GLOBAL BRIEF: Seconds count for locksmith - Master Lock’s one-second ads, once approved, were a huge hit

Every second, three people are born and the basketball star, Michael Jordan, earns dollars 2.48, but you could be forgiven for thinking not much else can happen in such a short space of time. However, last month a Milwaukee-based padlock-maker made US advertising history with the country’s first single-second commercial.

Every second, three people are born and the basketball star,

Michael Jordan, earns dollars 2.48, but you could be forgiven for

thinking not much else can happen in such a short space of time.

However, last month a Milwaukee-based padlock-maker made US advertising

history with the country’s first single-second commercial.



Master Lock increased sales by 40 per cent in only a few weeks after

running a campaign on two obscure cable stations with airtime amounting

to just ten normal-length commercials. The reason? It ran 300 ads, each

only a second long.



One-second commercials don’t have a strong track record. Firstly, the US

Federal Communications Commission is squeamish about subliminal

messages.



Secondly, unless a brand already has a memorable icon, viewers would

have a tough time recognising it in only a second.



Master Lock, however, had an answer to both problems. The manufacturer

of combination locks, steering wheel locks and padlocks is a seasoned

advertiser, and has kept its message - that the locks are tough under

fire - consistent throughout the years. To make this point, all of its

commercials have ended in the same way, with a Master Lock padlock being

shot through by a high-power rifle, but still remaining firmly

closed.



This concept is adapted to the single-second commercials.



Master Lock and its agency, Cramer-Krasselt, also had an answer on the

FCC issue. They agreed with the commission that the ads could proceed as

long as they crammed 28 frames into a single second, thus circumventing

the FCC stricture on subliminals of less than six frames per second.



According to a spokesman for the company, its pioneering foray into

one-second commercials has been phenomenally successful, even though

only the more arcane cable television stations could be persuaded to run

them - ESPN Classic Sports and the science fiction station, FX.



Nevertheless, the column inches have piled up, and the ads were a

perfect teaser for Master Lock’s main advertising campaign, which

started this week.



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