If I ask you if you prefer to watch your favorite TV shows with or without commercials interruptions, you most probably would say “of course without the commercials.”
I have a bit of a surprise for you, according to the study of Leif Nelson (its results published in Harvard Business Review, Oct. 2010), people enjoy programs that have commercials interruptions more!
Interestingly, the study also shows that the type of commercials is not responsible for the additional enjoyment, it is all about the interruption itself, it is a phenomenon called adaptation.
To understand adaptation, think of it in this simple way: when you do something you like, you get used to it, you adapt, but once interrupted and went back to it, you re-trigger that initial enjoyment.
The same goes into watching a TV show, a movie, or even beyond that; it is a universal phenomenon. We are all used it without even noticing, think how riding your new car felt different and special at first, and then, it just another car. Think how that long trip felt so exciting at the first few days, and then, it is the same hotel, same places, same people!
Moreover, as starting over something you enjoy would re-trigger the enjoyment, starting over something you do not like would re-trigger the same annoyance you felt at the beginning. Think of that dull 90 min. meeting that kept running longer because of the so many interruptions!
The point I want to emphasis here is that these findings of this study could collaborate to the findings we already know about commercials. If we established that interruption could participate in increasing enjoyment, why don’t inject those interruptions with something enjoyable yet valuable to advertisers too, say more targeted or personally tailored ads as a starter. I see this very interesting and yet challenging to marketers and advertisers everywhere!