You think marketers won't make eyes at 'blinks'

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In the unending efforts to innovate advertising, Clear Channel is considering offering one-second radio spots, known as "blinks," to advertisers. The radio titan is discussing the concept with marketers and media buyers. Most voters in Advertising Age's online poll said the spots won't catch on: They're too short to say much, and they'll confuse listeners. But the idea, said Clear Channel, is to strengthen brand recognition among core customers. Some voters agreed, saying the blinks are a good opportunity to get exposure for an established brand.

But Angela Natividad, marketing analyst for DriversEd.com, isn't buying it. "I can hear it already: noisy strings of single-second spots. I can't think of anything less creative and more lazy," she said. "It's like someone out there was thinking, 'Why bother catching the demo by surprise, or even making sense?"'

Others said the idea makes sense as a way for a big-name brand to keep a presence in the minds of consumers, especially when it isn't doing an ongoing marketing campaign. Blinks could feature well-known jingles or chimes, such as the NBC and Intel bells or the McDonald's "I'm lovin' it" musical notes, and they could function as just one component of an integrated marketing campaign.

Still, voters said blinks would distract and confuse listeners, whose numbers are already dwindling, thanks to satellite radio, CDs and MP3 players. "Even more millions of listeners have another very good reason to withdraw to their iPods," said Larry Smith, president, Live Idea.
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