The NFL Network
The NFL Shop
Pizza Hut
Pepsi (Sierra Mist)
Dairy Queen
Quit Plan - stop smoking
3M (Post-It Notes)
Master Card

Now, can you explain to me why I would buy Dairy Queen rather than Burger King, or a Nissan rather than a Honda or Chevrolet, when they won't spend a lousy 300 bucks on a million-dollar ad to acknowledge my existence?

Just asking.



Blogger JoAnne said...

As a hearing person, I notice this too, because the captions are always on on the TV in the gym I go to. Sometimes it's impossible to hear over all the exercise equipment.

Which brings up the possibility that maybe there are more hearing than deaf people seeing the captions.

Perversely, then, the choice of if and how to caption could be based on how *hearing* people react to them.

So maybe for car ads, they figure the important thing is the look of the car. It's true that the words in the average car commercial are pointless. Maybe they don't want the hearing potential customers' eyes to be distracted from the car.

Maybe I'm giving them too much credit to suggest they're thinking about it at all, even selfishly.

3:37 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

It's an interesting theory! I don't know... with estimates of as many as 25 million Americans having some trouble hearing, and about 6 million having severe hearing loss (and expect those numbers to go up as the Boomers age), it's a mystery to me why closed-captioning isn't a) a lot more aesthetically pleasing and less crude than it it and b) that advertisers weren't scrambling to get that more aesthetically pleasing cc'ing onto their ads. Things have been improving for the deaf overall, though, and one hopes they will continue to...

3:37 p.m.  

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