God’s Addressable Ads

“Targeted TV Ads Set for Takeoff”. That’s the headline in the Wall Street Journal (December 20th Section B) announcing that DirecTV will rollout “addressable ads” which will allow advertisers to send targeted commercials into around 10 million homes, based on the interests of that household. They’re partnering with Starcom MediaVest which purchases ads on behalf of major consumer goods companies.

A test conducted earlier by Starcom and  classified free ads  Comcast Cable with a smaller target audience provided evidence that households receiving targeted ads changed the channels 32% less than homes which didn’t receive the specific ads. The DirecTV initiative will reach many more households, and while this is a $10-20 million venture, Merrill Lynch projects that by 2015, addressable ads will be an $11.5 billion business.

The basic premise of course is the ability of cable TV and other companies to collect and utilize information about its customers so that these customers will receive advertisements targeted to their interests. Advertisers can use their marketing dollars more effectively based on age, income, gender, interests purchases, favorite channels, etc. The customer in turn will receive messages that advertisers think they will be more responsive to, thereby increasing the likelihood of purchase, instead of changing the channel when a commercial comes on.

I admit that commercials are sometimes just interruptions to what I really want to watch on TV. I don’t have TIVO so when I’m watching TV (and generally multitasking doing something else), it’s easy to just ignore the commercials. This reminds me a little bit like life; busy focusing on work, meetings, family, friends and so many things to do; all the “important stuff”. Then here come the commercials; someone trying to tell me something for my own good, or warn me about the future. But do I pay attention or stop and listen?

These words are like addressable ads in our lives from the God who knows our demographics, likes and dislikes, need and wants. He knows our present, our future and more importantly His purpose for our lives, and wants His very best for us. He’s constantly trying to communicate information and direction to us. Like an advertisement, He wants us to make a commitment, and offers himself in an appealing, loving and tender way. He programs messages to be delivered to us in a variety of ways; something a colleague says, a needy person on the street, a TV channel that we flip to; a song on the radio; a scripture in the Bible.

These are all ways that He uses to tell us how much we need Him; to share His wisdom and direction; to help us to focus on His will for our lives. God guarantees confidentiality of the personal information He has about us, but uses others to confront us on our behaviors.

So what message is God addressing to you? What “ad” has He placed on your “lifetime TV” to encourage you to make a commitment to Him, to take a particular course of action in your life? How many times will you have to “view” the advertisement for you to act on it? God is continually sending you programming that’s unique to His purpose and plan in your life. Just like addressable ads from your cable TV supplier, you can choose to view it, or you can ignore it. Your cable company knows what they want you to see for their corporate gain, but God knows what you need to see for your personal gain. Pay attention to His programmable ads.

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