Thanks to the new TV viewing technology, the consumer can simply fast-forward commercials. Advertisers are searching for innovative ways of getting back into the viewer’s good graces. Communication agency These Days came up with a non-intrusive method of achieving just that: breakvertising. The concept caught the attention of Telenet and SBS.

Delayed viewing: both blessing... and curse

In recent years, a small digital box has fundamentally changed our viewing behaviour. Delayed viewing via the digicorder is a blessing to the average TV viewer. Still, it also has an adverse effect – for the advertiser. More and more viewers simply fast-forward commercials. As a result, TV channels were forced to look for new ways of seducing consumers – and fast…  


Antwerp, Belgium communication agency These Days catered to this trend by looking for untapped potential. The result: pause button advertising – or breakvertising, to use a slightly more international term. As soon as the viewer presses the pause button on the remote, a still is displayed. For advertisers, this is a light-hearted but meaningful way of connecting with the viewer.

Gertjan De Smet, Art Director at These Days and co-author of the concept: “We were looking for a fun and non-intrusive way to make the most of those moments when viewers pause the programme. They interrupt the programme to answer the phone or go to the bathroom, or they want something to nibble, etc. By definition, each of these moments involves a product or service. That’s why we thought it would be a good idea to give advertisers the opportunity to use this precise moment to interact with the viewer.”

The viewer has the final say

Contrary to a classic commercial break, breakvertising is deliberately limited to a single, frozen image. While it’s OK to liven up a break with a wink, it is essentially still a moment of rest.

And if there’s a specific message that vexes the consumer, then he can simply use the settings of his digicorder to disable it.

Telenet & SBS jump on the bandwagon

The advertising agency called upon its customer Telenet (Liberty) and the SBS broadcasting group to flesh out the idea, and both immediately saw the potential. Telenet is responsible for the technical development of the concept and will provide the necessary support, whereas SBS will use their commercial contacts to pitch the idea to a broad range of advertisers.

World first

This new form of TV advertising is also a world first for These Days, SBS & Telenet. In the short term, the concept can be made available to every TV channel, distributor or telecom provider. The trial phase of the pause button advertising concept starts in a few days. The rollout is scheduled for the end of the year.


Erwin Jansen

CEO, These Days

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