It may take longer to read this sentence than to watch one of Honda's recent mini-commercials.
In just five seconds, the TV ad shows features of its new Fit hatchback, followed by a computer-type voice saying: "The Fit is Go."

Honda's TV tidbit, along with a five-second AOL commercial earlier this year, are examples of one concept marketers are trying to get more bang for the ad dollar in a crowded, on-demand media environment. Done a few times in the past as mainly a stunt, mini-ads placed at the end of commercial breaks are now being tried as a strategic tool against ad-zapping on digital video recorders (DVRs). They take advantage of the fact that when a user stops fast-forwarding on many DVRs, the machine backs up a few seconds to compensate for the user's reaction time.

"As you're getting right back to the show's content, (the DVR) does that little jump-back feature which grabs you a few seconds back into the commercial," says Tim Spengler, national broadcast director for Initiative Media, which came up with the AOL ads to run at the end of commercial breaks. "That's fertile ground for advertisers because it's TiVo-proof."

TiVos and other DVRs are a growing issue for marketers. At the end of 2005, 12.2% of U.S. households had DVRs, Forrester Research says. By the end of 2010, that's expected to be 50.5%.

"We're always looking for things that will be TiVo-proof," says Brett Bender, management supervisor at Honda ad agency RPA. "You obviously can't communicate as much as you can in a 30-second ad, but your dollars get extended."

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