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CALM Your Ad Down


Loud commercial breaks during your favorite television shows are now a thing of the past, after the FCC passed an ordinance last week regulating the volume of television commercials.

According to a press release issued by the FCC, “The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM) requires TV stations, cable operators, satellite TV providers and other pay TV providers to limit a commercial’s average volume to the same average volume as the programming it accompanies.”

Originally adopted in 2011, the Act took effect last Thursday, giving television providers one year to update their equipment in order to be in compliance with the new rules.

The FCC stated the Act was put into place because volume complaints have been the top consumer issue for the last decade.

So households without DVRs or newer televisions with auto volume controls will no longer have to reach for the remote during a commercial break.

While the Act itself is not necessarily bad, advertisers will now need to be more creative when it comes to the visual appeal of commercials, and not rely on the high volume interruptions.

The Act can be a positive for agencies, driving more visual creativity. Agencies will now need to utilize their research when choosing colors, create more interesting characters and require more action. Integration with other mediums, such as social media, is also another option. Think using apps like Shazam or driving consumers to Facebook, Twitter or YouTube to see different versions of commercials or to find out conclusions like Nissan or GoDaddy.com.

And of course there have been complaints about the noise level coming from TV sets across America.

According to tvb.org, television is also still the number one advertising medium, even with digital growth soaring.

Among the people surveyed aged 18 and older, 40 percent said television is the number one source where they learned about products they would like to try or buy from television commercials, and said it was the most influential in their purchasing decisions.

What effect it will have is still not known, but the average American spending 20 percent of their day watching TV (Nielson.com), commercials will remain high on advertisers radars.

And for advertisers not adhering to the new rule, watch out!

The FCC has developed a special Loud Commercial Online Complaint Form for consumers to file complaints that can be found at http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm.

The FCC said they will use complaints to enforce the new rules.

We here at The Brandon Agency welcome the change and look forward to continuing to push the boundaries of commercial creativity.

What are your thoughts on the CALM Act? Let us know!