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May 06, 2004



One can only dream of a world full of businesses that take a proactive appraoch to solve problems for their customers. If this was the case then we would have to find something else to fix.

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The real culprit here is NBC who has decided in their infinite wisdom to run shows on off times. Not only is it stupid but it force services like Tivo to "cover their ass" since most people do not understand the real problem. NBC is full of idiots and it is about time Friends was put to bed. Bad TV and bad executives making bad decisions and poor Tivo has to scramble to let the viewers know what is going on. Who is really at fault? ER does the same thing, it starts two min earlier than every other "9:00pm" show.

hugh macleod

Marketing is dead. Long live Managed Empathy. Heh.

UT Austin, huh? Did you study under Profs Wilcox and Morrison? How about Reuben? We must have been there around the same time. I was there '85-89

I went to Leo Burnett after that... I'm now a Creative Director in the UK.

Great wee blog, by the way =)


Far out. I guess my hybrid DirecTV box doesn't allow them to spam you with pop-up announcements.

(Sounds like DirecTV was being proactive when the TiVo offering was being negotiated.)

Interestingly, we got into getting TiVo (albeit hybrid) by watching Sex and the City. So yeah, whatever advertising TiVo may have been doing otherwise was totally lost on us, presuming we saw any of it. (I don't recall)

One thing, and maybe this is a side-effect of my DVR box, but one of the things people told me was that TiVo would "learn" our viewing habits and adjust accordingly. That doesn't seem to be happening. Example: If we watch a show every day at 6pm, you'd think that right about then the channel would cut over automatically. It does not.

Every so often I'll check to see what their "recommendations" are, and they are totally off the wall. We're talking, I watched a week of "Coupling" or whatever and it recommends Spanish soap operas. Um, ok. Being that we never watch spanish-language TV, not sure why the soaps and even some movies got "A-listed".

Scott Miller

>>> I guess the ultimate in "being proactive" is to prevent something from happening before anyone finds out about it or becomes an issue. <<<

Two things:

[1] The message pops up unavoidably, forcing you to read it and deal with it. This is fine for those who are recording Friends, something that Tivo knows internally. But for those not recording Friends, we do not want to be pestered by this "junk mail."

[2] The message reads like a stealthy advertisement for Friends, rather than a real honest-to-goodness, we-care-about-you service.

Bottom-line: This message was like a pop-up Internet advertisement. We've seen the first Tivo pop-up, and it could quickly get out-of-hand. Tivo will become very annoying if they continue to do this, especially if they continue to blast *everyone*, rather than target these "helpful" messages to people intelligently, as I described above.

Since my first message, I've talked to several hardcore Tivo fans in my company (there's a bunch of us here!), and no one liked this pop-up ad. But then, none of these people had Friends set to record, and so it's no surprise that this pop-up was an unwelcome distraction.

Tivo has just given their loyal, hardcore community a negative reason to buzz about them. This could have easily been avoided, had Tivo used their thinking cap.

Tivo's marketing has been abysmal all along, so it's no surprise to me to see this latest blunder.


(Note: I have the DirecTV "DVR", so this may be why my unit doesn't operate like standard TiVo. Whcih is good, if the messages are annoying on "regular" TiVo.)


How annoying can those TiVo messages be? It's not like they pop up in the middle of what you are watching.

Based on estimates of how many viewers the finale will attract, I don't fault TiVo for sending out a proactive message.

However I myself rarely read them, so if were planning to record both shows I might have flipped out when it didn't work correctly.

I guess the ultimate in "being proactive" is to prevent something from happening before anyone finds out about it or becomes an issue. So replacing a frayed cord instead of waiting for a fire to start, etc.

Chris O'Donnell

Hi, my name Clippy, and it looks like you are trying to write a letter! Ugh.

I disagree. There is line between proactively helpful and treating your customers like they are all idiots. The Tivo example seems OK, because they are alerting you to a one time exception, which does make some sense. The other examples seem to me to be more appropriate for a passive communication channel. (like an RSS feed from the company web site) Interestingly (or not), I don't have a Tivo, I don't use Outlook, I don't drive Fords, and I don't have a stockbroker.

But I openly admit I fit nobodies definition of the "average" consumer.

Scott Miller

I've got Tivo, own a mountain of Tivo stock, rave about the product to anyone who'll listen, yet I was annoyed by this message. This sort of thing can easily get out of hand and in my way. If I don't have a season pass to Friends, then please do not annoy me with Friends information. This would make sense if I DID have a pass to Friends -- then Tivo would be doing me a service by alerting me to a very special Friends related wrap-up show that I didn't have recorded.

But since I haven't shown an interest in this show, I wish Tivo would stay out of my way with this sort of message. In fact, I have to wonder if this message was paid for by the network, and is secretly just an advertisement for the big Friends finale. Very smart of the network if this is their plan. Very dumb of Tivo to force this ad upon everyone. Tivo could have been intelligent in whom they alerted, rather than blast everyone, and risk annoying a lot of their advocates.

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