Back in the days of Mad Men, creatives had 60 seconds or more on TV to sell their client's product.
Then, as the price of TV time jumped, just as attention spans shortened, the challenge was to sell in 30 seconds... or sometimes 15 seconds. And with the advent of remote control, agency folk had the added challenge of building and holding the viewer's interest for all of those 30 seconds. Otherwise... click.
These days, advertisers need to hook viewers even faster or they're lost to DVR skipping and an even newer challenge. With more viewing on the so-called second screen -- computers, laptops and mobile devices, advertising has moved onto those platforms where we watch video, the biggest being YouTube.
In some cases, if you want to watch something online, you have to pay the price of watching a pre-roll ad -- an ad that comes on before the thing you actually want to watch. Often, especially on the networks' on-demand channels, you can't fast-forward. So you watch the ad, just as if you were watching TV in "the old days."
Platforms like YouTube have ads on many of the videos they carry, but there's often with the option to skip the ad after 5 seconds. So advertisers now have 5 seconds to either draw you in so you'll watch the whole ad or, if that fails, to at least try to make an impression of what the product or service is and why you should want it.
Talk about pressure.