A blipvert is a very brief television advertisement, lasting one second.[1] The word is a portmanteau of blip, a brief sound, and advertisement.[2]

The term and concept were used in the 1985 film Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future and the first episode of the 1987 science fiction television show Max Headroom. In the film and TV show, "blipverts" were new high-speed, concentrated, high-intensity television commercials lasting about three seconds. Their purpose was to prevent the channel-switching that may occur during standard-length commercials.[3] They were invented as a MacGuffin to drive the plot.[4]

Real-life examples of compressed advertising

Real life advertisements have been cited as benefiting from a "blipvert effect", in which viewers recall the advertisements better.[5]

Master Lock, which had already made the image of a padlock shot by a sharpshooter into a lasting advertising image with their ad in the Super Bowl in 1974, incorporated that video image, along with its logo, in a one-second-long television commercial in 1998.[6] Advertising Age, in describing why the concept did not catch on, said that is "difficult to do much with a one-second ad".[7]

In May 2006, GE introduced "One Second Theater", television commercials with additional material included as individual frames in the last second of the ad, for frame-by-frame viewing with digital video recorders. When viewed at normal speed, the frames flash by rapidly, much like blipverts.[5]

Miller Brewing Company aired a one-second ad during the Super Bowl XLIII football game in February 2009. The ad featured Windell Middlebrooks, who had been featured in Miller High Life ads since 2006, standing in a warehouse filled with High Life boxes and quickly shouting "High Life!"[8]


  1. Ang, Lawrence (2014). Principles of Integrated Marketing Communications. Cambridge University Press. p. 120. ISBN 9781107664081.
  2. Winfrey, Les (1987-03-31). "Mind-blowing Tv-industry Satire "Max Headroom" Imagines A Future Where Tv Sets Are Always On". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  3. Abbott, Rebecca (1991). "Selling Out 'Max Headroom'". In Olson, Alan M.; Parr, Christopher; Parr, Deborah. Video Icons & Values. State University of New York Press. p. 111. ISBN 9780791404119.
  4. Atkinson, Terry (1987-05-05). "The Mixed-up World Of Max Headroom Creators". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  5. 1 2 Cecil, John (2012). Online Video Revolution: How to Reinvent and Market Your Business Using Video. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 30. ISBN 9781137511249.
  6. Time, "Blink Of An Ad" Retrieved on 04-24-07
  7. Steinberg, Brian (2011-04-18). "12 Minutes, 10 Ideas That Tried to Change TV Ad Time Forever". Advertising Age. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  8. Mavity, Ryan. Cape Gazette. "Middlebrooks delivers the High Life to Coastal Delaware. Aug. 27, 2009.

External links

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