The Onion moves long-format advertisers to tears

Satirists The Onion have neatly illustrated the problem for long-format thought leadership advertising in a world of post-millennial attention spans.

The long-format text ad is frequently the format of choice for campaign launches.  Serving as a stage-setter, they are intended to provoke thought, engagement and conversation about the campaign to come.

However, with research showing that audiences now have attention spans shorter than a goldfish, can advertisers reasonably expect their audiences to invest the time to read through to the end of the ad…?

The constant stimulation and instant gratification of social media – the 140 characters of Twitter, the captions of Instagram, the brief updates of Facebook – are ‘training’ audiences to expect ever briefer nuggets of communication.

The appetite and tolerance for advertising manifestos, white papers – and long blog posts! – is shrinking accordingly.


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